Interview with Marloes ten Bhomer, Designer - Marloes ten Bhomer
Critically acclaimed designer Marloes ten Bhömer produces shoes that are both provocative and otherworldly. Her work fuses artistic and technological experiment in order to discover shoes anew.
With work that has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, Marloes also gives lectures about her work worldwide. The Trend Boutique are pleased to say that she will be presenting as part of the High Tech vs. Low Tech Student Conference on 29th January 2014.
Marloes ten Bhömer (Image courtesy of The Telegraph article on the Power of Making Exhibition at the V&A)
What are the main duties of your role?
I am a designer / maker and run my own practice and work as an academic researcher at Kingston University. This means that I do everything that is required to continue my work, from making, to sourcing materials and getting smaller parts made, to contacting and talking to journalists and gallerists, to securing funding to doing taxes.
I do of course realise that I can outsource some of these roles, but I have chosen to do all these tasks myself, because I feel it is all part of the work and I understand how everything works better and sometimes it just wouldn’t work.
It is for example very important to do my own press for example. Most of the time my work doesn’t fit in with regular fashion cycles, themes or stories. Seasonality for example is not relevant to what I do, so I would absolutely detest it when my work would be pitched for a season fashion story.
Next to my own practice I am a Guestprofessor in Fashion Design at the Universität der Künste in Berlin.
What are the best aspects about your current role?
I mostly enjoy researching, finding references that deal with similar topics and figuring out how to make something while making.
As for my role as guest professor, I really enjoy coming up with and researching themes for the student briefs.
Are there any areas that are particularly challenging?
What is most challenging is to have to change my role constantly. It’s exhausting to have to do different tasks all the time that require a different mind-sets or approaches.
Shoes by Marloes ten Bhömer
When employing a graduate what are the attributes you look for?
I haven’t ever employed a graduate, but when I would, I think most important would be vision, independence and what the person is like. When you work together in a small team, it is super important whether you get along and have a similar energy.
Do you have any words of wisdom that you would like to pass on?
When you choose what you want to do, don’t just think about how things are done at the moment. Think about what you like doing and how you can make create a job or find one that allows you to do just that. I think that a vast majority of fashion students imagine that they want to become design stars with their own label, but not only is that only possible for a select few, it is the day-to-day activity that should guide you in your job choice. Maybe you love being on your own embroidering ever day or making sample swatches or maybe you enjoy talking to lots of different people and manage fashion events.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
That selling one really expensive piece of work is as commercial as a lot of cheap pieces.
What do you feel are the most important trends / changes happening in the industry that you feel students should be aware of?
The trends and changes are happening that I am most interested in are happening in the fields on the fringes of fashion and design. The emergence of design that is used to communicating ideas about the field itself and other contemporary issues.
On the practical side of things, there are also interesting changes in the way fashion in sold. I see that a lot of fashion buyers are opting for short-order for example and that a lot of designers avoid expensive fairs altogether and sell work (not necessarily seasonal collections) online. This can change the ability for young designers to work, avoiding big cash flow and expensive investments. Why can jeans companies re-issue classic pieces, but why would a fashion designer not be able to ignore seasonality?!
Shoe by Marloes ten Bhömer
When were you happiest?
That’s super easy to answer! When I am working with my hands, figuring out how to make something, listening to talk radio from morning to night. Some favourites; RadioLab, Backlight (tv, but I listen), Argos (dutch radio) and Democracy Now.
What is your highest qualification?
MA RCA in product design
What is your most treasured procession?
My computer. Boring I know!
Last exhibition / event that you went to see?
This is not the last exhibition I saw, but it is the one that recently made a great impression on me; The Outsider Art exhibition at the Welcome Trust. Just an incredible show of beautiful dedicated making. Made me want move to the middle of nowhere and create outside the industry.
3 words that describe yourself?
Righteous, stubborn, very stubborn
How would you save the planet?
There is no one solution to saving the planet. There are many risks and challenges. I’d say that the demise of the sun would be a vital one to solve. But more interestingly, methods of saving the planet and ideas about what poses the biggest threats says most about current society.
Shoes by Marloes ten Bhömer
What inspires you the most?
Investigative journalism or the ability to instantly ask relevant questions.
What is your biggest hope for the future?
I would like to continue academic research, that broadens the scope of ideas that surround my work.
Your favourite music
Your favourite location
Easy, my studio
Your favourite style icon
Bjork. I remember not really ever having seen her much, but hearing on the radio that she was wearing a paper dress at a music event. I was sold immediately.