Santa Kupča creates duvet-style dresses for video calling during lockdown
Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Santa Kupča's Stuck-at-Home Masquerade collection includes three pillowy garments that are designed to be worn during remote video calls in coronavirus isolation.
The collection contains three items of clothing that each represents a different "mundane" aspect of having to stay indoors during lockdown.
These "chapters", as the graduate refers to them, are called Hesitant to RSVP, Dolce Far Niente and Public Library. Each A-line garment boasts a tufted design that closely resembles a duvet.
"Covid-19 and the lockdown impacted my graduation project dearly," said Kupča. "Talking on screens and in Zoom conversations became an everyday thing, which often made me confused – I felt like I was in an in-between place, not entirely at home, not entirely there in the conversation."
"I was distracted by wanting to see how I looked on the screen while talking to other people and if my background and the lights around me looked good enough," she added.
"I suddenly felt like I was trying to stage everything around me, which was the starting point of Stuck-at-Home Masquerade."
As the graduate explains, the three pieces are designed to keep their wearer cosy during remote video calls. Each one aims to "romanticise the intimate state of what home symbolises" for her.
"During isolation, every day can seem mundane, but what if we could turn it more celebratory? Instead of feeling trapped at home, you could celebrate by being the queen/king of your castle," said the Latvian designer.
"The garments dwell in an exhibitionist masquerade where the wearer is the decor piece behind the screen," she added. "I think Stuck-at-Home Masquerade is more of fashion poetry, a fashion diary than an actual fashion collection."
Each piece was made using materials that the designer found around her home during lockdown, including the stuffing of an old duvet and leftover polyester fabric.
The Hesitant to RSVP garment and matching hat is printed with the pattern of a used calendar where each of the passing days has been crossed out with a green highlighter.
As the designer explains, this piece was about "dressing up while impatiently counting the days for the lockdown to be over."
"When isolated for months between the same walls and objects, they become everyday remedies," she said. "You become one with the environment. The clutter that surrounds me becomes a part of who I am."
"Hesitant to RSVP relates to postponed meetings, chaotic calendars and confused marker crosses," she continued. "The deadlines that were written on the wall as a reminder were changed to later ones. The idea of planning anything at all doesn't feel current anymore."
Meanwhile, the Dolce Far Niente piece is a floor-length dress printed with a gradient design that softly changes in colour from pastel yellow to candy pink, with hints of orange created in the crossover.
"Home to me is dreamy, soft and cosy," she said. "The Dolce far Niente piece embraces the essence of doing nothing and enjoying it. Pleasant idleness."
"Though it's ironically difficult to be idle for too long, and I wanted to show that the fear of missing out creeps onto you," Kupča continued. "I designed a dress that illuminates a feeling of a princess who's prepared to go out and socialise."
"The colours of the garment connect to the rosy cheeks of awkwardness that arises from not knowing how to act around people anymore."
The third Public Library garment is emblazoned with images of shelves lined with books, informed by the "literary" backgrounds people often choose for their work-related video meetings on apps like Zoom.
Kupča is not the only designer to channel coronavirus-related feelings into fashion garments. Dutch fashion house Viktor & Rolf created three mini-wardrobes for its Autumn/Winter 2020 collection that were each designed to represent a different state of mind related to the pandemic.
The first represents a sombre mood, while the second illustrates conflicted emotions and the third symbolises love. Examples include a silky nightgown emblazoned with emojis and coats covered in spikes and tubes.