Hussein Chalayan, combining Technology & Fashion

14 Feb

Hussein Chalayan

Hussein Chalayan given name Hüseyin Çağlayan, (born 8 August 1970) is a British/Turkish Cypriot fashion designer. He has won the British Designer of the Year twice (in 1999 and 2000) and was awarded the MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2006.

Short Biography

Hussein Chalayan was born in Nicosia, Turkey. By the time he graduated from school the population of the island was divided because of the constant struggles between the Greek and Turkish authorities. Ethnic conflicts between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities eventually led to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, which led to human right abuses towards the civilian from both sides. For this reason Chalayan and his family were forced to move to England in 1978. After Highgate School he studied for a National Diploma in fashion and clothing at Warwickshire School of Arts, and proceeded to study Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins in London. His graduate collection in 1993, titled “The Tangent Flows”, contained clothes which he had buried in a back yard and exhumed just before the show where they were presented with an accompanying text that explained the process. The ritual of burial and resurrection was said to give the garments a dimension that referenced to life, death, and urban decay. The work attracted the attention of the Browns fashion boutique in London, who borrowed the collection to feature in their window display

The Tangent Flows graduation collection

The Tangent Flows graduation collection 
The Tangent Flows graduation collection 
The Tangent Flows graduation collection
juli 93 Hussein Chalayan's graduate collection The Tangent Flows

In 1994, having completed an internship with Saville Row tailor Timothy Everest, the Chalayan established his own company, Cartesia Ltd., and his namesake ready-to-wear line, Chalayan, exhibiting his first collection in London’s West Soho Galleries that spring and debuting at London Fashion Week to resounding critical acclaim. 

In his collection Between for Spring/Summer 1998 he sent models onto the catwalk wearing black chadors of varying lengths and nothing else, alluding to fashion’s continual shift of erogenous zones around the female body arising in response to changing ideals. The first wore a chador, which covered most of her body and allowed a gap just for her eyes. Each veil became shorter and shorter until, finally, the last one was nude apart from a mask covering her face. According to Chalayan this piece was about defining cultural territory,’
BetweenBetweenThe Panoramic collection for Fall/Winter 1998 expressed the idea of infinity in a surreal cityscape of geometric forms and distorted images. The models were distorted into generic shapes and unified by architectural proportions; cones were fixed to the top of the head and faces and bodies swathed in black to obscure their identity. As Chalayan explored the idea of representing nature in this collection, he broke it down into its most basic graphic representation, pixels. Body and clothing were then merged into a digital landscape, which was recreated in enlarged cube-shaped pixels.


His Geotrophics collection for Spring/Summer 1999 had already featured Chair Dresses that represented the idea of a nomadic existence and a completely transportable environment. This concept was later expanded in Chalayan’s After Words collection for Fall/Winter 2000.which included some of his most well known designs such as ‘the coffee table dress’.  The Table Skirt and the entire set from the show were later featured in the 2001 Tate Modern’s Century City exhibition in London.

The Coffee table Dress

Chair Dresses


In 1998 Chalayan was appointed as creative director of TSE New York with his inaugural sportswear collection for the brand debuting in March. In 2001, despite this attention and recognition for his work Chalayan struggled with sponsorship and funding, often receiving it from various other companies, independent exhibitions at Colette in Paris and producing capsule collections for Topshop, Chalayan was forced to file for voluntary liquidation, having amassed debts of an estimated $1.5 million.

Subsequently, he restructured his company and staged comeback collection in 2001 without a catwalk presentation, and designed for high-street label Marks & Spencer’s to make ends meet. Italian clothing manufacturer Gibo also helped the designer as did British jeweller Asprey, who appointed him as their fashion director the same year.

ss 06

Hussein Chalayan

ss 99



Chalayan has been awarded the prestigious ‘Designer of the Year’ award at the British Fashion Awards in 1999 and 2000, as well as being recognised as a ‘Design Star’ at the 2007 Fashion Group International awards. Along with being listed as one of the ‘25 most powerful figures in the industry’ by the British Fashion Council, Chalayan was also credited by Time magazine as one of its ‘100 Most Influential Innovators of the 21st Century’.





Hussein Chalayan

Hussein Chalayan

Hussein Chalayan

Hussein Chalayan



book cover

Hussein Chalayan

The comprehensive book on the visionary Hussein Chalayan, one of the most innovative, experimental, and conceptual fashion designers working today. Internationally acclaimed, Hussein Chalayan is known for his inventive use of materials and integration of new technology into his designs. He is also celebrated for putting the creative process itself on view. Some of his best-known designs include a paper dress that can be folded into an envelope and airmailed, armchair covers that transform into dresses, and a coffee table that reveals itself to be a wooden skirt. Original and groundbreaking, his designs are also pretty and modern, and this book explores that continuum. Featuring Chalayan’s complete body of fashion and creative work—including his installations, videos, and photographs—this unique and beautiful volume is as thought-provoking as it is stunning and is sure to be coveted by fashion, art, and design connoisseurs.





One Response to “Hussein Chalayan, combining Technology & Fashion”


  1. Concept to Creation brief – Prativa.SC.Rai - 18 February 2020

    […] Image sourced from […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: