Awake in Sleep? is the graduate collection by BA Womenswear designer Seli Arku-Korsi. The budding artist and designer showcases how art can transcend multiple meanings, and form beautifully whimsical garments from fragmented reality. 

Exploring the beauty that can come from pain, Korsi takes his soulful ‘paintings which focus primarily on beauty and esoteric symbolism’ to confront his ‘experience with the hedonistic helplessness of drug abuse and how it kills both mind and soul.’ 

Seli’s artistic style developed from a youth spent revelling in Baroque sculptural art and works from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. This launched him into an abyss of emotionally led creativity, allowing for a collection of ‘soulful’ work intended to transport adorners into a dream state. From canvases engulfed in oil paintings, a result of his experience with grief, to bulbous-shaped jackets sculpted from foam, and floor-length dresses enveloped in beautiful silks and meshes of his own paintings that mimic a 3D, mirage effect. The outcome has produced an abundance of fruits. It’s a process that occurred accidentally but has become quintessential to his design process. ‘I felt like that was what I was waiting for because in my head I was like, ‘How am I going to make my paintings a part of my fashion?’ and I feel like I just found the answer,’ he said.

Fast forward to now, the 2021 LVMH Grand Prix Scholarship Recipient now takes on a new title: the 2021 L’Oreal Professionnel Award winner.

Aswan Magumbe