"Deconstruction" is a word that I learned in fashion around 16 years ago. At the time, there was an uprising of designers from Belgium and Austria who were making waves that rippled onto the pages of my magazines that I cherished and read with reverence. If you Google the word and view the usage chart, it enters the lexicon of fashion and apexes directly at 2000. Since fashion cycles, the word has once again resurfaced.
I met Lesly Chery at the tail end of summer. Our discussions would touch on the process of creating and on the reasons why one creates which always intrigues me. We spoke about the materials that he was sourcing and about corporate brands like Adidas and Lululemon that he was deconstructing and redefining. His designs are a perfect example of slow design -a stance against mass production. Each hat is handmade from hand-sourced and recycled material. More importantly, each one is in every respect -human.
What attracts you to working with salvaged materials, working with your hands and design? I started sewing with salvaged materials while working with a high school classmate of mine who was a fashion designer, so I have always been comfortable with that medium.
When did you decide to start the line and what was the catalyst for creating the hats? I started in Chicago in 2009. I was searching for hats that would suit my dreadlocks hair style – there were only crocheted or knitted versions.
What drives you to create? The changes in nature inspire me.
What are you searching for and can you find it through your work?
I'm searching for peace and tranquility within my mind – yes, it is a sanctuary I create in my mind when I am designing and making my hats.
Is there an artist or designer, another who's work you admire?
There are so many but Tokyo Kumagi was an inspiration and Vittorio Ricci, Giorgio Armani of course and Jean Paul Gaultier.
What do you think your line reflects or reveals about you? That I'm open-minded and a free-thinker who can weave different mediums together and make them work – others see scraps or discarded material where as I see them as pieces that can be transformed into something usable.
What time of day do you work and why? Whenever I am alone, where I have no fear of being interrupted.