Born, bred and taught in London, Ada Zanditon is a definite Spindle ‘One to Watch.’
Since her debut on the catwalk at London Fashion Week in 2009, Zanditon has gone from strength to strength creating a narrative of scientific engineered design, through sharp cutting, Bio-mimicry and a focus on the environment through conscious ethical sourcing. The result can be only be described as stunning; garments with sculptural, geometrically cut elegance, expelling the cliché that only a badly knitted hemp sweater can come from ethically produced design.
Fresh from designing the world’s first necklace made entirely from ‘Fairmind’ and ‘Fairtrade’ 18 carat gold, and major model turned musician Viktoria Modesta’s outfit for Lovebox, Spindle managed to catch up with her and find out just what the Zanditon label is all about…
Your work is stunningly beautiful Ada. Displayed on a mannequin, or on the backs of the many celebrities you have dressed you would never think they were the product of ethical design. Why do you think there has been such a long suffered preconception that style and green design are incompatible?
My work is not necessarily the product of ethical design; it is the product of design that happens to be made using ethical processes and materials. I think terms like ethical design are the reason why there has been such a long suffered preconception of style and ethics being incompatible.
It sounds very worthy and I am not doing it to be worthy, I chose to create this way because I am interested in the future and design as a means of creating the future. I am really grateful that people like and wear my clothes and I hope they choose them because they like the design.
Wouldn’t you say, though, that ethical design is a part of the Zanditon brand philosophy?
I would not say that. Our philosophy is to create beautiful, elegant, innovative fashion. We choose to do that using the ethical materials and processes: to produce our collection in the most ethical way possible, source sustainable fabrics wherever we can, and try to use zero waste and recycling practices in our production.
It is more about with what ingredients you use to bake the cake than what the cake looks like. When you buy a fair trade chocolate bar it looks exactly the same as a non fair-trade one – it just uses better ingredients. My philosophy is about high end design and desirable ready-to-wear that is sculptural and features my unique illustrations as prints and embellishments.
What is your opinion on the current state of fast fashion, of fast production and fast design, which in turn is quickly thrown away?
Every day I am immersed in creating high end fashion and it is my focus and my customer. I’m aware of the issues around fast fashion; however it is not something that I’m an expert on. I think that if consumers want to understand these issues better they should read Lucy Siegle’s excellent book: To Die For. She is a fountain of knowledge and an honest, straight talking, inspiring person and her book covers many of the issues concerning fashion and the environment.
Having dressed many a musician from Patrick Wolf to Stephanie O’Brien of the Puppini Sisters, does music influence your work?
I wouldn’t really say that the music itself in particular influences my work. But when working on commissions for people in that industry it’s often the personality, their style or the character surrounding them that often inspires me. Being an onstage performer obviously means you probably have to have a certain confidence and theatricality to the way one goes about life and I think I share this with them in the way I design.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
We listen to Radio 3 all day everyday! I love Opera and Jazz when I’m working. Sometimes when we have had enough of classical music we listen to Rinse FM or pirate stations. I particularly love Grime at the moment and I’m working with Venice Calypso whose track, ‘Drifting’ is out this month on Senseless Records.
It has been stated that you class Viktoria Modesta as a muse. Would you say she is the ideal woman you design for?
My fashion hero is Viktoria Modesta. An incredible singer – a strong, elegant woman and also my muse and friend. Viktoria embodies glamour in the true sense of the word. I admire her fearless confidence but also the fact that despite this she still remains down to earth. In my illustrations I have always imagined characters like Viktoria. We have very much a shared, yet still independent aesthetic. I don’t really design for myself. I have always preferred to have a muse – a woman in mind who will wear my clothes and Viktoria is the epitome of that woman.
You are currently designing Viktoria Modesta’s outfit for Lovebox, can you give us any clues as to what you have created?
I’m really excited about the oufits we have made for her to wear at Lovebox! I can’t mention too much as you will have to catch her performance on stage at Lovebox, but I can certainly say the outfit is certainly sexy, sculptural and we have worked with new materials that we have not worked with in the past… and that’s all I’m saying!
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given that could inspire the emerging talent reading this?
Be open to a wide variety of possibility and to the fact that nothing will ever be complete: it’ll always be ‘in the process’. You’re always in the process of ‘becoming’, so don’t focus on the end result. Focus on the process of ‘doing it’ and ‘being it’. That’s the enjoyable part.