LONDON, United Kingdom — Denim is Faustine Steinmetz's lodestone. It is clear see that it will be a perennial source of fascination for the designer, like her idol Joseph Kosuth and his beloved chairs. Having began cutting up jeans as a teenager, Steinmetz has single-handedly elevated the item into art form, not without careful consideration of sustainable production and eco-friendly dyeing and washing. For her latest presentation, she fittingly created a gallery of dioramas to showcase them.
"Everyone in the world wears denim," read the manifesto. "This is a textile study of how people have worn their denim in different countries over the past 30 years".
As London's premier mistress of the fabric, it's not surprising that Steinmetz has been courted as a consultant by global denim brands. During her time working with one, she realised just how idiosyncratic different regions are in their taste for jeans. South America, for example, laps up crystal-embellished low-cut skinny jeans. Nordic countries keep it clean and unfussy. Israel has a thing for visually arresting washes and dyes.
So using a piece of denim from each country, she not only turned them into a sculpture, but created masterful variations of each one, framing them in white cubes and highlighting the nuances of cultural identity in a globalised world. The result was clever, considered and commendable for the fact that most of it was hand-crafted from recycled materials using environmentally friendly processes.
What's more, Steinmetz has established a clear aesthetic that is immediately identifiable in an increasingly saturated market. It must be comforting, and exhilarating, for her to know that she can always discover the world in a pair of jeans.