by Ezra Natalia
A normal work day for Nahum Villasana, the man behind Architectural Clothes, lately includes waking up before six in the morning to make it to his day job teaching English at an elementary school in Mexicali, Mexico. After the school day ends at three, he goes back to his house to start working on clothing designs. He often knocks off at around six or eight in the evening, but sometimes, if he has a project, he'll be up until two or three in the morning. And the weekends? You'll find him on Saturday mornings teaching the History of Universal Costume at the design school where he studies.
The latest collection to result from Nahum's rigorous schedule is called "The Armored Body." The thinking behind it, he says, was a "review in the way the body can change. It's looking for an escape in something that is designed for the self, an emphasis on the structure of the body. The body offers us an opportunity to imagine new forms in clothing structure, to protect the human with a variation of garments, as garments need a body to become a pair.â
When I asked how he came up with these breakthrough ideas and put them into action, Nahum revealed how he rarely does sketches. Instead, he chooses to visualize the shapes and cuts, and materialize them immediately over the final fabrics. If he likes the final result, whether or not it ended up as he had it in his mind, he'll stay with it. Sometimes the mock-ups lead to more ideas, or sometimes he'll just separate the pieces again and use them in other projects.
Nahum has wanted to design clothes from a young age, and would also like to try his hand at sculpture or architecture—sculpture to develop his sense of aesthetic and architecture to learn about the space in which you can work. "But I will continue doing clothes," he says. "It's something I enjoy." When asked about local designers he admires, he says "I don't know so much about designers in my town because it is not so big, but thereâs a friend of mine named Beatriz Torres who I admire so much. The aesthetics that she has been developing are very rigorous and unique, not to mention how avant-garde they are. She also knows so much about the history of costume, which is a subject that I teach at the design school.â