**Student Spotlight** Alex Hackett talks to 4th Year John Gosper + footage from the FOUR performance

For those of you interested in something a little bit more conceptual – John Gosper is one fourth year you should keep one beady eye fixated on! He takes his practice one step further into the performance arena with Joanna Henning, Rose Megirian and Anna McLaren during their recent show “FOUR- movement and (un)dressing” – a collaboration between designers, garments and graduate dancers that happened on Friday night – He talks to 1st year Alex Hackett about his experience so far..


Often people are benighted to the goings on behind the locked doors on level ten, the design process, the sewing of the garments that we see on the catwalks, the early morning starts, and late night finishes, and basically everything that goes towards creating a collection. The RMIT Fashion blog has decided to give everyone the opportunity to have a sneak peak into the minds and works of many of the talented students that are currently studying in the course, from the first year rookies to the graduating students of this year. John Gosper, is fresh off the catwalk of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and the stage of FOUR- movement and (un)dressing. We talk to John about his inspirations, experiences and unpick his thought processes behind his collection.


First of all, let’s begin with your 2011 MSFW collection. Overall, how was the experience for you, as an upcoming designer?

MSFW was a rewarding experience in every way. You are faced with resolving how you’d like to be perceived as a designer, what quality you are prepared to attain, and also just how hard you are prepared to work. Upon achieving these personal goals, you then give your work to others for scrutiny and critique. It is this scrutiny that really is valuable.


Your pieces appear significantly conceptual, what is the thematic background to your collection and how have these ideas developed over your time at RMIT?

My project, entitled “Fashion & the Posthuman”, explores what fashion might mean in a posthuman age. The posthuman is simply the mascot for the application of biotechnology, which proposes to evolve human capabilities beyond their present reach. Creating a narrative built on posthuman theory, I developed a series of scenarios, which explored various ideas of fashion in this next stage of evolution.


You were also one of four students who’s final year project was presented as part of FOUR, an event that amalgamated contemporary dance with fashion. Can you explain how this presentation of your garments reflected these posthuman scenarios that you explored in your collection.

One of the scenarios was genetic engineering gone wrong. Manipulating our genetic make-up could lead to a mutational defection. Hybrids, chimeras, and crossbreeds, a fusion of diverging characteristics leads to life’s seemingly constants becoming unmistakably transient. To convey this I wanted to utilise the narration of movement, and in the performance one of the characters transforms from a lumpy imperfect human form into a mutant of enhanced muscle, acquiescent flesh and a torso of teeth, by shedding the skin.


Having a collection that is clearly quite sculptural and textural, do you have strong opinions on the art vs. fashion argument?

Both terms are temporal, malleable, quite ambiguous and always subjective. For me art infers an open-ended discussion of [new] ideas, and fashion, or more specifically dress, is an avenue of expression for this.

Dress by John Gosper


Looking back on your earlier pieces, what did you create and how have you developed since then?

I came into the course in second year after completing a diploma at TAFE in Brisbane. So to compare TAFE outcomes with present outcomes would actually be like comparing finger-painting and Shodo. The TAFE collection was based on the Baroque era and explored the rich fabrications of the time, such as velvets, silks, hand-made lacework, and leather.  My interest in materiality has developed into a fetish; I very much enjoy taking inexpensive and accessible materials and applying unique techniques for an innovative and transformative result.


Fourth year is clearly an intense concluding year to your former three developmental years as part of the degree, how did you deal with the pressure and the workload?

I purchased an industrial machine and worked from home mostly. It can get pretty hectic on level 10 sometimes, so for me it was really beneficial to create a home sanctuary where I could create without distraction.


Some footage from FOUR movement and (un)dressing from Friday night for those who missed it..

Video by Rose Megirian


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