Alex Pijut did not grow up knowing that she wanted to do fashion. It wasn’t until high school that her interest in art led her to consider a career path in the industry. She attended a school in New York for a year and a half before transferring to SCAD, and once she got into her fashion classes, she realized that fashion was for her. Just recently, her senior collection was showcased in the SCAD Fashion Show.
Behind her collection is a surreal concept involving the exploration of our dreams. Think of Edgar Allan Poe’s, “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” Her collection explores the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
“For me, research is a big part of development of collections. I think it is a very important step and [it is] how you set yourself apart as a designer. My concept is all about my own experimentation with dream analysis this Summer. I woke up the same time every day for a month and I would write down everything that I could remember from my dreams. I would then look up the symbolism and what it meant to analyze my dreams,” says Pijut.
What Pijut found were subconscious signals that she was living a stressful life.
“That process developed into my concept of the conscious vs. the subconscious. It is all about the stress that the body endures under a very conscious day-to-day basis paired with the body’s ability to dream and make sense of it all through the subconscious,” explains Pijut. “From there, I looked into menswear suiting and I ended up using the scanner as a big part of my process. I would take thrifted suits and scan them in and that became my actual fabrication.”
In her lookbook, Pijut points out the enlarged details of classic menswear pieces like the oversized welt pocket in the inside of the jacket and the oversized lapel.
“It looks like typical plaid suiting, but it is actually [those] scans that I did,” Pijut says while emphasizing the suiting and lining fabric. “I also wanted to bring in elements of suiting into the silhouettes. This jumpsuit is actually the back of a pair of pants.”
The fabric was white before she sent it out to digital printers, resulting in the standout custom fabric unique to the Conscious vs. Subconscious collection. There is the illusion that the fabric is being held up in thin air, which is a technique she learned in her concept class.
Having used a bed sheet to practice draping, Pijut was able to create sleek silhouettes to balance out the prints, all while creating a feeling of disorientation that relates back to the dream concept.
“This collection is more streamlined than what I usually design. It is a personal collection to me, but still wearable [in] my market,” says Pijut.
Wearable, it is. While the pieces look structured, they are actually soft and move with you.
“Movement was a big thing I focused on with this collection,” Pijut attests. “I’m attracted to things that are different, not your classic definition of [beautiful] things. One of the things that the jurors asked me was what emotion [I was] trying to convey with this collection. It was something that I hadn’t thought about before, but what makes clothes beautiful is confidence. When you see someone who is confident and loving their look, that is what beauty is and is what I tried to convey with this collection. You have these huge scans of suits, which does take a confident person to wear. That is what [I consider] beautiful: things that are different [and] people [that] have the confidence to wear them.”
A collection within a personal concept that inspires confidence is a dream within a dream, just like the conscious and subconscious minds making sense of everyday experiences are. It is what we see, but it is also much more… and that is what is so special about Pijut’s collection.
The Conscious vs. Subconscious collection captures the beauty and meaning that makes fashion an art form and, furthermore, a dream that we have the opportunity to experience.
Written by Carly Walker
Photos by Angie Stong