The Pakistan-born designer fuses the idea of a futuristic mankind with nature via soft flowing hand-painted silks
Originally from Pakistan, Wali Barrech is the final in our interviews with six students from the Royal Academy of Antwerp Fashion course, chosen by their tutor and influential member of the Antwerp Six, Walter van Beirendonck. Barrech takes his inspiration from a combination of both the natural and the man made, and looks to combine the two in his designs. It is a juxtaposition between what could be seen as almost futuristic, with organic elements suggesting animal and insect forms, that made his second year collection stand out. An attention to print and fabric also highlighted this feeling of the natural and the constructed, using sharper shapes alongside soft, flowing hand painted silks.
Dazed Digital: How have you found being taught by somebody as forward thinking as Walter Van Beirendonck?
Wali Barech: I always found Walter to be very sharp and honest. He always understood every idea or inspiration immediately, even though i can be very vague. The fact that as a student you are being criticized by a man with his background in fashion has always motivated me to go for everything I desire to create, as I know Walter could show me the way to structure the path to my core vision.
DD: What have you taken from his teaching?
Wali Barech: Personally, the biggest lesson I've learnt from Walter is to be my own person and to fight for my goals. Apart from that he has shown me patience and kindness are priceless lessons.
DD: What story do you want your clothes to tell?
Wali Barech: That we as a human should realize both what beauty we are surrounded by, and that we carry within.
DD: Is print and dye technique important to what you do?
Wali Barech: This is the first time I have tried hand painting my fabrics because colours were so important to what I wanted to create. I actually ended up hand painting everything because i was broke...
DD: Do you have a type of person in mind when you are designing and if so what are they like?
Wali Barech: As I create the world I see my clothing in, I also create a persona. I cant explain why, but they always tend to look other worldly and alien, but they also have a lot of myself in them.
Check out the rest of our series in Walter van Beirendonck's The Joy of Six