The thesis project of Ji Won Choi, a Parsons x Kering finalist, was inspired by the average closet. She observed that there was an abundance of “unnecessary” clothing in both her own closet and that of her friend’s. She realized clothes that cannot be worn in more ways than one are the least worn, often forgotten, and thus unnecessary.

Excessivism ⎮ Photograph courtesy of Ji Won Choi

Excessivism, Choi’s fashion design thesis, is a visual statement that reminds viewers not to be controlled by consumerism. It is also a commentary on the excessive consumption of the fashion retail industry, as well as the extensive waste produced by runway productions.

Excessivism ⎮ Photograph courtesy of Vogue

Choi realized that the fashion industry is “profit-driven” (Choi, 2017). Unimpressed by this, she decided that instead of becoming part of the sustainability problem, she would actively create change though her designs. Excessivism is Choi’s response to this problem. The garments are radical designs in regards to it’s multi-function and aesthetics. By making garments that are multifunctional and flexible, she created a collection of clothes that would be worn to their fullest potential. Furthermore, they make the statement that the want of material things is something we as consumers have active control over.

Excessivism ⎮ Photograph courtesy of Vogue

The multifunctional garments with bold lines and bright colors show how someone can still be expressive with fashion without creating excessive waste. The design element that bring about this perfect amalgamation of expression and function is the bold stripes featured in every garment of the collection. According to Choi, every stripe is a symbol for each piece of clothing in an average closet. The array of stripes can also be easily manoeuvred to create new silhouettes and cutting, and as a result, more ways of expression.

Excessivism ⎮ Photograph courtesy of Vogue

Ranging from a structured, post-minimalistic silhouette to a loose fitted drape gown, the collection demonstrates how the garments have boundless potential. Furthermore, each new silhouette is another opportunity for diminishing the want for new clothes.

Excessivism ⎮ Photograph courtesy of Vogue

Choi also explained that she believes one of the biggest issues of the fashion industry is the fast paced production. She commented that “new products are coming out constantly, and consumers don’t get to really savor each collection” (Choi, 2017). As a fashion designer, she also wishes that she could “[have] more time to extensively research, explore, design, redesign, and be allowed to create the strongest work possible” (Choi, 2017).

Excessivism ⎮ Photograph courtesy of Vogue

Choi’s ideology regarding sustainability is rather simple and elegant. We buy clothes because it is an expression of our style. If a garment can express more than one style and one silhouette, then there would be less of a need to consume new products. Excessivism is simultaneously a powerful statement on the production of waste from the fashion industry, and a productive solution to the challenge of creating sustainable clothing through innovative design.

Vogue. (2017). This Parsons x Kering Empowering Imagination Finalist Is Tackling the Excesses of Overconsumption Head On. [online] Available at: http://www.vogue.com/article/parsons-kering-overconsumption-ji-won-choi [Accessed 16 Jun. 2017].