Tzvi Karp is one of my favourite young SA designers. I have been a huge fan of his work since his LISOF graduate collection aptly named “De-Fence” which saw models strutting down the ramp in incredible avant garde creations and donning eerie fencing masks.
For his SA Fashion week collection, Tzvi teamed up with Ramon ,another LISOF graduate. Tzvi describes their meeting as an instantaneous creative alliance, “We discovered the common ground that we shared due to our subversive and controversial natures, strong opinions, stronger personalities and an anarchistic approach to the contemporary direction of Fashion Design.” Their collaboration resulted in a an intriguing collection that has earned them the title of South Africa’s Viktor and Rolf.
I asked Tzvi Karp to give me a little more insite into the creative process.
What was the inspiration behind your Merge collection?
Merge was inspired by The Novel Less Than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis or more specifically by the opening line from the book which states “People are afraid to merge”.
The book initially describes the fears of drivers merging on highways in Los Angeles but slowly as the plot develops into the metaphysical sub text for relationships and social interactions. So in turn the collection used elements relating to all angles and aspects of merging, further explored it by relating split personalities, contortionism, conjoined twins and parasites. This resulted in the design execution of lines on the garments inspired by aerial map views of the lanes on highways merging into one, tailored jackets designed to be worn by two people simultaneously, the pairing of winter and summer pieces into a single seasonal collection and overall clothing that amalgamates with the body by molding their shapes and form and ultimately merging them into a single entity that is almost indistinguishable in a parasitic manner where the garment appears to be overpowering its host.
You have had quite a bit of solo success. Why did you choose to partner with another designer on this project?
Ramon and I share a unique vision of the world which in turn has lead us to numerous creative projects that we have taken on together. I elected to work with Ramon on the collection for Fashion Week not only because we shared the same drive and vision to change the Fashion world and the way in which it is perceived but more simply because we work well together creatively and we both are fascinated with literature.
What can we expect to see from you next?
Expect the unexpected. For me there were times when I felt that the collection Merge almost felt like the sequel to De-Fence in many ways. De-Fence was about the link to humanity being stripped away and finding an alternative form of solitude and defense within bounds and questioning elusive freedom where as Merge was more about instinctively craving that connection to others. I feel as though my next piece of work will not be a 3rd installment to a trilogy but rather a complete 180.