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Photograph by Neil Dawson

YCE: Keko Hainswheeler

A cartoon lover who is turning organised chaos into unique accessories.

Fuelling 28-year-old cartoon-loving Keko Hainswheeler’s creativity is life itself - “the human condition and the ideals and stereotypes of society” - which translates into his fashion and accessory designs as pieces created from discarded everyday objects that are taken out of context and given new meaning. “What fashion can be truly excites me,” he says, “and a little bit of colour is never a bad thing, especially when living in the concrete jungle. It would be cool if people had more fun with fashion in these hard times.” Thrown together with a raw aesthetic, his organised chaos is all about composition, with pieces hand-sewn by Hainswheeler and worked around what is structurally possible with materials. “I don’t draw my ideas most of the time, I work in a three-dimensional way using cloth on the stand and real-life objects.”

Name a person or organisation that shares your DIY ethos, and explain why.
I suppose the closed to my ethos in some ways would be Noki though our aesthetics are very different. I love the work of the German based artist Yoka Oyama – the spontaneous way her pieces are created is imaginative. I like the way she uses materials that are abandoned and recreates them giving them new purposes. Althought it is important that people understand that my work is not just about using abandaoned items.

Send us a picture/video that summarises your view of modern life, and explain why.
This image expresses my view of the modern worlds we live in. I love the varied society we live in today. You only have to look at public transport; modern life is a lavish mixed patchwork of cultures, colours, beliefs and aesthetics all whirlpooled together which is truly exciting and beautiful. Within the framework of the city where the networks of the modern day collide in and amongst the blurred rat race of our everyday lives.

Do you think the recession has helped or hindered your creativity? Why?
Recession has helped in some ways. It’s an exciting time, full of change and optimism, challenging the way people live although it has made things harder financially. But as a young designer, things are always hard anyway. It has given me more ambition to succeed.

Music for a revolution - which song sums up your attitude?
Don’t Stop Believing – Journey. Because it’s very similar to the motto I live by (life is for dreams for without dreams we are nothing). You can’t beat a bit of cheesy trash.

What other period inspires you the most, and why?
I adore the period costume of the 17-18th century ornate dress of the upper classes is astounding. The sheer skill and craftsmanship these pieces took to create is amazing and is something to be coveted. I love the OTT flamboyant aesthetic of this period. Plus men in tights, make-up and wigs are kind of hot.

Read more of the YCE feature here.