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Miguel Peña Is Provoking Questions Through His Curious Designs


In your own words can you please explain your brand DNA?

Child-like creativity and curiosity meet professional experience. When you’re a child, you aren’t bound, creatively, by the limits the world will present to you as you get older. Being fully open-minded to where inspiration can come from and using my design training to integrate that into unique design solutions – is my goal. Keeping a level of playfulness and whimsy is important in the work I do as it acts as a reminder that this process should be an enjoyable one, and I want that reflected in my work. In my overall process, I use a blend of analog and digital tools to bring styles to life. Before my education in Industrial Design, my background is in illustration and character design. This has helped mold my way of thinking in that when designing characters, there is a fantastical aspect to designing because there are no limits, rules, or restrictions in the world of fiction. This is what kindled my fascination with the absurd and unconventional within the fashion and footwear context.

What do you seek to add to the world through your creations?

In my design work, I more frequently aim to tackle the “WTF is that” reaction, rather than the “that looks cool”. I want to convey my curiosity to the viewer by provoking questions through my design (i.e. “Is that even a shoe?” ‘How could you even put that on?” etc). I want to be vague enough with a design that it incites creativity in the viewer to interpret what is happening with what they’re looking at, but staying within the realm of functionality. For this reason, Instagram is a special platform for me to showcase my work because it can spark unfiltered creative conversations in the comments section through differing points of view.



What are your feelings about fashion’s role and responsibility in shaping culture?

I believe that fashion is a reflection of emotions and what we wear on a day to day is telling that emotional story externally. Our days begin by making conscious decisions on what to wear and how to represent ourselves for the day. People see what we are wearing before they get to know who are are, so it acts as the handshake moment in the eyes of the beholder. The role fashion plays in culture is giving the ability to people to be authentic in the message they send through garments. Fashion is also ever-adapting to the ongoings of culture and we are seeing it in how digital assets are becoming a new form of self-expression, and how that is being considered through the industry. It is also interesting seeing the fashion industry really start to make moves toward sustainability, and work that into the storytelling of pieces and collections.

What has been the most surprising part of your job that you didn’t expect when you first began?

As of late, I’ve found a lot of interest in methods of make. Form is a big driver in the fashion industry, but how something is made can be equally as critical as how something looks. As sustainability becomes a joint effort in the design industry, new, unique solutions in creating have begun to become the personality of the product, with form complimenting the sustainability stories, rather than leading them. I have also been very surprised about the near-infinite possibilities of creating new sensations for people through fashion and footwear design. When I begin ideating, a recurring thought is always “how will this feel?”.

Can you tell us how do you see fashion evolving in the future?

This is an interesting question because we are currently witnessing a digital renaissance and what we are already seeing with the growing metaverse fashion culture. There is larger accessibility for the creative power being in the hands of creators and not exclusively in the hands of established brands. This is especially true with the ease of entry to digital creation through VR mediums like Gravity Sketch. I believe another direction in which fashion is moving is a growing community of online trading and thrifting, which is giving a longer life to clothing in the hands of another wearer. I think nowadays there is a lot of value in an individual’s creativity in styling. There is more accessibility and inclusivity in this practice and presents an opportunity to upcycle garments into unique pieces and express creativity and individuality. In both regards, I believe we will see a lot more custom looks through what individuals are creating themselves.



INFORMATION

Images with courtesy of Miguel Peña

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