Giovanna Flores is best known for her intricate, yet simultaneously simple recreations of worn garments. A graduate of Pratt and raised in Los Angeles, Flores’s designs can be described as a sort of reverse-ekhprasis and ironically palpable—while much emphasis is placed on the tangible (textures, drapery, embroidery and all), it goes beyond the sensory. Flores’ creations hint at its process in an epic ode to the garment’s history and past life. In an age where new and quick is rewarded and constantly validated, Giovanna Flores brings a concentration to the art of history, recreation, and wearing in clothing.
She is currently based in New York.
Your practice seems to be a very intimate process with emphasis placed on handiwork and a sort of rebirth for salvage materials while rejecting consumer and capitalist connotations associated with garments. Do you struggle to maintain this ethos given our present society is still so ingrained with values and processes counter to this?
I have worked in the industry for ten years, in retail, showroom, sample room or design. So I’ve always drawn a line between work-work and my work. That dichotomy inherently pitches my practice in contrast with the enormous waste of market fashion, but it’s not always the first thing I think about. I always shop second hand and the things that stand out to me as beautiful and special are the wear in the clothing—the mending, the stains and the wrinkles. So, it is natural for my practice to be centered around these things. The things that show life in materials. The type of physical history you wouldn’t see on factory-new garments.
Most of your garments are created between Los Angeles and New York, do you find that the different environments have a major effect your work?
Yes, just as seasons changing also has major effects. People feel different in LA than people in NY, people feel different in winter than they do in spring.
Clothing is for people—to make people feel how they want whether it be for aesthetics or for practicality. And I intend for my work to reflect that—signs of that [and] those feelings.
Are there any contemporary designers or artists you admire right now?
Kristin Dickson-Okuda (iko-iko, Rowena satin), BLESS, Susan Cianciolo, Matthew Linde, Collin Clarke.
Where do you usually find inspiration for your pieces?
People watching, the way fabrics move on people, the accidental drapery that happens when things are thrown, or just in the materials themselves.
Can you tell us more about your upcoming collection and/or projects?
I have been working on a project I started in Los Angeles—collaging pieces onto each other. A big part of it is going to be the documentation. I have been shooting the work on my sisters and boyfriend mostly around California. It feels special and light and I’m very excited to share it.
Images courtesy of GIOVANNA FLORES
interview PERWANA NAZIF
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