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LFDW 2016 Designer Diaries – Sisiano

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Paolo Sisiano. Image by Ginikachi Eloka

Sisiano’s dreamy designs are an LFDW favorite. Prior to his show on Wednesday, October 24, the LFDW team sat down with the designer to discuss the inspiration behind his SS17 collection.

LFDW: What ideas are you exploring for this collection?

Sisano: The major idea I’m working with is flowers. From the blooming of the seed to the mature plant – it’s more like a cycle. For instance, we have a lot of cascading effects and all the garments are sewn out so it gives you that rustic feeling of a petal. 

LFDW: Most of your pieces are very fluid, does that have anything to do with you being a dancer?

Sisiano: I would say yes. As a dancer, I deal with a lot of movement and it hast to be fluid and project volume. I’ve brought that into my work from day 1. Rather than use 8 yards for 3 different items, I’ll use it for one. Everyone tries to create their own aesthetic and that is the Sisiano vibe.

LFDW: In terms of production, how is that going? What is it like producing locally?

Sisiano: Basically I produce in my own space, and I have a room where I have tailors, and I do most of the detailing myself. It’s very difficult, it’s not where we need it to be because fashion is a big business to fund and without funding there is little to nothing that you can do.

LFDW: Beyond Fashion Week, how do you handle your retail or commerce?

Sisiano: I produce quite a lot with the tailor that I have, and I outsource as well. There are a few stores like Grey Velvet where I stock. My intention is to have my clothes stocked in more stores like Meidei and Zazaii, and they have reached out

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Image by Ginikachi Eloka

LFDW: Do you intend to explore collaboration with other designers or have you thought of it?

Sisiano: I haven’t done any collaboration yet, and without sounding snobbish, you have to see something that is like you in another brand and I haven’t seen that yet. I believe that collaboration is more than two designers coming together, it’s more about similar aesthetics or something you both believe in. I might collaborate with painters eventually but not yet with any designers

LFDW: What are you looking forward to the most during Lagos Fashion and Design Week?

Sisiano: For me, it’s about seeing my garments on display, because there are stages for feeling established with every collection. From sketches to the sample pieces to models during fitting or the runway and lookbook shoots.

The runway itself is where you get to know whether you got it exactly right or messed it up.

LFDW: What inspires your design process?

Sisiano: I would say that my mother does, a lot because she was very fashionable and she is not afraid to wear a big ass skirt and a chunky top on it, and now I appreciate her fashion sense.  

LFDW: Describe your SS17 collection in 3 words

Sisiano: Cascading, soft, unusual

LFDW: What does fashion mean to you?

Sisiano: Fashion is a constant change in the way people see things. It’s not solely about the clothes or the brand or who is wearing them. It’s in everything coming together and changing the idea. Fashion is never constant and it is ever changing. Fashion now is not what it used to be. 

LFDW: What is your creative process like?

Sisiano: Music plays a strong role in the formation of a collection. The first thing that helps before I start sketching is music. The idea of the collection is already there, and you know the colors you want to use, being in your own comfort zone and once I get into the groove of the music my sketching process starts and I just take it from there. This is what I’ve been doing for the past two months, I’ve had the same song playing every morning.

LFDW: How do you find the music?

As a dancer, there are certain songs that you are drawn to and you don’t know if the song for the collection is on your playlist. It can be something random that you heard in a movie, but because you are in tune with the tune you just kind of let yourself go. And that is what the whole process is about, letting yourself go.

Experience by Ludiko is the song.

Images by Ginikachi Eloka

Image by Ginikachi Eloka

LFDW: Why pinks and dark reds?

Sisiano: Flowers, in general, are delicate and the softness is projected into the colors in the collection. SO we travel from off white-ivory into a soft nude, beige type of feel into a blush pink, peach and then we had red and maroon.

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