Positive Luxury speaks with Adam French, designer of Adan Ballou winner of the 2016 Abury Design Experience, now working on his exclusive collection with Abury, Butterfly Mark awarded luxury accessories brand. Adam gives an insight into his design inspirations and the choices he makes to live a positive life.
Photo credit: Suzana Holtgrave
What is the reason behind your use of leather and metal in design?
I like to be familiar with my materials, and so I do a lot of research into where they come from and how they were made. I often tan my own leather and cast my own metals because that provides me with a lot of creative flexibility and I can be sure they are made with a sustainable ethic in mind.
I do this with natural materials I collect from the environment, like rain water, wood bark, & bees wax. I think that investing this extra time and effort into making a beautiful leather item further celebrates the life of the animal it came from. I cast my metal from recycled bronze in sand because it is one more way I can make a beautiful & sustainable product. I can incorporate jewellers and bronze sculpture techniques into my work, further adding depth and texture.
I love the unique characteristics that leather has. Its strength & flexibility make it a great material for me as an artist & fashion designer. I appreciate the history it has, across many cultures and time periods. My use of brass & copper adds another level of creativity. Blending these crafts together and with others provides me mediums I can feel close to, are flexible, and represent the sorts of ideas I appreciate. The result is a leather item I am proud to make.
What attracted you to enter ADEX?
Besides the exposure as an artist & designer, and the things I would learn about the fashion industry, a shared philosophy was a big reason I applied. Abury promotes concepts like circular economy, knowledge sharing, and fair business practice, and I wanted to be a part of that.
Designers Adan worked with in Marrakesh
What have you drawn inspiration for your Abury collection?
I am a people watcher, and I like BIG ideas. It did not take long to see the visual influences, there are so many in Marrakesh, but it did take me a while to see a connection to the people living in it. I took a minimalist approach to the very complex patterns and designs that can be seen everywhere. I felt that was the best way to express the ideas I wanted to convey through my work in Morocco for the ADEx collection I was tasked with creating.
In your opinion, what is the role of fashion in ensuring a positive sustainable future?
I think fashion is a very emotional thing. People use it to express who they are and who they want to be. People often go to great lengths and do incredible things for something they feel or believe in. I think that fashion is unique in its ability to make concepts like social and environmental awareness something that everybody can connect with on a personal level.
Moroccan archways were an inspiration for the designs
What do you do on a daily basis to live a positive life?
I try to be aware of how my actions effect others; How I respond to difficult situations, what I choose to do with my time and talents, even every day interactions. Often these choices require patience and courage, but I find that even when I make mistakes, I am able to say to myself that I did the best I could. I try to support the ideas, values, & philosophies I like to see in the world by representing them, which makes me feel good about myself and keeps me positive.
What is your most prized possession?
I am grateful for my creativity & intellect, and I value highly the time & energy I have to use them, but I would not be able to do what I do without the love & support of the people who care about me. My life would be very different without them. These relationships are my most prized possession.
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