EFWA 2018 Upcycling Challenge Interview with ATHAN JON a.k.a Jonathan Pampling

Recreate Paper Fashion 2017
Please share a bit about the journey that led you to embrace fashion design as a career.

I had always had an eye for fashion and took some fashion risks growing up. So I guess fashion was a natural progression for me. I loved and excelled in art. I can draw the human body and make it from clay. So creating fashion was just like another medium to me. Material was my paint.

I loved the supermodel era of the 90s, was obsessed with Madonna, influenced by Björk and looked to music videos for artistic ideas. I love the bold, the outthere, the risk taker. Having confidence to wear furry boots or big bug eyed goggles that was me. I love the attention it brings, the conversations that build from one or more items of clothing.

So boring isn't me. I'm more than just black and white. I use every colour and texture I can. I love the challenge. Every tribe's sustainability is based on Food, Clothing, Shelter and Entertainment....and I'm pretty good at all of them...but clothing is where I'd be happy and it makes me feel good knowing I have a place in the tribe. I will use my knowledge, skills and expertise to create whimsical garments that are at the utmost environmental, highly avant-garde and tell you a story....Creativity helps my escapism .

I know you trained at Ithaca TAFE, harnessed your craft through self-taught skills and worked as a tailor to help master your skills? Can you share about about the highs and lows of studying. What came easy? What was a challenge?

I found study quite difficult and expensive at the time as I was new to Brisbane after moving from Hervey Bay to study fashion in 2001. I was literally ripping my curtains down to create my first year of study samples. I stayed back after class to work on my first year of study enabling myself to finish it in five months before leaving. Part of the decision to leave was I couldn't afford to stay, plus I didn't feel motivated enough by the teachers and felt I needed to just hit head first myself into the industry. So beginning stocking retail in Fortitude Valley is where I cut my teeth and began the trial and errors of where I was going to head and who I was to become as a Fashion designer and creative.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you, or do you plan to, offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

I as a designer believe that creating an A+ example of what fashion can be is my most concerning attribute. I love futurism and a lives working towards a better, cleaner and greener future. I like the ideas of sci-fi, mystical, post-apocalyptic and fantasy. Creating photo shoots where I can create my dreamt up ideas and see them come to life. I design without restraint. I create what I want and have no pressure to fit into retail ideals as to stock retail again does not intersect me and prefer to inspire and educate the masses these days. Not saying I won't one day develop a retail style collection but for now I really enjoy being creative and attracting people to my skills and imagination.

I am so thrilled to have you a part of the EFWA Upcycling Challenge by Marilyn R Wilson and Dalija Vlahov. Have you ever upcycled used garments before? If so, how? 

I have always recycled and upcycled from my conception back in 2001. Partly, because I was being thrifty, saving money and attracted to vintage fabrics.

Over the past five years I've made upcycling my number one focus and over the last three years have given up using a sewing machine to push myself into other creative techniques like hand sewing and creating collections entirely out of safety pins to construct garments. This is my way of being energy efficient and saving power. I participate in fashion shows from multicultural events, National Recycle Week (creating paper creations) Worn Out!?! 2017 @reverse garbage and other charity and fun events with all my designs being entirely of my A+ ideal , sustainable, ethical, green and eco. 

Southbank Multicultural Event Feb. 2018
Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect? 

Well because it is a creative collaboration, Andrew and myself have come up with an amazing idea and clever techniques to completely wow the crowd. Our combined skills will be executing an elaborate design that will truly have the audience gasping.

What would you most like the international fashion audience to know about you and what you offer (or hope to offer) the world of fashion?

Personally I want to show the international fashion audience techniques and ideas that are not entirely traditional and being a Futurist that is paving a way forward for us all to come up with new and exciting ways to challenge ourselves in fashion. 

What's next for you? What are your long term dreams? 

Continuing along with my pursuits to create outlandish eye-catching creations to inspire and educate. Creating amazing photo shoots, collaborations with other designers, artists, musicians and filmmakers.

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