With Repurposed Materials Diana Velika Banas Pieces Together a Vivienne Westwood Inspired Collection

March 11th, 2011 by Lacey Luce
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Diana Velika Banas

It is fitting, on many levels, that Diana Velika Banas chose Vivienne Westwood as her Masters of Design muse.

Let’s start with music. Diana references music, in particular old-school punk, as a major influence on her life and work—The Clash, the Ramones, X, Black Flag, the Germs … to name a few. The genre is clear in Diana’s designs and a direct nod to Westwood’s early years as THE forerunner in punk-rock fashion.

Westwood built her design aesthetic and career on bucking existing fashion trends. When she and boyfriend Malcom McLaren (perhaps best known for managing punk bands the Sex Pistols and New York Dolls) opened their store at 430 Kings Road in 1971 they were more interested in 50s’-inspired “Teddy Boy” fashions then the hippie-inspired looks that were the current trend. Within five years the store changed names and looks.

Ms. Vivienne Westwood

“In 1976 the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen, managed by McLaren, went to number one and was refused air time by the BBC. The shop reopened as Seditionaires transforming the straps and zips of obscure sexual fetishism into fashion and inspiring a D.I.Y. aesthetic. The media called it ‘Punk Rock’.” (Excerpt from http://www.viviennewestwood.co.uk/w/the-story/kings-road]

The DIY aesthetic is something else Diana references often. “I’ve had a long history (from the age of five) of cutting ugly materials up and trying to piece them back together in a way I deemed more aesthetically pleasing,” she says.

She continues this trend of deconstruction and reconstruction in her current collection. The plaids used throughout her looks are actually constructed from several plaid garments purchased at thrift stores. She took apart several shirts, died them and pieced together the material to construct new textiles.

Painted vinyl

She also repurposes  material used in her faux leather pieces, where she took vinyl (the kind developed to be used outdoors) and painted it to give it a texture reminiscent of worn, aged leather (no animals were harmed in the making of Diana’s collection).

While Diana’s garments are clearly inspired by Vivienne Westwood, they are focused on a particular time in Westwood’s 40-year career and on one particular aesthetic of a designer whose looks are varied even from one 2011 red carpet event to another. This focus is one way in which the collection is true to Diana’s voice. Diana’s handmade textiles are another. They reflect her first year in college in Maryland where she studied fiber arts in addition to foundation classes. “There was a lot of developing the textiles,” explains Diana when talking about her decision to transfer to CCAD. “I wanted to learn how to make the clothes. I ended up with the best of both worlds.”

In the end Diana’s voice is best conveyed by the fact that she has created a collection that she wants to wear, rather than focusing on what could be mass produced—the epitome of DIY fashion.

After graduation Diana will spend the summer doing costume design for a repertory theater in California, a job she did last summer. She has an interest in costume design, and would love to do costuming for music acts, videos or TV—in particular she loves costuming modern characters and is fascinated by what clothing can do for a character and how it adds to the story.

Tickets to the show (which includes a pre-runway party and an after-runway party) are available at www.ccad.edu/fashion and if you get them before March 15 you get the advance purchase price.

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The CCAD Fashion Show is an annual fundraising event that showcases the talent of graduating Columbus College of Art & Design Fashion Design Seniors. This popular event sells out every year and this blog is a portal through which to view the behind-the-scenes goings on.

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