THOUGHTS OF OTHER - A DEEPER LEVEL
THOUGHTS OF OTHER - PT.2
Following on from our previous post 'THOUGHTS' Mr Dylan Knight founder of “Thoughts Of Other” submerges us in thought provoking idealistics as we delve a little deeper in to this brilliant mind. Check out the interview below.
UNCON: HERITAGE. DYLAN WERE YOU A CURIOUS PERSON DURING YOUR YOUTH?
DYLAN: I think so. There’s much that I’ve forgotten from my childhood, but during my teenage years, I developed deeper interests in art, music, and writing. There’s part of me that became obsessed with a particular activity and indulged in it unceasingly, typically until I found a new skill to become lost in.
UNCON: IMPRINT. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR INITIAL URGE TO CREATE?
DYLAN: When I look back, drawing was my first love. I still draw from time to time these days, but not as much as I probably should. Drawing felt like an escape for me, a medium through which I could create a world of my own, something that made sense and was in line and gave me some sense of stability during those years. Eventually the satisfaction that I got from the creative process began to branch out into different mediums.
UNCON: EMBOSS. FAST FORWARD THE YEARS AND 'THOUGHTS OF OTHER' WAS BORN. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
DYLAN: I first had the idea for Thoughts of Other while on a ferry coming back from Camiguin, an island in the Philippines. At that time, I had no intent to create clothing. Originally it was intended to be a website for my photography, a space where I could document my personal experiences or feelings through imagery. Change always surprises us in retrospect, doesn’t it? The name itself is a reflection of sorts. I’m often easily distracted and mismanaged in my personal life, but photography provided me with a sense of immediacy and of being truly present. In photography, all other distraction and matters that beg my attention are put on the back-burner. It’s just you and this activity, a meditation of sorts. This awareness of being present is important in most all that I do, because I become easily undisciplined without it.
UNCON: PINPOINT. YOUR WORK IS ALSO ABOUT A CALM CONNECTION TO THE FABRICS YOU USE. WHAT SHAPES THE SURFACE STUDY OF YOUR WORK?
DYLAN: My appreciations are pretty simple. I’m drawn to texture and imperfection. I want to feel the work and the elements behind the fabric. If it is durable or delicate, thick or thin, rough or soft, it doesn’t matter. I try to trust my senses to find what feels genuine and in line with my own aesthetic sensibilities.
UNCON: HOMETOWN. WHERE ARE YOU CURRENTLY BASED, CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR LOCAL PRESENCE?
DYLAN: I’m currently based in Beijing China. I moved here from the United States after I had turned twenty one, and fell in love with China and the East, and have been here since. That would be seven years now. I work alongside a local pattern maker here in Beijing. The process is rather slow and time consuming, but suitable for now.
UNCON: POLITESSE. HOW DO YOU SEE THE DISCUSSION ON THE FUNCTIONALITY OF CONTEMPORARY WARDROBES?
DYLAN: I don’t often think about it, to be honest. There are times in life that require a more practical wardrobe, and other times that don’t. It depends on how you feel and what you’re doing that day.
UNCON: ASPIRE. WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU, IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR WORK?
DYLAN: I would have to say fabric, dye, and details. I don’t have much of an interest in innovating cutting or silhouettes. I’d much rather spend my time making the most beautiful buttons that I can, or experimenting with traditional natural dyes.
UNCON: MUSIC. WHEN CREATING, WHAT MUSIC DO YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH?
DYLAN: That depends on my mood, I suppose. It fluctuates. Sometimes Japanese and Chinese folk music, sometimes indie bands. Lately I’ve been listening to more podcasts. Having something engaging like an engaging conversation, audiobooks, or standup comedy helps the time pass during repetitive tasks such as button making or dyeing.
UNCON: PROCESS. CAN YOU DELVE A LITTLE DEEPER INTO WHAT IT TAKES TO CONSTRUCT ONE OF YOUR GARMENTS FROM SKETCH TO FINISHED ARTICLE?
DYLAN: The process varies depending on the garment in question, though typically a drawing, alongside some base measurements, are used to develop a muslin sample, after which, any necessary adjustments to the shape and fit will be made. Next, the garment is sewn using the final selected fabrics, and then it is time for the dyeing process. Dyeing can span from a single day to an entire month depending on the methods used. These days I’m interested in Kakishibu, yam, walnut, acorn, and other natural dyes, along with the use of various mordants such as iron. All of the hardware is created and then sewn. Every piece of hardware such as leather and silver buttons and logo tags are also made by hand, and require quite the length of time to complete from beginning to end.
UNCON: NIPPON. WHEN WE LOOK AT JAPAN, AND IN PARTICULAR IT'S WABI-SABI PHILOSOPHY, DO YOU SEE A CONNECTION TO 'THOUGHTS OF OTHER' HERE?
DYLAN: When I was younger, in particular, during my preteen years, my life was very unstable, to put it lightly. Because of the circumstances then, I would look to create semblances of stability and perfection in my life to an obsessive extent, such as having a favourite toy and hiding it away. I would never play with it or even take it out of its box because I so felt I needed something that was safe, something untouchable from the outer world. I think I was afraid of loss and having no solid foundation. This fear of loss and the need to possess something untouchable by the world and by change is still with me today, but slightly better managed. You could say that I look to the wabi-sabi philosophy in regards to my work. There are many aspects of the garments which, a decade ago, I would view as imperfection and thus not suitable for my own personal tastes, though these days I’m trying to let go of my attachments to these ideals. Now, if it feels honest and sincere, that’s enough.
UNCON: EMERGO. ANY NEW CHAPTER NEEDS NEW INPUT, WHAT WOULD YOURS BE?
DYLAN: Pattern making and the sculpting of a garment does not need to be complex. The simplicity of silhouettes, and the subtleties of small details, can evoke more emotions than complexity.
UNCON: AMBITION. NEXT TO DESIGN, DO YOU FIND TIME FOR OTHER INTERESTS AND DEVELOPMENTS?
DYLAN: When I’m not working on Thoughts of Other, I’m typically playing guitar or exercising, the latter being a more recent obsession of mine. I have a difficult time staying focused, but these activities bring that necessary sense of immediacy to them that I feel really engaged with.
UNCON: EMOTION. WHAT EMOTIONS DO YOU CURRENTLY ASSOCIATE WITH YOUR WORK? HOW DO YOU BELIEVE YOUR PIECES HELP TO PHYSICALLY REPRESENT THOSE EMOTIONS?
DYLAN: That’s quite difficult to put into words. I’m no poet, but John Cage may as well have been one. I’m listening to his melody, “Dream,” written in 1948, as I write this. He seems to have gotten close to the emotion I have in mind. Words are limited in their own way, aren’t they? Creations, once brought into this world, belong to us only for a brief moment, if they even belong to us at all. There is a peculiar feeling when you see or handle a piece of work that someone has deeply cared about. I hope that this feeling can be reflected in my work.