Abigail Daphne Lewis is a humanitarian futurist, a pragmatic dreamer, an aesthetic driven, imaginative designer, bona fide New Yorker and most recently a Parsons graduate. So naturally, we chatted her up.
What makes Abigail Daphne Lewis, Abigail Daphne Lewis?
It’s a working title—my full name as introduction and a nod to transparency. It’s a foundation to build on. At this moment, my work is subtle, sensual and utilitarian. I am interested in the mind and the life of the wearer. I would like to assist in empowering the individual by providing aesthetic, material solutions for daily life. This frees the mind for more important things.
Did Parsons get you to where you wanted to be?
Parsons was like getting GPS. I can see how to get where I’m going with the added advantage of knowing exactly where I am.
Your major was pretty specific, what made you choose it?
The Fashion Design and Society program is the only major of its kind in the US. I knew I wanted an MFA and, magically, it was everything I wanted it to be. The “society” extension was an unexpected bonus, and what I believe makes it uniquely relevant—awareness of context is now crucial.
What was your inspiration behind your MFA thesis collection “Em Dash”?
For me, inspiration is not singular—it’s tapping into a constant receptive mindset and extracting intuitively. I tend to research extensively, than abandon it to work from the subconscious. That initial groundwork is drawn on indirectly. It becomes interwoven, and materializes in slight, inexplicable ways. There were big concepts: Carl Jung’s principle “Enantiodromia”, symbolism, anarchitecture, light and perception, and brief moments: an impromptu film of Photoshop, a woman descending a staircase at the Guggenheim, the discovery of R.H. Quaytman’s “Spine on a Summer Day” at Dia Beacon.
Fashion could very well be endlessly fascinating to me—it’s such a complex thing. Like anything, the closer you get to it, the more you lose sight of it. My objective is to strike a balance between the most finite detail and most abstract construct—to play with different perspectives and see how they can inform each other.
What are you up to now?
I freelance at Calvin Klein Collection intermittently. Between seasons, I’ve been working on a new project called “White White Day”. It is a concept line of utility objects that I’m hoping to launch by the end of this year.
You say your designs are for, “Women who think” what does that really mean?
The mind superseding the physical. Women whose identities are not defined by their bodies or wardrobes.
What advice would you give to young designers, or yourself when you first started designing?
Your identity is everything. Stop looking around and look within.
Visit: Abigail Daphne Lewis
Photography: Paul Jung