Mithridate’s Autumn Winter 2021 collection, ‘Automatiste’, is a profoundly personal response from founder and creative director Demon Zhang to her experience of the restrictive conditions of 2020.
Throughout the months of isolation and uncertainty in Guangzhou, Zhang plumbed her subconscious for inspiration, embarking on a journey to discover her inner-self at a time when travel and external exploration were out of the question.
Automatiste, named after the Surrealist method of suppressing conscious control over the art-making process to give the unconscious mind greater influence in creating, is a deeply personal representation of Zhang’s experience of the restrictive conditions of 2020.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to reshape the way we live, work, create and connect, the traditional fashion show format has had to evolve and hybridise in order to engage press, buyers and consumers alike. For autumn/winter 2021, Guangzhou-based Central Saint Martins graduate Zhang has embraced the possibilities presented by this new fashion landscape.
In a process akin to the Automatism method, used by the Surrealists to suppress conscious control over creativity and allow the unconscious mind greater influence, Zhang looked to her inner world, exploring the maelstrom of her inner thoughts. What she witnessed was a transmutative psychological journey, from the vulnerability of confronting fraught memories to the ensuing impulse to cocoon herself and form a protective shell to allow for a personal metamorphosis to authenticity.
Zhang’s creative vision for Mithridate is similarly therapeutic: to provide a sartorial prophylactic to those who continually explore and express their identities through their clothes. Zhang is constantly inspired by multi-sensory art-forms, born of countless hours of research as a fashion student.