Julio is one of the marvellous people I met in London. He used to be an actor, theatre director, and costume designer in Brazil but at some point he realised that clothing was his main media of communication. He decided to move to London to study in the most prestigious fashion school in the world : Central Saint Martins. He is going to share with us his vision of fashion and tell us what you learn in such a famous school.
How did Central Saint Martins become the first fashion school in the world?
John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo (Celine), Hussein Chalayan – just a few who I have in mind – all these big names have studied in Central Saint Martins. I think when young people started realising that all these great designers came from the same place, the school gained a lot of prestige. To get in there now is very difficult. What is interesting is that you can’t really tell that they came from the same school since they all have very distinct design points of view.
It should be pretty magical to follow the same classes as John Galliano or Alexander McQueen! What do you learn in Central Saint Martins?
To be honest, the magic disappears a bit when you are there because of the workload. It is not that glamorous, you know? The key point of Central Saint Martins is the creativity. The tutors are very good in pushing you to be your best creative self. It is free, you do what you want and you don’t have to be an expert in everything. Since most of the courses are project based programs, you can focus on your strengths and refine them while also addressing your weaknesses in your own time. Sometimes the pressure makes you very stressed but it also helps you develop new skills. It’s a bit about time management.
Dressing is just like creating a narrative for me
Unfortunately, this can be a problem when you start on your first job because some brands might expect you to be an expert on a specific subject that you might not have any experience in. However, CSM students are very hard working. Usually they learn extremely quickly and they are definitely prepared to be in a creatively demanding field.
What is your style?
I love colour (including black and white and all shades of grey in between), big pieces of fabrics, and fluid shapes. I like putting distinct ideas together, mixing materials and developing fabrications. I like to work with minimalist pattern cutting and twist it with the fabrication choices. If you already have a beautiful print or patchwork, you just need to find a balance.
Some people say “less is more”, others “more is more”, but I’m bipolar in that sense. I prefer to have options. If you see my colourful collection and the way I often dress myself – in a monochromatic way – maybe you wouldn’t link the design with the designer. Sometimes I’m in all grey, another day all in white, and then I add some colour. Dressing is just like creating a narrative for me, it’s about how you can express your feelings.
Some people have their own peculiar creativity but pretend to be something else just to please other people
How do you create clothes?
It can be quite a difficult thing to embrace your personal universe. Some people have their own peculiar creativity but pretend to be something else just to please other people or be part of something that they might not even believe. It can be like an endless high school, you know? I remember growing up loving McQueen designs and runway shows and then suddenly it wasn’t cool anymore to say that because he was so big and mainstream. But yeah, he sticks with me, I think what he did is still relevant.
By the way, have you heard about these bags created with Alexander McQueen DNA?
Yes! I was like this is crazy shit! It’s from a student from my school. I have not seen the samples but I mean, why not? It is about how you can create leather and propose something that still feels luxurious. And I think maybe McQueen himself would love this actually. In a way this idea is so connected to his universe, he even used pieces of his hair sewn into some of his designs in 90s. But still, it’s all super polemic.
These last months, we have heard a lot about famous designers quitting their positions: Raf Simons quitted Dior, Hedi Slimane quitted Saint Laurent, Alber Elbaz quitted Lanvin… What do you think about all that?
Actually I’m not sure about all of this. Usually I like change but the thing is, those brands are so iconic and these designers were doing so well that we got used to them, it felt like they were a bit untouchable at one point. But I can’t wait to see Raf on Calvin Klein.
Could you tell us more about the collection you created?
This is my final project at Central Saint Martins. I reworked second-hand floral dresses and bleached denim trousers which I cut, manipulate, scan and print over sequins into a total patchwork. I took my inspiration from the Brazilian youth and the Batekoo Party (a twerk party organised by African-Brazilian LGBT activists) which I see as the ideal environment for resistance and self-affirmation. These are unisex clothes and it is about owning your body. These are pieces which anyone is invited to wear. Straps, belts, loops and zips allow the you to rearrange the garments, selecting which fabric pattern and which section of skin should be revealed, and also what should be hidden.
Do you have a muse?
I don’t have a specific muse but I love saying that I have 3 favourite singers! Rihanna, Nina Simone, and Erykah Badu. I love the 3 of them, they are very inspiring and they are all Pisces! Each one brings a different element to the table, party, politics, spirituality, and poetry.
What do you want to do after Central Saint Martins?
Work and pay my debts! (laughs)