Elliott Evan - 'Alaska'
Elliott Evan - 'Alaska: Moment in Process'
Highland park, Los Angeles / 2018
Project Summary: Elliott Evan private event for new work comprised around the exploration of a new material (Kevlar denim) alongside his signature leather wears, and the process of outfitting himself for a motorcycle journey to Alaska.
Fashion & Concept: Elliott Giffis under his moniker 'Elliott Evan'
Installation Design & Space Transformation: Ahdom Sayre
Project Background: After going through a difficult breakup in 2017, Elliot planned a solo trip to the Alaskan wilderness to reflect on his new life without his partner. In planning for this trip, he designed and crafted a jacket and pants to wear that were capable of enduring such a journey using a new material: kevlar selvedge denim. He did not intend to test his creations to the extent that he ending up doing—surviving crashes, harsh weather, and even time spent in a coal car of a cargo train—but upon returning home, he knew he had made the right choice in material and form and decided to build a capsule collection around that very principle: a clothing like armor, designed to withstand the many hardships that life could bring your way.
Design Notes: The venue of the show was a gallery in Highland Park that was previously a home. This space was chosen, painted black, and outfitted with a custom leather door made by Elliott to create the experience of entering a primitive home—similar to those built in the wilderness of Alaska—at night, and finding the meal of the evening being made under a soft, warm light, from the kill of the day.
In conceptualizing the event, Ahdom drew upon his intimate knowledge of Elliott’s work throughout their long history as friends, and immediately saw an opportunity to showcase Elliott’s work in a new way:
Elliott is known in his industry for his cut and sew abilities—being able to manage the creation of garments from concept to pattern making to execution all from his hands alone—but the talent amongst these many that stands out the most from his peers is his experience and intuition in pattern making. This skill was critical in the creation of the garments Elliott made for his trip, as kevlar is an extremely unforgiving material and without this knowledge there would be no way to effectively utilize this material for an application that is so dependent on a precise fit for both comfort and safety.
In designing the show, Ahdom wanted to not only showcase Elliott’s new work, but to also bring to light in a diagrammatic fashion the extreme level of fit-craft that Elliott brings to his designs through his pattern making. This concept led to the creation of garment fragments that showed how each element of each garment worked with the human figure, while freezing those pieces in time as if they were being worn but unobstructed in view by removing the wearers body. Elliott had experimented with a process called wet molding which using water-soaked leather which he heated quickly and dried to lock in the wet form, and wanted to use this technique as a way to give better perspective to his work, even though it meant sacrificing any piece that underwent this process due to its permanence. Elliott personally wore each piece and heated them on his own body, sometimes resulting in steam burns from the water being heated so close to him. The results speak for themselves.
The display of each garment, from the wet molded pieces, to the garments he wore on the trip, to the pristine collection of new leather and denim suits, was conducted in a way that also emphasized previous motifs expressed within Elliott’s work: the raw edges of the fragments were left untrimmed to emphasize the material’s origin as an animal’s hide, and the hanging process and punctured attachment points and hooks used on select pieces drew parallels to material of own bodies and the skins we wear.
Project Scope & Build: Conceptualization & space transformation. Includes: Partition wall, custom leather door (Elliott Evan), soffit boxes, paint, track lighting, cable suspension and hooks.
Timeline: 4 days, event took place in January 2018
Photography: Matt Jones