Interview with CF7

CreativeFactory7 is made up of designers Charlene Muscat and Angelique Attard. They tell us about their inspirations, the creative process, their latest collection and future projects, while singing their praises for their tailor Gaetano Deguara.

When did you first start to get interested in fashion design?

Painting on fabric started long before we started designing our own clothes. We used to paint on anything and everything – clothes, shoes, accessories – and we called it wearable art. Our soft spot for fashion has always been strong, however. We actually started designing our own clothes and fabric in 2011 when we presented our first collection Neon.

How did you actually get started? 

We started from a very simple and straightforward concept: bridging visual art and fashion. Sometimes we choose a subject for our garments like nature, other times the designs are purely aesthetic. We took part in small events to showcase our work and always received very positive feedback! Every year since 2009, we designed something new for fashion shows and other events until in 2011 we decided to take it a step further and present our first six piece collection for MFW. It was a great opportunity and we called it NEON 2011. All the outfits were designed and hand-painted by us and we also painted matching shoes to complement the look.

Your designs are more than just fashion designs since you are artists and your designs are based around prints that you yourselves design… tell us more about this process.

The process involves a lot of time and hard work. First thing we do is think about a concept. As mentioned before, this might be abstract, thematic or simply aesthetic. Very often we are inspired by people or things around us, and obviously even by fashion trends, being vintage or contemporary. After several meetings and a lot of research we draft the designs and choose the materials, style and pre-printing process. The most important aspect for every project we launch is to be different from the one before it. We always try to push ourselves a step further, to be able to create something new every time!

Earthworks 2012 was a photographic project of Maltese landscapes and seascapes inspired by our Maltese, typically Mediterranean, surroundings. On the other hand, in Chroma 2013 we took a completely different approach and mixed the primitive technique of collage and watercolour designs, which were then manipulated and finally printed on fabric. The materials we used were also different and more casual looking then Earthworks shiny, elegant fabric.

The designs are then transformed to patterns by our talented tailor Gaetano Deguara. Somehow, he always manages to put our ideas on pattern and eventually become the actual garments. Each outfit requires also a considerable amount of photo editing and adjusting of angles and measurements, before it is actually taken for printing. Finally the prints are ready and the collection starts coming to life. Every time we create a new collection we come across new challenges, however, it is indeed worth the satisfaction of the final product.

Tell us something about your latest collection… Which is the all-time-favourite piece that you have created? 

CHROMA 2013 is a cocktail of mosaic from recycled magazines, watercolour and ink brush strokes, 60’s geometric designs and overlapping of different layers of clothing. Some layers give you the illusion of being on top of each other, but in fact they are printed, and some layers literally overlap each other. Being big fans of vintage fashion, especially the 60’s and also very fond of colour, we decided to engage these two aspects together. We created a design which is repeated throughout the whole collection. The idea of using mosaic, actually came to play during a lesson which I was delivering to my students. It was fun to see their expression when I actually showed them the clothes we had created, basically, by using a similar technique they were using to create their pictures.

Charlene’s favourite piece is a vintage style brooch featuring her mother as a small child. Whereas, I am very fond of an emerald green dress I had hand-painted for presenter Claire Agius for the TV Awards 2010.

Where do you draw inspiration from and are there are any other designers that inspire you?

As I explained before, anything can be a source of inspiration. NEON 2011 was all about shape and colour. EARTHWORKS 2012 recalls our Maltese landscapes and seascapes, and CHROMA 2013 mingles colourful brushstrokes, mosaic and 60’s bold graphics. We are keen on simple cuts and bold designs, visual art, fashion, people and places. We are very much in love with top designers Karl Lagerfield for Chanel, Zuhair Murad, Mary Katrantzou, Vivienne Westwood and Donatella Versace.

Any exciting plans for the end of 2013?

We are currently working on marketing our collection and brand as CF7. We will also do some re-branding, and work on unique custom-made outfits, bags and accessories for any kind of occasion.

Eventually, the process starts again – brainstorming, designing, painting, and so on, all for a fresh new collection by CF7!

Photos: Kurt Paris      Makeup: Krista Paris     Hair: Chris Galea     Styling: Caroline Paris