Follow the Rainbow
By Mark Kebble on December 13th 2010
The first time I came across Amy Winters, she was working for The Last Days of Decadence in Shoreditch, a venue that put a touch originality into east London nightlife. Then, in September 2010, I heard about her own personal project, Rainbow Winters, which fused the cutting edge of science with the high-art of fashion. Her new collection looked stunning and sounded very sci-fi – such as the ‘thunderstorm’ dress, which is music reactive and transforms the wearer into a living thunderstorm - so it was time to head to her Shoreditch studio for something very new...
What’s your fashion background Amy?
“I trained originally as a set and costume designer at Central Saint Martin’s and specialised in creating extravagant costumes for operas. After graduation I produced fashion shows and worked in the smart textiles industry on research and development projects collaborating with scientists to create new fabrics for the fashion industry and became recognised by the likes of Channel 4, HSBC and Science Museum London. In September 2010, I launched Rainbow Winters at London Fashion Week.”
What inspired Rainbow Winters?
“With the rise of young female performers such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna, I saw a gap in the market to create visual costumes for these performers, and to create something multi-faceted and more interesting for their audience. I used my middle name Rainbow and surname Winters for the brand as rainbows are constantly changing, appearing and disappearing, which suited the concept. The dramatic powers of nature are my ultimate inspiration, wild weather and transforming colours.”
A sound-reactive dress sounds fascinating. Was it difficult to make?
“There was quite a bit of work, but to be honest I’m playing with what’s already out there and mixing it up to demonstrate a concept. The ‘thunderstorm’ dress is made with holographic leather and sound-reactive, animated electroluminescent panels. As the volume rises, the dress illuminates to create ‘visual music’. It was constructed using the same electronic display as many advertising posters, which I teamed with a sound-sensor. With all the technological advances I am currently undertaking new projects with scientists to create more exciting, interactive costumes.”
What else can we find in your new collection?
“The spring/summer 2011 ready-to-wear collection features pieces that change when exposed to water and sunlight. The signature piece of the collection is the ‘Rainforest Dress’ – a dress that changes colour when exposed to water and sunlight, morphing from a black and white world into living colour.”
Do you think you’ve found a niche in the fashion world?
“London is a hot-bed of experimentation at the moment with lots of designers testing out new technologies, such as the original conceptual fashion designer Chalayan, Rodarte’s Illuminated Heels and Cute Circuit’s Katy Perry light-up-dress at the Met Gala, so the niche is growing. Rainbow Winters has its own place and personality in that world as it’s highly theatrical, playful and expressive. My work also focuses on change, response and process and the idea that clothes should be aesthetically beautiful, as well as having an interesting technological element.”
What has the reaction been like to the collection?
“Within a couple of weeks the collection had a rapid viral response and was picked up by trendhunter with 17,000+ views. My favourite responses have been on how wearable and beautiful the actual clothes are because of the creative use of the inks that allow colour to reveal and disappear, so ultimately it’s a design with purpose, which makes the collection less of a flashy gimmick, but something that is buyable and wearable.”
Your work sounds fantastic for those red carpet moments, but can the everyday public also enjoy the collection?
“The attention grabbing ‘couture’ pieces are perfect for performers, but the ready-to-wear line uses a more subtle approach. The Petal Dress, for example, is a simple, light pink minidress at first glance, screen printed with sun-reactive ink. Stepping outside, the colour deepens to an effervescent purple in the sun. For the ready-to-wear line I was inspired by the 1960s, which was a revolutionary time where fashion became democratic, looked ahead and reached a young audience with clean and bright colours expressing an optimistic mood. The clothes are meant to be something you can have fun in, swimsuits that can double up as bodysuits, and dresses that can be sweet and sober indoors, but more exciting outside.”
Is Shoreditch an inspiring place to work?
“Shoreditch is the perfect platform to launch the project because it’s a very young scene, which is open to the idea of new design. In fact, it’s the Shoreditch boutiques and magazines that have given the label the most support and I share my showroom with other emerging designers, which is inspiring.”
What’s next for Rainbow Winters?
“The debut collection has already attracted the attention of numerous stockists and celebrities, so watch out for new projects! Spring/summer 11 will be available to buy online soon on Catwalk Genius (www.catwalkgenius.com) and showpieces are made to order through my website.”
For Rainbow Winters sales enquiries, please visit www.rainbowwinters.com
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