In this feature, we explore the world of Sean Serror, an Australian fashion designer whose work seeks to challenge conventional notions of dress and consumption. From his grandfather's influence in the industry to his own fascination with virtual worlds, Sean's upbringing has heavily influenced his creative process. His latest collection, Entropy Intimacy, investigates the intimacy found in objects that reflect degradation and disorder. Through the use of rust, decay, and distressed materials, Sean's signature aesthetic disrupts historical western costume while exposing memories of the past in a new context.
N: Hi Sean, it's a pleasure to speak with you. How are you? Could you share some insights into your upbringing and how you got into fashion?
S: Hi! It's a pleasure to meet online with you. I'm doing well, just buried in work. I'm in the midst of designing my next collection!
I was born here in Australia, but I spent 10 years of my early life living in California. I spent every second weekend with my grandparents who were living in Los Angeles at the time.
My grandfather Pierre spent his life working in fashion across Algeria, Paris, and Los Angeles. He had his own ready-to-wear label in Paris and then continued on to work for Guess, he even helped produce a line for PlayBoy. My close relationship with him is definitely relevant to my interest in fashion, the name I design under is actually in reference to his last name, Serror.
Though, his career ultimately showed me what I wanted to push against. I tend to focus on emotive and experience-based fashion as opposed to just creating attractive commodities. Fashion was just his vessel for creating a great business.
This exposure to the importance of fashion from a young age was further explored in more speculative places. I remember from a young age I was obsessed with clothes, constantly scrutinizing them, especially in virtual worlds. I used to sketch my favorite characters from video games and anime. I think my first foray into design was when I drew up hundreds of imagined pokemon characters with their own unique stories. These experiences as a kid told me that fashion is best as a form of escapism or world-building. Imagining alternate realities is a way to change your perception and make discoveries about what you want to change in your own reality.
N: Tell me a bit more about your latest collection Entropy Intimacy. What was the process behind it and what is the meaning of the title?
S: Entropy Intimacy interrogates how objects that are exposed to the arrow of time, that reflect degradation and disorder represent an intimate expression. How entropy tells a story about us and the things around us. As opposed to looking at dilapidation in a morbid context, I am more interested in how it reflects real occurrences and experiences through these patinas.
By emphasizing the inevitability of decay and disorder, we can encourage people to appreciate objects as temporary and ephemeral. This can lead to a shift in values away from the constant accumulation of new things, and towards a greater appreciation for transience and impermanence.
In this way, entropy can be seen as a counterpoint to the culture of mass consumption and waste that is so prevalent in contemporary society. Instead, we can focus on how objects tell intimate narratives about our world and its histories through the patinas that are developed on personal objects.
N: Your designs exhibit a fascinating juxtaposition of rust, decay, and distressed materials alongside crisp, dramatic luxury. Can you elaborate on your signature aesthetics?
S: Yes exactly, I'm consistently aiming to disrupt archetypes of dress within my practice and I primarily use entropy and the way it affects materials as a form of telling this story. I am interested in reflecting on certain moments in history and my practice centers around reconfiguring and subverting historical Western costume, especially from the 17th and 18th centuries. There are also references to more modern, 20th-century archetypes such as couture techniques, tailoring techniques, and workwear construction. I'm inspired by these techniques and I use them to create alternate silhouettes and forms, disrupting their connotations. This exposes memories of the past within a new context. For example, I oxidized steel corsetry boning and used it to construct a funnel-shaped collar for one of my dresses. The rust then seeped out, staining the fabric around the collar. As opposed to making the boning conform to the body it instead, pushes away from the body subverting the intended function of the technique.
N: When designing, do you have a specific type of person in mind? Describe your ideal customer for us.
S: My customer isn't a specific person of any kind, but more so an individual that looks to contemplate their relationship with themselves, the things they own, and what it says about them personally. Those who consume my products consume them because of how it defines their own values. Whatever meaning I ascribe to something I create will then be taken by the customer who then will find their own individual sense of purpose for it, which is the most important part. If something I create can help someone better define their own sense of self, that would be the most rewarding thing for me.
N: Thanks Sean, we have come to the end of our interview. What is next for you?
S: This year I am currently undertaking the fashion design honors program at RMIT university, it is my 4th year of study and I'll be looking to advance my practice, but also challenge my significance as a designer and how I articulate that through what I create. Making fashion really appeals to me for the way you get to collaborate with a wide variety of people, I'm looking forward to making discoveries with people here in Australia and internationally. I'm excited about the coming journeys and the people that I'll get to share that with. I'm also working on a platform to start selling my products in a more accessible way, my brand is formulating, a little world that I'm grateful to share with everyone.