American-Haitian born, Cologne-based designer Michelle Elie is often recognised for her extroverted and directional love of fashion, yet her talents extend from her label Prim (established in 2010), to styling for various fashion magazines. to founding the independent TROUBLE Fanzine in 2018 with Troi Ollivierre, and Art Director Mike Meiré. From April 2020 though January 2021, her private collection of Comme des Garçons was exhibited at the Museum of Applied Arts MAK FRANKFURT as an exhibition, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, MICHELLE ELIE Wears Comme des Garçons” as an exhibition, with the catalogue available in November, 2021.
In what ways are you seeing fashion adapt to — or be transformed by —the ongoing global and industry challenges?
It is good to see that there is now concrete commitment to sustainability, responsibility and accountability concerning our environment, as well as inclusion regarding the many cultural issues around fashion such as gender, race and differences.
What is one trend or article of clothing that will define the coming year?
Before the pandemic, we were already aware of downsides to mass consumption. Now, entering the post-pandemic era, we know we need to consume differently. Therefore I hope a big trend will be “Moral Consumption”. Aside from this meta issue, [I feel that] before there are trends, there is a vision: a true vision that consists of ideas, dreams, telling stories from imagination to a final output. Fashion is such a personal experience. Ultimately, you are dressing for your own self. Personally, and ideally, I prefer craftsmanship: [things] made with passion and quality that last. I feel we need to embrace poetry and playfulness again. We should use fashion to send a message of personal belief in creation and creativity.
What is something you’d love to see in the future — even if it’s the stuff of fantasy?
Fashion should become a fantasy again! Nowadays, our fantasies nowadays are being strongly influenced by the digital world. In this way, creating your own Avatar could be amazing, or traveling into your own digital landscape with incredible virtual fashion. We need to embrace these two worlds; the traditional and the digital. It is so important to move in this direction. By being logged on throughout the pandemic, we understood its an enabler for all of us — not just tech geeks! Technology is a force we still may not fully comprehend, but for many reasons, it is important to take advantage of this moment by learning and including it towards our future.