Nordic Student Design Competition Apparel Winner 2023: Aida Matuseviciute

Apparel Winner: Aida Matuseviciute

Nordic Student Design Competition Apparel Winner 2023: Aida Matuseviciute

Being a womenswear designer with an experience in pattern making, prints and crafts, Aida prefers an artisan approach to fashion although maintains a good understanding and proficiency of digital tools. Tactile experience of making and environmentally conscious decisions are the aspects that Aida actively seeks in her creative practice. She is intrigued by various possibilities of utilising leftover materials and ways to prolong fabric’s life cycle. During the course of Aida’s MFA studies at Aalto University she broadened her expertise and deepened her knowledge in the field of fashion and textiles. Sustainable fashion, digital fashion, 3D printing, jacquard weaving and many more were subjects that she has explored. Aida concentrated on surface manipulation techniques and artisanal design by examining how limited material resources can open new unexpected creative solutions.



Tell us about the inspiration behind your project:

The purpose of this work is to examine how limited material resources contribute to unexpected creative solutions in upcycled garment’s surface design creation and construction. The research focus is on the artisanal design process and the designer’s relationship with such process and the material. The main inspiration for this project was Escher’s animal tessellations. During the research phase, I mainly focused on animal archetypes and tessellation principle as I started to see their potential of storytelling for material surface and construction. Tessellation is a good example of connectivity as objects share contour and it is challenging to determine where one starts and another ends. For me, this principle associates with the patchwork technique in which separate fabric pieces connects into cohesive material surface. Tessellation interested me of its dynamic and turning quality, which I am trying to embody in garment’s construction by utilising flowing, turning and silhouette hugging lines. Hints of animals serve this work as an element for tessellation, and- as an archetype for storytelling. In the search for construction I started with the analysis of Charles James’ early 1970’s arc sleeve structure, his kimono blouse patterns, and James’ Eiderdown jacket. I was also investigating early Pierre Cardin’s work produced in 1969, and 1988, where he put direct emphasis on circle elements. I decided to use a circle shape for the back part of the garment as it creates a relaxed silhouette. Whereas the front of the garment’s construction appears to be more figure hugging as it was an interpretation of Charles James’ elegant round shoulder line and arc sleeve structure.

How do you think winning this competition will impact your career as a designer?

First of all, I am grateful for having this opportunity to share the creative process and outcome of this project.  As I am deeply concerned about environmental impact of fashion, I will continue to embark my creative journey as a cautious designer by continuously investigating possibilities of recycling leather in my creative practice.


What do you think makes leather a great material to design with?

Leather is a great material for designing because of its timeless quality and its natural affinity to the body. As time passes leather garments eventually mold around a user’s body providing a perfect individual fit, thus leather garments have a potential to become a stable piece in someone’s wardrobe. Moreover, upcycled or repurposed leather can still produce outstanding quality outcomes, because leather is extremely durable. For this reason, leather can be upcycled several times.


What are your thoughts on leather and sustainability, and how you think leather can adapt to a fashion industry increasingly focused on sustainability?

I see the usage of leather as one of the possible solutions in the pursuit of reducing negative environmental impact of fashion production. Since leather garments are durable for a several lifetimes it can potentially reduce consumption by preventing a consumer from a new purchase.

Also as leather is extremely durable,  high quality garments can be made from upcycled leather. Unsurprisingly since leather is so versatile it can be upcycled in numerous ways: smaller pre-consumer leftovers can be patch worked into durable materials or bigger deadstock pieces can be used directly for new production, also post-consumer waste can be redesign for new customers. By upcycling leather this material would circulate between production and consumption without creating too much fashion waste.

At last, leather is a natural material, thus it is biodegradable and it does not pollute earth in the same way as some man made materials are. In fact leather, being a byproduct of the meat industry, is a sustainable product in and of itself.



Click here to view all the shortlisted entries from this year’s Nordic Competition.

Click here to learn more about leather and sustainability.