Gary Symor, an up and coming fashion designer from Amsterdam, has a unique and introspective point of view. Since the tender age of eight, Gary has dreamed of becoming a designer, and putting his own stamp on fashion ubiquitously. Growing up, he experimented with hand-sewing garments for family, beginning with a dress for his niece on her first birthday. Gary initially studied Civil Engineering due to lack of options. He created his first wedding dress at 17 years old, and in result, received a grant to study fashion at the Utrecht School of Fine Arts in the Netherlands.
Gary’s newest collection is called Floating Attraction. When asked about his inspiration, he stated, “From experience, I know that we place as much as possible outside of ourselves. For instance: if we “survive” a horrible period in life, we give all of the gratitude to not existing, or invisible, “powers”, while the will and the need for a human being to live is bigger than we imagine. In this collection, I tried to create these Human Angels –I tried to create a human being as a strong and complete force of nature.” While Gary describes his own style as “defined and technical, basic and simple – the typical designers uniform”, he views himself as more of a craftsman than a designer. Gary’s newest collection includes pieces for women, although he states that he’s very attracted to androgynous people; “To me they are a real example of humanity. Their look resembles an effortless, judgment-free being, that can’t be put in a box.”
When asked what fashion means to him, Gary responded, “To me fashion means the right to be and express you through garments. If our fingerprints are not the same, why would we dress alike? Fashion is also everyday life. The way we move, think, live, and even multiply (or not) is fashion. Everything around us is designed. And garments are the most visible designed items that we have.” That includes a crisp white shirt, that Gary stated every man and woman should own.
Living in a city that is home to many fashion designers, and the largest denim brands, is bound to have influence on how people dress. Gary said, “Amsterdam is a very electric city, with a ditto fashion sense.” Amsterdam is also home to many local textile shops, where Gary purchases made-to-measure fabric. When in search of more commercial fabrics during his freelance contracts, Gary has the production company source the material. Everything begins with sketching the design, however. While Gary occasionally designs in Adobe Illustrator because of the “cleanness of working on a tablet”, he also stated that, “I love the freedom of hand sketching.” Regardless of the utility used, constructing a piece can take anywhere from a few hours, to a few days, depending on the style. However, his main focus is the pattern construction and dart manipulation.
When it comes to fashion shows, Gary is dependent on the team he has put together to execute his vision in the best possible way, including the models. “I love an edgy model with a great personality, but don’t we all? It’s more a personality thing than a look thing. I also prefer a chameleon, someone who isn’t scared to look for the edge between beautiful and ugly.” Gary said. This particular view is reflected in Gary’s preference of designers as well. “My most favorite designer is still Alexander McQueen; I always enjoyed the way he expressed himself creatively. I also like Wooyoungmi and Tom Browne.” When talking about aspiring fashion designers, Gary offers some words of wisdom: “Be more multidisciplinary. Don’t fear the experiment, and balance the amount of “b***h” you serve. The 90’s are not here anymore. The world became a much smaller place, and resumes are evolved mouth-to-mouth telegrams. Use social media to promote yourself. Stay up to date, and develop yourself in a useful and balanced way. You don’t have to master everything. Focus on what you’re good at, not on what people expect you to be good at.”
At the moment, Gary is working on a Geometric Series collection that he hopes to translate into the big break he’s been working on for some time. Like most designers, his ultimate goal is to have the freedom to make the pieces and collections he desires to make, and that it’s appreciated by his growing following. Gary has found a way to combine creativity and theory, and stated, “I have always considered myself a creative person, but over the years I have realized that I am more of a researcher. Looking for unexplored yet common ground in fashion and design.”
Herman Chow was the photographer for Gary’s newest collection, Floating Attraction. When asked about their experience working together, Gary stated, “I’ve enjoyed working with Herman. He had a clear idea about the concept for the shoot, which we executed together. The result was a very productive and positive collaboration.”
Floating Attraction Credits:
Model: Natascha Fischer
Designer/Stylist: Gary Symor
Makeup/hair: Charatsri Chankracharng (http://www.charatsri.com)
Assistant stylist: Roy Kramer
Photographer: Herman Chow (http://www.hermanchow.photoshelter.com)
Accessories: Ryan Lenardo