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Sissell Gustavsen on ‘Wearable Art’

One of my greatest intentions was to create something that could lift the wearers' energy
Reference Studio

The contrast between the strength of the mountains in Wales and the fluidity of the ocean smothering the coastal plains, is mirrored in Sissell’s work through the scarves’ bold vibrational power juxtaposed with the sensual effects of the peace silk.

Reading: Sissell Gustavsen on ‘Wearable Art’
Written by Reference Studio
20.08.2021

Wearable art emerged in the 1960s as a mechanism of defiance and subversion to the fast-fashion market and represented the process of extending the functionality of garments into a cathartic experience. Militating for the harmony between concept and aestheticism, Sissell Gustavsen is a textile designer and Central Saint Martins graduate who revolutionises the concept of wearable art through her scarves collection. By exploring wellness practices through textiles, she consolidates the relation between wearer and garment and unveils the psychological nuances arising from our sartorial choices.

Sissell Gustavsen is originally from Copenhagen where she studied Fashion Design at the Scandinavian Academy of Fashion Design, before moving to London to study Textile Design at Central Saint Martins. The editor of our magazine had a chat with the designer who explained her current collection and path through her creative breakthrough.

Sissell Gustavsen is passionate, yet grounded, sure of herself, but mostly sure of her mission and product of creation. She is embraced by the ‘Golden Shine’ scarf resting on her shoulders secured with a light twist at the centre of her chest and aligned with the heart chakra. Her story is a testament of perseverance in the face of hardship. Heading towards the home stretch of her final year at Central Saint Martins, Sissell had to flee London and abandon all the ties with her creative routine. She spent the first lockdown at her friend’s house in Wales where distress overcame her as she was not only removed from her medium of creation, but also from the materials she was practicing her craft with. She turned the situation in her favour by using the environment as both her source of inspiration and resource. After collecting various objects she could print with, Sissell discovered ‘rusting’, her signature technique now, which she was able to conduct with some old rusted metal found in a clandestine scrapyard.

 

The contrast between the strength of the mountains in Wales and the fluidity of the ocean smothering the coastal plains, is mirrored in Sissell’s work through the scarves’ bold vibrational power juxtaposed with the sensual effects of the peace silk.

Creating a symbiosis between nature and wearable art is adamant for Sissell Gustavsen’s mission. The contrast between the strength of the mountains in Wales and the fluidity of the ocean smothering the coastal plains, is mirrored in Sissell’s work through the scarves’ bold vibrational power juxtaposed with the sensual effects of the peace silk. She achieves her aim by using natural dyes extracted from food-waste, three roots or plants. The personal printing technique she developed is a sustainable approach which uses no chemicals, coming as a symbol of gratitude Sissell offers to the environment from which she draws inspiration. The energy of the scarf is further emphasised by the usage of natural elements which translate into the serene and content sensation which the wearer instantly feels once he enters contact with the fabric. “I believe that some of the most beautiful colours come from nature” says Sissell.

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The designer proposes a sustainable perspective not only through the zero waste approach she follows, but also through ideology. “Buying objects which contain intrinsic value beyond the fabric, which ooze energy accumulated through careful manufacturing imbued in wellbeing techniques, can add more value to one’s life in the long run and eliminate the need for over-consumption”, believes Sissell.

Our editor has tried on the scarf and noticed the peculiar sensation of tingles down the spine. It was the sensation of frisson, which is the French term for “aesthetic chills” and arises from the interaction with stimuli which appeal beyond the conscious to the subconscious and touch an elusive nerve in one’s being. “Although it is very fluid in appearance, the weight of the scarf feels incredibly comforting on my shoulders, it can be compared to a protective membrane which makes me feel grounded and safe”.

 

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“One of my greatest intentions was to create something that could lift the energy of people when wearing it” says Sissell, who paid as much attention to the design process as to the energetic preparation of the scarves. The scarves are immersed in natural rose oils, which have the property of reducing anxiety, cortisol levels, as well as regulating heart rate and breathing rate. After being imbued in the ambrosial substances, the scarves’ energy is being treated with the help of sound baths used to clear energetic blockages and raise vibration. Classical music is resonating softly while Sissell is making sure that every scarf exudes individuality and the finest level of craftsmanship.

 

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One of my greatest intentions was to create something that could lift the wearers' energy

Sissell Gustavsen’s brand is the personification of wearable art which transgresses the status of garment collection and becomes a bone fide experience. It is a story of turning the peril of uncertainty into the sublime. It is a longing which is tempered. It is an oasis of tranquility which seeps gently into one’s conscious. It is a layer of protection which brings one’s energy to its zenith. It is Sissell’s promise of visually and spiritually enriching one’s life through the tenderest of fabrics and emotion.

You can support the artist by going on her website at https://www.sissellgustavsen.com or shopping in the store at Nuvole on St. Regnegade No.2 in Copenhagen

 

Designer
Sissell Gustavsen
Photographer
Sophie Brouwer
Model
Loreta Tale

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