Netherlands Designer Gary Symor: Floating Attraction
Gary Symor was born on January 5, 1971 in Paramaribo, Suriname after his study mechanical engineering in 1999, he moved to the Netherlands. In 2000 the foundation Wan Ati offered him a scholarship to study Fashion and Design. He completed this study in 2004 at the College for Arts (HKU) in Utrecht with the collection ???. While he was studying he got the opportunity to design a small collection for L’Oreal for the launch of heir new hair collection. In 2003 he designed costumes for dancers who participated in a live show for Dutch artist Rener Froger in the Amsterdam Arena. Gary also got the opportunity to work as a Freelance concept designer for Marcel Wanders and the Agora Theater in Lelystad he designed the uniforms. This was a very crucial period for Gary because he got introduced with interesting people in the Fashion business who were interested in his designs. And with this Gary decided to launch his own Brand Gary Symor Design in 2006. From there the Brand has designed for several brands and Individuals like the exclusive clothing line for Jourmain, owned by foot ballplayer Jeremain lens, and clothing line Kathryn Milan. At this moment Gary is working on several other projects like Anna Lim a sustainable collection that will be launched in 2016.
Tell us about your newest collection. Where did you find your inspiration? How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
In my newest collection i have tried taking my love for geometry to a wearable level. I have always been fascinated by constructions in general and in this collection i have tried to take the idea of construction in general to a wearable level. I have tried to build the garments in a constructed but simple way to the viewer. A constructed but comfortable way to the wearer. And a constructed and challenging way to me 🙂
What does fashion mean to you?
Everybody who works in fashion has a very interesting “Love- Hate” relationship with it.
I think because of the literal “superficial” aspect of it. I think that is because we are looking at garments not at fashion. To me fashion is not just garments. And it is something that goes way beyond textiles, buttons etc. The reason why? It is a basic necessity to everybody. Because it can take you way past the garment you are wearing. No matter how hard we try. We just cant do without fashion. Nowhere and nobody. Just like we cant do without the hate in the love.
How would you define your personal style?
My personal style is simple. I try to keep it as comfortable and as close to who i am as possible.
How would you define your city’s fashion?
Amsterdam is a very multicultural city. The style here is very diverse. With influences from all over the world. This is a very interesting jewel for our bigg fashion brands like Gstar, G-Sus, We, Victor & Rolf, Iris van Herpen etc etc. Point is….The dutch are not that fashionable yet. But the dutch men are getting there. Very interesting, but also a big challenge as a fashion designer.
When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
At the age of 7 i realized that i liked textiles. By than i did not even know about a job like “fashion designer” existed. When i was 11 years old i saw the first fashion show and i realized that this would be my future job. I was studying civil engineering than. I finished the study 6 years later but i always drew garments and kept my passion for textile and developments in design in general. From cars to airplanes.
If you attended design school, where did you go?
I have attended the Utrecht school of fine arts. Where i studied fashion and product design. In 2004 i graduated as Bachelor of the Arts
What was the first article of clothing (or jewelry, accessories etc.) you ever designed?
I think that the very first garment i designed was a baby garment. I dont remember anymore that it was. When i was 18 years old i made my first designer wedding dress. I developed this dress with the help of my mother who had a lot of experience as a seamstress and teacher. It was fun but also hard at times because of her and my perfectionism.
Tell us about your design process. How long does it usually take you to construct a piece? Do you prefer sketching designs or actually constructing them?
Construction is my strongest talent. But in the past few years as a freelancer i have also developed a lot of other skills needed to develop a full line. From branding to marketing. But…Still my biggest love is designing. But always from a constructive and detailed point of view.
What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
In 2002 i designed and developed a few pieces for L’oreal. In 2004 i was hired by the famous product designer Marcel Wanders to design and develop the MOOOI Boutique sofas. But my biggest accomplishment until now is designing and developing the kids-wear brand Jourmain in 2014. I was hired to create a team to make this possible in 6 months. And we did!!!
Who are some of your favorite designers? Why?
Alexander Mc Queen. Because of the way he has looked at fashion and his crafted pieces. To me a tailor turned designer. Gareth Pugh. Actually for the same reason. And Victor& Rolf since they started their couture line. As a brand i like Givenchy and Valentino. Great brands and the only brand i would love to work for!
Where do you buy your fabrics and other sewing materials?
It depends. If im hired to work for a client i buy at fairs like Premiere Vision and Texworld. if i work for private clients i buy at local stores in Amsterdam. We have a very big variety of textile and trimming shops in amsterdam because of the large amount of fashion designers and design students living in and around amsterdam
What do you believe makes a quality article of clothing (jewelry, accessory etc.)?
I believe that a quality article is defined by first of all the person who wears it and if it matches him or her personality and body type. Details and material also have a huge impact on how something looks and especially….Feels!!!!
How do you prepare for a fashion shoot or show?
By creating a team that i can work with and understands what im trying to express trough that particular collection. Together with them i create the “world” surrounding the show or shoot.
What do you look for in a model? What type of person best represents your brand? How do you select them?
I select personalities not looks. So if it is a short fat girl. But she embodies the collection to the max…I will book her and i will let her open the show. But personally i like odd looking people. For instance Albinos or strange and freaky mixed races. I call the Fashion Hybrids.
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Be aware that you can not accomplish anything alone. Times are changing and because of social media the world became very small. Make sure that you make an honest product and stay close to yourself. It is hard work. But that goes for everything you really want! Focus on crafts. They are the new “black” and…Go to art school. You will be happy that you had those years of therapy
What are some of your fashion goals?
My answer is the biggest cliche ever. But if you start working in fashion your goals is to create a established brand that people will love and embrace until way after your gone. That is also my fashion goal. I would also love to establish and run a inventive way of fashion/ design education. But. Thats a very long and boaring story.
What matters to you most as a fashion designer? Do you consider yourself an artist? Why or why not?
First of all it is a job. I would not say just a job. But it is a job. Im very lucky that i found out quite young what i wanted my profession to be. I call my myself the”Lucky Few” because it takes a lot of people a lifetime or the never find out in which profession their passion lies.
I don’t know if Im an artist or not. I don’t think that thats my call. What i do know is that fashion has a strange and mystical effect on people. Mainly because when you work in fashion people look up to you in a very strange way. Designers are loved or hated by kings and queens. And history and the future will not change that. Being a stable and established designer is what matters the most now. And we are getting there.