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Front Row with Iptishaam Majiet of Perception of Childhood

Front Row with Iptishaam Majiet of Perception of Childhood

I find it only fitting (excuse the pun) that my next FRM interviewee is an upcoming fashion creative whose work is such an apt representation of the national Heritage Day ethos which we are currently within. Iptishaam Majiet is a Cape Town-based fashion designer & founder of exciting emerging fashion brand, 'Perception of Childhood'.

"The name reflects the nature of my work–distorted memories brought to life as wearable art," mentions Iptishaam during our conversation. And at its core–I think this is why I have such a genuine revere for this brand: it is build on such fundamental humanistic principles first. How I believe most African brands should inherently be. And in further conversation with Iptishaam, I feel like I learnt so much more about the POC brand, as well as her overall design ethos when it pertains to fashion specifically.

I also learnt just how much of her work is literally infused with continuous social commentary. It's academically weighted and rooted within activism–and actively nuanced as the clothes are designer from her pov as a person of colour. Iptishaam challenges us all with this unique point of view–commenting on the hypocrisy of class systems using materials and silhouettes. For example, her final year collection, 'The Oblivion of Hypocrisy', was inspired by her father being a construction worker & exploring the exploitation of working people by the fashion industry.

"I also point out that the fashion industry often takes clothing that was originally designed for working people and makes it fashionable for the rich, driving up the price even further."

So enjoy this ensuing interview with Iptishaam as we delve into anything-and-everything Perception of Childhood, being inspired by recollected experiences, her preference for using end-of-roll & deadstock fabrics, what lies ahead in 2024 for POC, and more!

Image courtesy of Perception of Childhood

Would you mind introducing yourself and including a short description of what you do?

IM: My name is Iptishaam Majiet. I'm a fashion designer.

P.O.C... Perception of Childhood. I won't lie, the first time I saw your brand abbreviation, I thought "person of colour" was somehow attached to it. Was this intentional? Is there even a relation between the two? I'd love to hear more about the meaning behind your brand name.

IM: The abbreviation 'P.O.C.' in my brand name might initially evoke "person of color", and while that's true for my background being a colouredthe name has a deeper meaning.

P.O.C. stands for 'Perception of Childhood'. It stems from my third collectionwhere I used challenging memories from my youth as a source for my creative expression. These were experiences I wasn't necessarily proud of, or hadn't fully embraced. Through this collection, I embarked on a journey of self-acceptance, transforming these memories into something positive and beautiful: wearable art.

The name reflects the nature of my work–distorted memories brought to life as wearable art. These pieces are woven with the threads of my past, a past that feels both familiar and strange at times. Each garment is an invitation for the wearer to explore their own narrativetheir own perception of childhood. It's a conversation starter; a prompt for self-reflection.

Ultimately, P.O.C. is more than just a brandit's a journey of self-discovery and acceptance. Through my art, I confront and embrace the complexities of my past, transforming them into something I can wear with pride. Basically 'P.O.C.' emphasizes the core message of my work: transforming challenging memories into self-acceptance and wearable art.

What are you most inspired by when it comes to your design process?

IM: My design process is deeply inspired by my perception of childhood. These recollected experiences serve as a source of my creative exploration.

What mainly informs your decisions with regards to materials & silhouettes?

IM: The core concept of my collection heavily influences my choices for materials and silhouettes. Additionally, the color palette plays a significant role–as I believe each color carries a specific meaning that helps me weave the narrative of the collection. Even the textures of the fabrics become storytelling toolsadding depth & dimension to the message I want to convey.

Your 4th year collection "The Oblivion of Hypocrisy". Very impressive! Loved it. Is this the collection which showcased at Crates 2023? Could you just tell me a bit more about the experience of putting this collection together.

IM: That collection was for my 4th year–not for Crates. The collection was inspired by my daddy being a construction worker; it explores the exploitation of working people by the fashion industry.

The collection is inspired by the way workwear has become a trend in recent years. I argue that this trend has made it more difficult for working people to afford the clothing they need to do for their jobs. I also point out that the fashion industry often takes clothing that was originally designed for working people and makes it fashionable for the rich, driving up the price even further. To highlight this hypocrisy, I used a combination of high-quality and cost-effective materials in my designs. I incorporate elements of traditional workwear–such as certain silhouettes and fabrics into my designs. This creates a juxtaposition between the high-fashion and the working-class aesthetic.

As a fashion graduate–how do you feel the experience has shaped the trajectory of your overall craft today?

IM: I learnt a lot from history class. I now view fashion as a powerful artform. This perspective allows me to delve deeper into the work of others–seeking to understand the meaning and concept behind their designs, and appreciate how all the elements come together to create a cohesive artistic statement.

According to you–what does it mean to be an 'ethical designer' within today's fashion ecosystem?

IM: An ethical designer, in my view, is someone who thinks beyond the clothes themselves. They consider the impact of their designs on the people who make them, the environment, and the people who wear them. This means using sustainable materials, ensuring fair labour practices, and creating garments that are built to last. In my design process–I actively implement these principles. I prioritize using leftover fabrics from previous collections to minimize waste. Additionally, I source deadstock fabrics, unused materials from other businesses and end-of-roll fabrics to give them a second life. This reduces textile waste.

What are some of the things you are looking forward to in 2024?

IM: I'm looking forward to participating in my first markets, Jive Hive: Rituals in Redressing on the 29th of March & Buzzcut Market on the 4th of April. I eagerly anticipate the process of coming up with a new collection. It's a chance to delve into design exploration and express my creativity in new and exciting ways.


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