Inspired by the antics of several Batman villains, young designer Leren Conor has created a series of comic-inspired costumes for her final year university graduate collection, “A Twisted Love Affair For The Society Of Outcasts’.
“For our final project at Derby University we had to make a collection based on a concept of our choice,” Leren told downthetubes. “A Twisted Love Affair” is the result – a collection that explores the chaotic relationship between two of DC Comics most iconic characters, Harley Quinn and the infamous Joker, and their disillusioned, misanthropic relationship with the world at large, all the while highlighting plights and parallels of history’s outcasts both fictional and real.
Melding digital printing, laser cutting and traditional tailoring, one of her stunning Harley Quinn designs consists of a full circle waterfall skirt with over 700 laser cut joker playing cards inserted all over the shell.
“The Joker and Harley Quinn have been causing chaos over Gothem City for years, torturing and killing citizens to feed their volatile relationship, although they get a sadistic kick out of watching people suffer, they also get a kick out of torturing each other,” Leren notes. “The Collection portrays them as individuals as well as referencing them as individuals through the use of fabric, laser cutting and digital print.
Leren has been working in the fashion industry for six years now, teaching herself at first before gaining a placement with knitwear label Crooked Knitwear, where she learned basic pattern cutting and manufacturing, I also helped with some of the accessories and interiors.
“The placement really gave me an insight on how a business works and how demanding the industry can be,” she says, “but it only made me want it even more for myself which is why in 2012 whilst still studying Fashion at the University of Derby I decided to go self employed.”
“Instead of just recreating the Joker and Harley Quinn’s actual outfits, I took the route of fashion, costume and art which allowed me to push the boundaries and the concept of the story I’m telling,” she says of her collection. “For me to finalise all my ideas and my final line up I undertook thorough research into real life – researching well known sadistic and volatile relationships as well as going back in history to research real life harlequins, to get a clearer idea of what their role in court meant and their relationship to their king.
“Looking into fabric was also a significant part of my development and research, as it is certain fabrics that coincide my collection and the representation of my characters as individuals as well as linking them together.
“The aim and purpose behind my collection is to push the boundaries of a fictional yet iconic story through techniques and materials regualary used within the fashion industry,” she says. “I’ve worked alongside a comic illustrator, Victoria Denham, make-up artist Lizzie Mazza, a graphic designer, digital printers and a professional photography and film studio, Artifex Studios, who have all contributed massively and helped me bring my collection to life.”
Leren’s biggest challenge in the making of the garments was easily been laser cutting, as four out of the six outfits have a form of the technique. ‘The Jokers Quinn’ (skirt and bustier) is made up of around 700 laser cut Joker playing cards which has then been inserted into 5mm incisions through out the shell of the skirt.
“‘A Scripted Man’ has been digitally printed with the Chrisopher Nolan ‘The Dark Knight’ film as well as leatherette lapels, sleeves and pockets engraved and laser cut with tiny Joker cards!
“All in all I spent over 200 hours on the machine but I couldn’t be happier with the results.”
Leren now has her own web site where you will find handmade, versatile and eclectic clothing and jewellery. “Not only do I source my fabrics from local markets and online fabric stores, I also recycle and customise clothing and fabric,” she says.
I think the work that’s gone int these and the final results are impressive, and while Leren’s designs are inspired by US comic characters and we normally cover British comics on this site, I’m happy to promote this talented British fashion designer and her work and I wish her every success in her career
Leren has also released a short film to promote the designs which portrays a normal girl who is ambitious to be a fashion model but, on the day of the shoot, starts to turn into a chaotic air head whilst envisioning the Joker, who happens to be only in her head.
• Leren Conor’s Official blog: http://to-be-irreplaceable.blogspot.co.uk
• Leren Conor Fashion on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LerenFashion
All photographs featured are kindly supplied by Leren Conor. Designs © 2014 Leren Conor
• Victoria Denham – Comic Illustrator (Facebook Page)
• Lizzie Mazza – Make-Up Artist
• Francesco Group – Hair Stylists
• Silk Model Management – Modelling Agency