We catch up with JAMES DIMECH, who speaks to us about his passion for wearable art
using waste materials, an art form separate from mainstream fashion, yet related to
it. It’s like the marriage of fashion and visual arts, taking them both outside what they
are independently, and creating a new artistic platform. James Dimech proves that all
masterpieces shouldn’t be hung on walls.

YOU INITIALLY STARTED OFF YOUR CAREER AS AN INTERIOR
DESIGNER. WHAT FIRST DROVE YOU TO BECOME A FASHION
DESIGNER?
First of all, I would like to point out that I don’t like to call myself
a fashion designer. I’m an artist with a passion for wearable
art. During my foundation year at the Arts and Design Institute,
we covered basics in all aspects of design; from interiors and
graphics to fashion. 28 years ago, I never thought of fashion
design as my main focus, as I always knew I wanted to become
an interior designer. However, I started out in the industry as
a model when I was 18 years old, and went on to win a couple
of contests. I kept working till recent times as a commercial
model with local agencies.

JAMES DIMECH TURNS WASTE INTO WEARABLE ART

ARE YOU SELF-TAUGHT OR DID YOU STUDY FASHION DESIGN?
Even if I covered the basics of fashion design at school, I still
learned a lot from my aunt, a professional seamstress. I used
to spend time in her workshop, creating carnival costumes for
my friend. I guess those were my first pieces of wearable art.
My aunt taught me how to create dress patterns which I used to
practise using my mother’s sewing machine.

JAMES DIMECH TURNS WASTE INTO WEARABLE ART

ECO-FRIENDLY FASHION SEEMS TO GROW MORE POPULAR
EVERY DAY. CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT HOW THE
ISSUE OF SUSTAINABILITY INFLUENCES YOU AS A DESIGNER?
As I’ve explained before, my intention was never to become a
fashion designer by profession, so I wanted to do something
different. As a person, I am very environmentally conscious                                              and I do my best to contribute  to the environment. However, to
be honest, I do think we are living a fast life, and this is due to the
fact that most people are self-centred and require everything
instantly. It’s true, awareness is indeed growing, but I do believe
that more should be done. From my end, I try to make something
beautiful out of waste materials.

HOW ARE ESTABLISHED FASHION BRANDS WITHIN THE
INDUSTRY TRYING TO BECOME MORE SUSTAINABLE? IS THERE
ANY NEGATIVITY TOWARDS THE TOPIC?
For my upcoming fashion project, I did lots of research and was
surprised by how many fashion brands are taking this issue
seriously – in different ways, starting from the packaging to the
materials used. I guess the negative part is that not everyone is
aware of this. For these brands to succeed in their venture, they
need to promote what they are doing even more, and in doing so,
attract people to their products.

JAMES DIMECH TURNS WASTE INTO WEARABLE ART

WHY CAN YOUR WORKS BE CALLED UNIQUE AND UNUSUAL?
I guess unique means one of its own. So far, all the garments
I produced are made from different materials; paper, plastic,
rubber, and metal. The artistry comes out in the way I mount
them. If I had to replicate a garment, it may look similar but
never identical.

WHAT KINDS OF MATERIALS DO YOU USE TO MAKE CLOTHES?
As a base to some of my garments, I’ve worked with used
curtain lining in good condition, with different metal and plastic
additions on top. For the White Paper Star collection I used
paper or paper related material. For the bases, I used paper
cotton which is the material of giveaway bags used in most
supermarkets.

JAMES DIMECH TURNS WASTE INTO WEARABLE ART

YOUR COLLECTION CALLED WHITE PAPER STARS WAS SHOWN
AT THE MALTA FASHION CHAMBER’S INTERNATIONAL EVENING
OF CULTURE THROUGH FASHION. WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION
BEHIND THIS COLLECTION?
Knowing that the Gran Gala was happening at the Verdala Castle,
my inspiration was the White Lady – according to the legend
of the ghost of the white lady, she is seen wearing a long white
flowing dress. I added the tulle to my white paper dresses, to
give them a more flowing feel.

WHAT ARE YOU FASCINATED BY AT THE MOMENT AND HOW
DOES IT FEED INTO YOUR WORK?
Well, I’m taking the paper folding technique a step further, and,
at the moment, I’m in the experimental phase of something
more innovative but more complex, yet still using sustainable
and recycled materials. Please don’t make me reveal more. I
must admit that all this is happening thanks to The Chamber of
Fashion Malta Foundation. The girls managing this non-profit
organisation have showed so much trust in me from day one and
continue to support me by giving me the right push at the right
time.

© 2018 – VIDA Magazine