In How You Make It, three cross-over vests show the FORMALLYKNOWNAS (FKA) design process sourced from Whittington’s plain white pattern, the Classic Cut, and the two variations in coloured and patterned fabric that are derived from it. More than a label, FKA is a complete design system devised by Toby Whittington in 2005. The system invites anybody to become a coCreator to work with Whittington – the ‘Primary Creator’. Using the FKA DesignMenu, coCreators, in this instance Renae Campbell and Ahmad Abas, choose from a fixed set of design elements including: colour, fabric, prints, pockets and fasteners to remix the original Classic Cut garment. While Whittington hand finishes each garment and guides the coCreators through the process, the collections are largely informed by the choices of the participants, who almost always have no fashion design training. The effect is a series of garments conceived collaboratively but with often wholly distinct aesthetic positions and skills.
In the LACE collection (2007), eleven coCreators including an accountant, an architect, a botanist, a school teacher and a student participated to create men and women’s clothes. Importantly, coCreators do not make clothes for themselves. Instead, they contribute to the creation of a collection of garments for the FKA label. Each receives a royalty from the sale of their coCreated garments, in return for their initial investment in order to participate. For Whittington, the experience of working with the coCreators is a feed back, feed forward style of design and communication.
ta I aw (Cross-over vest – coCreated by Ahmad Abas) 2007
'LACE' collection, (suiting) polyester viscose, (lining) satin acetate, installation view, Photography: Slowlight Images, Courtesy the artist and Craft Victoria