Vwanganji Mulwanda founder of fashion brand Alantic-Glo gives an insight into his creative process
22-year-old fashion designer Vwanganji Mulwanda is a man on a mission, he is the driving force behind conceptual fashion brand Alantic Glo. Vwanganji Mulwanda aims to bridge the gap between streetwear and high-end fashion. Alantic Glo is more than just a fashion brand its a way of life born out of Vwanganji’s creative vision. We sat down with Vwanganji to get an insight into his creative process and find out what inspires him.
How did you get started in fashion ?
I've always had a eye for fashion despite having no previous background in it. Throughout my education I was heavily involved in all aspects creative, leading me to study film & television production. I really wanted to become a film director and decided to study it further at university but never ended up going through with it and instead started working in finance. I worked in for 3 years before deciding to quit my job and start a business which at the time I didn't know what that would be, I just had this strange philosophy where instead of buying clothes, I wanted to try make them myself or at least sketch them up. It's then that I knew I wanted to start my own brand.
What is your creative process ?
It starts off with visualisation of an idea or concept, then you start to deconstruct segments of that image and design wearable clothes based off that initial idea. After a while you get used to being able to look at an object and see the segments that make up a garment piece. Every designer has there own creative process when it comes to designing but mine is definitely more visual. I look at things and create based off that idea but sometimes I would go to sleep.
What inspired you to start your clothing brand Alantic Glo ?
So when I left my job and moved back down to east London, I brought the idea to my close friend and decided to partner up to start the brand. He had the marketing knowledge due to his university background and I had all the creative skill sets from graphic design,photography,filmography & web design which was all self taught or part of my educational background. These are all tools we used building the brand up which at the time was very streetwear despite having high-fashion expectations but no tools to get there. My friend & business partner at the time decided to leave the brand a year later and go back to his studies which put me in a make or break situation because I knew I needed to build a team to help enforce my new brand vision. I re-branded and built my whole team up with creatives that had similar attributes and goals as me, which allowed me to effectively get things done despite the lack of resources available to me.
What is your main source of inspiration ?
Nature. There's so much creative potential when taking inspiration from nature. Just as my creative process I see objects and then deconstruct wearable garments off of just looking at floral or wildlife. It's easier when intrinsic shapes and forms are part of the objects physical form as there's more to see let alone create as inspiration can come in many different forms.
What does fashion mean to you ?
Fashion for me is an expression, we dress to express how we really feel or what to be perceived. When you wear clothes you become a character in some sense and act as such based off that character. We are a product of our environment so we tend to wear clothes as a form of escapism to create our own unique reality or perception of ourselves.
The concept of paradise is a central theme in Alantic Glo's design philosophy. Why is the concept of paradise so important to you ?
To understand that you would need to understand what Alantic Glo means. 'Alantic' being a reference to paradise & serenity, while 'Glo' emphasises empowerment. So when you put these 2 together, you get the single meaning of 'paradise' but not the literally meaning but all the conventions that make up the term paradise,whether it be people, place or situation, you create your own unique version of paradise. So when it comes to my design philosophy I always design based off elements that make up forms of paradise instead of the literally standardised meaning. That's why it's so important to me because it's part of our brand identity.
Streetwear has become a prominent part of today's fashion culture, why do you think that is ?
I feel it's mainly due to the change in the term 'streetwear' as a whole because brands like Supreme and Palace were heavily streetwear orientated brands that focused on skaters and youth culture which over time, built up the globalised term it is today. streetwear then became hype beast, and hype beast became high fashion with the increase in mix hybrid collections from designers such as Virgil Abloh, heron Preston, Samuel Ross etc who took elements of streetwear and incorporated it into they're design processes and visual language, something I done for our SS19 'paradise' collection.
Does your cultural background influence your design process ?
Not so much no, but I might pursue my African lineage to influence Collections in the future at some point. It's very tricky because when you talk about influence, there's so many elements that can make up the premise of my design process.
Are there any fashion designers that you look up to ?
Yeah for sure, Virgil Abloh, Samuel Ross and Alexander Mcqueen I look up to a lot mainly based upon how unique there design philosophy and visual identity is. There paving the way for younger designers like myself to be more openly accepted by the general masses. Other designers I look up to, Jerry Lorenzo, Matthew Williams, Riccardo Tisci and Kim Jones just to name a few.
What are your wardrobe essentials ?
I'm in a fortunate position where I can wear my brands clothes so I try to keep it limited to that or I mix and match at times. My wardrobe essentials consists of jeans, track pants for more everyday wear, sweatpants, T-shirts and jackets is all I every really need to. Jackets and trainers for me are probably the most important essentials in my wardrobe as I feel there statement pieces and tend to be the main focal point when people look at you.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start a fashion brand ?
Understand firstly that running a fashion brand is not easy as it may look on social media, the amount of back end work that needs to be done behind closed is far greater than what the public may perceive. But once you realise that, and add okay with it I recommend everyone and anyone to start a clothing brand especially if you have a brand identity that's so unique. There's a strange beauty in failure that shouldn't be overlooked, have trust in your vision and design process and just do! but the most important thing is to continuously keep building your fashion knowledge, focusing on how to run your business, trend forecasting and anything that will give you knowledge or transferable skills that can be put towards your brand. Build a network of creatives that have particular skill sets that will help you achieve your short term brand goals.
Photographer: Isabelle Liddall
Stylist: Ella d’Aguilar
Art Director: Kwame
Words by Kwame