When Parsons School of Design alumni Ximon Lee showcased his thesis project S/S 14 titled “Children of Leningradsky”, It was no doubt a rather foreign topic to me. Was it a fantasy world created by Lee or a certain city in East Europe? I had to find out what it was and truly enough, a Polish documentary of the same title came up first on my google search. The Children of Leningradsky is a 2005 Polish short documentary film about a community of homeless children living in the Leningradsky railway station in Moscow.
Lee draws inspiration from the underprivileged kids of the mentioned Russian city where they tend to layer themselves in any clothing they can find to stay warm. The result is one-of-a-kind assortment of artfully layered pieces made of various synthetic and organic materials, some of which are worn as oversized “sandwich board” signs covering the wearer down below the knee. Lee explained that the fabrics he used were very cheap. From denims bought from a local Indian fabric store to black trash bags, he gave them the necessary finesse through fabrication. Denims were given different thickness and assemblage through glue and sponge, he also bleached them in a non-traditonal method by painting them with brush, giving them a perfect gradient. Trash bags were fused, steamed at different temperatures as well.
What I admire about this collection is the experimentation with fabric and of course the resourceful-ness of the designer, plus the garments created are looking so great at so many angles. Perhaps, it was the personal experience of the designer with so many cultures and people that inspired this rather refreshing collection with a glimpse of the tragic inspiration. Lee constantly travelled and moved with his parents and has lived in the borders of China and Russia.
Image Source: ximonlee.com