GALLERIES AND DESCRIPTIONS
TDR’s designs for industry have produced a compelling array of products. Innovation, a thorough understanding of the marketplace and far-reaching vision makes us a consistent leader in product design. Products such as an FM stereo sunglasses, heat dissipating car stereo amplifiers, shoes, jewelry, lightweight furniture, lighting fixtures and lamps, computer hardware, patent inventions, educational games and land, sea, and air vehicles are examples of our extraordinary range of creativity and imaginative engineering. Use of non-toxic, recycled materials, and less energy consumptive manufacturing methods are an underlying principle of TDR’s commitment to companies such as AlphaSonik Corporation, Postgres Electronics Group, H & K Wallpaper Company, Camiz Clothing, Kaepa Shoes, ROC Sunglasses Company, and the Department of Industry of the previous United Soviet Socialist Republic.
THE CLOTHING DESIGNS OF EUGENE TSSUI
Eugene Tssui is revolutionizing the way we think about fashion and clothing design. His designs have no reference to fashion of the past or the present. In fact, he doesn’t think about fashion and style at all but rather begins with the human body itself. He asks questions that no one else asks; where are the cold and hot areas of the body? What places need ventilation and what places need insulation? Are there areas of the body that require ventilation, expansion and contraction? How can the body’s heat be best used for natural warmth? Is it possible to make the design adapt to the functional movement of the limbs and head? Is clothing a kind of moving shelter that adapts to the changing climate? Are there fabrics that can used to create a second layer of “skin” that can breathe and adapt to changing temperature and weather?
Eugene Tssui begins with sketches that test various hypothesis and finds ways to aesthetically present these concepts in a well-proportioned and functional way having to do with the nature and behavior of the fabric materials. The human body is the first concern of his designs. They must be scientifically functional and practical. No materials from animals are used because of Tssui’s protest against the harming and exploitation of animals and the industrialized, profit-driven, mentality of slaughter, torture, and the resultant destruction our planet. His clothing carries a moral dedication to doing no harm and leaving no footprint on the environment. His personal motto being DO NO HARM, LEAVE NO TRACE, REACH FOR EXCELLENCE.
All of his clothing is done by hand by a single, university-trained tailor, in Shenzhen, China. Eugene makes detailed drawings of the clothing and goes to various markets to choose the fabrics and detailed materials, then, based on the drawings and materials, Eugene and Mr. Zhao, the tailor, translate these drawings and materials into wearable, three-dimensional pieces. Eugene wears these new clothes to test them out for functional efficiency and construction reliability. Sometimes, a button or zipper may come loose or break, and this is an indicator of more thread needed or better quality materials are needed. Other times, the design just does not meet the requirements for functional simplicity and is altered. Ease of function is at the core of his designs. They must be practical yet bold and original.
Eugene Tssui’s designs are often motivated by searching for a solution to a problem, or, to creating something unexpected and defiant. For instance, he is developing a concept for a very refined suit and cape ensemble made of brushed cotton blue-jean fabric, taking a historically crude and rough material, and making it the height of refinement and haute couture. Likewise, taking a commonplace T-shirt and transforming it into a work of bold color contrast and geometric juxtaposition.
Eugene Tssui began his interest in clothing design in his last year of high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, when he designed shorts, pants, martial arts weaponry harnesses, pull-over shirts, and athletic training outfits in a sewing class filled with girls. He was the only boy in the class, and was the brunt of many jokes and name-calling by his fellow classmates, until he challenged them to design their own clothing! They all quickly backed-down.
Eugene Tssui’s youthful motivations were already quite clear: “I wanted to bring an expression of dignity, imagination, color and exuberance to clothing, to take it out of its history and trend-based stigma and make it a platform for originality, physiological sensibility, and personal expression. Clothing should be an impetus for communication and discussion- a bridge to communicate with others and to share values an outlooks!”
THE IMPERATIVE OF PERSONAL EXPRESSION AND ORIGINALITY
Clothing is an expression of who we are and our values and motivations in life. It is an expression of how we view our connection with nature, with the weather, the changing climate and the changing circumstances of our day-to-day lives and our place in the world. Clothing is our intimate and necessary engagement to the world. Our entire decision-making process of who we are in the world goes into our choice of clothing.
Clothing can bring out the child-like in people or it can ignite aggression or victimization. We don’t realize how crucial clothing is in the assessment of how others view us from a distance or close-up. Our values, our view of ourselves, our outlook on the world, our sense of our place in society, is all linked to the clothes we wear. Clothing expresses our value for creativity and individuality and also our fears of standing out from the crowd.
CLOTHING IS A DYING ART THAT MUST BE TRANSFORMED
The world of clothing sales is a world of selling as many items as possible in the quickest time-frame as possible with no concern for longevity and permanence. In fact, the clothes-making world encourages the throw-away mentality by consciously thinking up something new every week, so that the last week’s “style” is overtaken by this week’s new idea, this encourages the refuse creation of last week’s clothes. 4% of the world’s waste, or 92 million tons of clothing waste, comes from the fashion industry, which is more waste than the e-waste of computers and phones.
The solution to this is to create clothing that will not be discarded. To do this, our clothing must have much greater personal, emotional, and financial value, than before. If you purchase a work of art, you will not discard it and it will grow in value over time. You will not throw it away. You will become emotionally bonded with your clothing. Therefore, one-of-a-kind clothing is highly ecological because it is not a part of the throw-away stream of discarded fashion. It is a prized possession.
Clothing design, now, is more and more a matter of computer manipulation and mass production processing. Human hands do not even touch the fabric. Verily, we become removed from the sensual understanding of fabric, its weight, its feel, and its behavior and response to temperature and climatic changes. We have distanced ourselves from the nature and character of fabrics, its warp and weft, its sheen and its expansion/contraction capabilities. It has become another commodity to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. In a world that is already growing in its pervasive apathy, its cruelty towards sentient beings, and its commodification of living things, it is imperative that there be an effort made to fight this eroding movement.
CLOTHING AS EXPERIMENT
The clothes I design are all experiments with the nature of human physiology in daily life. I ask the question: What would nature do if it had the same limitations and functional requirements to clothe a human being? From that question, I proceed to find answers. It is a search, a search for sensible solutions to functional problems, an inquiry into the purpose of clothing and how it relates to human activity, to changing climate, to the specific needs of the wearer, and to the capabilities of the fabric.
CLOTHING AS A PERSONAL SAFETY TOOL
When you wear clothing that is unique and never seen before, it is a totally disarming and a curiosity-driven experience for most people.
I have found, through direct experience, that clothing can become a safety measure for potential bodily harm from others. For example, years ago I was walking up the street in Los Angeles on my way to give a lecture at the University of Southern California. The neighborhood around USC can be dangerous and this particular late afternoon I spotted a couple of big, tall, husky looking men walking towards me. They had mean, hard, aggressive looking postures and faces, and I was readying myself for physical challenge having had a life of martial arts training.
As they walked closer suddenly their faces turned from sheer, violent aggression, to exuberant smiles and playful charm! One of them spoke up, “Who are you?” The other inquired, “What’s that you’re wearing?” I was wearing my personally designed black with gold pin-striped cape with a red interior fabric and specially designed clasps and buttons with gold piping and hood. See gallery attachments. I told them I was an architect and clothing designer on my way to a lecture at the School of Architecture and that I designed my own clothes as an example of “Moving Architecture.” They were dumbfounded and asked, “Can we touch your clothes?” I said, sure, and they felt the silk/cotton outer fabric and the sheer red satin lining. They were little kids in a candy store. They asked, “Did you make that yourself?” and I replied that I designed everything and chose the fabrics and then worked with a tailor in China to sew it all together. They were just awe-struck and nearly frozen with curiosity. After a while, and many questions and answers later, they bid me farewell and good luck in my lecture, and strolled off into the Los Angeles sunset with a totally different rhythm and posture to their walk.
That one encounter proved to me the power of creativity that brings peace and the importance of sharing your unique thoughts with others, and the functional power of expressing your uniqueness to the world! We all have an innate, inborn sense of curiosity, and when we encounter something we’ve never seen before, we immediately want to know more about it and our curiosity overtakes any other emotions. Our world needs more of this… much more of this, and this is the seed-germ to answer our problems of hate, prejudice, social injustice, and cruelty. If you dare to express your true creative uniqueness, you will realize that it has a disarming power to transcend hate, discrimination, and aggression.
THE FOOTPRINT OF CLOTHING AND SHOES
The industrial making of clothes creates 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 discharge a year. That’s more than all commercial flights and maritime ships in the world! If the industry continues as before, it will create 26% of the world’s CO2 discharge which will increase the global temperature by 2 degrees Celsius.
Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. An estimated $500 billion value is lost every year due to clothing that’s barely worn and rarely recycled. Less than one percent of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing. Worldwide, clothing utilization—the average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used—has decreased by 36 percent compared to 15 years ago. Clothes release half a million tonnes of microfibers into the ocean every year, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles.
In the U.S., 84 percent of discarded clothes winds up in an incinerator or landfill. As EcoWatch previously reported, Americans’ growing consumption of clothing has doubled to 14 million tons per year in less than two decades. The problem is further exacerbated by the increased speed of trend turnover. Fast-fashion outlets, with their quick and voluminous output, quickly change trends to stimulate more sales. However, this means that recent purchases will go out of style sooner than ever before, which means more clothes in the trash bin.
Two-thirds of a running shoes carbon impact can come from manufacturing processes, with a smaller percentage arising from acquiring or extracting raw materials. This breakdown is expected for more complex products such as electronics, where the energy that goes into manufacturing fine, integrated circuits can outweigh the energy expended in processing raw materials.
A typical pair of running shoes comprises 65 discrete parts requiring more than 360 processing steps to assemble, from sewing and cutting to injection molding, foaming and heating. Small, light components of a shoe are energy-intensive — and therefore, carbon-intensive — compared with the energy that goes into making shoe materials, such as polyester and polyurethane.
The industrialization of shoe manufacturing has created a huge energy and materials resource exploitation that is doing significant harm to the planet. That is why what Eugene Tssui does is to make both clothing and shoe creation a near zero footprint process, all done by hand, with low footprint materials such as rubber, hemp, cotton, and cork. As he says, “The human hand is the basis of design intelligence and craftsmanship skill. That is why everything I create is done by the human hand creating the entire clothing and shoe piece, from start to finish. There is no assembly line. There is only the individual artist seeing his or her work of art being born and reaching a state of perfection.”
THE IMMORALITY OF FASHION DESIGNERS
Have you ever seen a fashion designer wear their own designed clothing? When you go to a fashion show do you see the designer wearing his or her own designs? Fashion is a game of image and appearance, at your expense, and the person making the images never wear the clothing themselves. The fashion world is a lie propagated by image and advertising. Did Ralph Lauren wear the attire he designed for the 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 Olympics? Does he know anything about competitive sports? Does he know anything about how the human body works? Does Karl Lagerfeld wear his own designs? Pierre Cardin? Donna Karan? Have you noticed that after a runway show, clothing designers appear on the runway, in blue jeans and T-shirt? Typically, the world of clothing design is a “Do as I say, not as I do” world of make-believe. They want you to look like their world, of image, not reality.
EUGENE TSSUI ON CLOTHING AND SHOE DESIGN
In our world of image-making and appearance, we just want to be entertained, because entertainment doesn’t require participation. We are vicarious observers who wish to look and not engage. This is the historical basis for clothing design and footwear. We want to be clothed by others rather than think for ourselves. Let the other person decide what we should wear. And we lap it up without thinking, as long as it is acceptable to our peers, and we enter the good graces of their attention. Society dictates what is acceptable and we are the pawns to buy society’s wares. We wish to remain anonymous, to disappear in convention, and fit-in to the faceless landscape. We disappear in the safety of black. Black is the color of nothingness. The color of conformity. The color of safety and the covering of the self.
Clothing and shoe design should start from the human body as the main concern, and if we are good designers, we must take pains to fully understand the human body, how it works, why it works, and its integral working of so many living systems; the joints, the muscles, the sinews, the skin, the bones, and the changing systems of the body. For instance, good shoe design comes from understanding and accommodating the natural shape and structure of the foot; to support that living structure and not harm it, not deform it, not handicap it so that it loses its optimal function.
Clothing and shoe design is the search for optimal functionality. The body should perform better with the proper designed clothing and shoes. The functions and capabilities of the human body should be enhanced, with the correct designed clothing and shoes, not hindered.
We should be searching for materials that do the least damage to our planet. Leather comes from the skinning of animals which are being slaughtered and consumed, world-wide, at a rate of 135,000 per second each day of our lives! The pain, torture, misery, and suffering that these helpless, emotionally ravaged animals must endure, is beyond human imagining. The footprint created by these billions of sentient beings put to an agonizing death is, by far, the greatest destructive footprint created on our planet. It is equivalent to all other destructive human activities and pollution combined! Therefore, I use no leather or animal-based materials in anything I do. If I use wool I make sure the wool comes from farms where the sheep are not brutalized by their wool shearers but this may be too hidden to know the real truth, thus, I prefer not to use wool at all in my current and future designs.
My designs have no reality in considering what sells. My design motivation is a search for a better way to accommodate the body’s functions and to seriously consider the environment in which the clothing is used. I look everywhere for functional ideas, for the use of color and texture, fabrics, geometries, fabric-making, durability, and ease of use. I look to everyone, every time period, every manufacturing process, every culture, and every nation. Ideas, use, purpose, materials, methods of construction, are everywhere, and so one must keep open eyes for new possibilities. One must always be searching and never stop. When you stop searching you die. The search is what keeps the realm of ideas alive.
The human body is the basis for clothing and shoe design and that’s where we should go for study! Our clothing and shoes are a direct extension of the human body so the body should be our first and foremost priority for understanding. However, schools of design do not support this, and designers themselves, are entrenched in their world of make-believe, runway shows, and profit-making planning, and so, the clothing and shoe design world has become a superficial retransformation of past styles and trends borrowed from times past or innumerable cultures of the world. “Whatever sells” is the catch-phrase that propels the industry.
Most of us live in a world mired by fear and acceptability. Most of us don’t want to stand-out for fear of being approached, challenged, and fought with. We live far beneath our capabilities and slowly succumb to the substanceless conventions of unquestioned habit. We live in a world of denial, for fear of facing the truth, and the fear of what that truth implies. Commonly, the truth implies action, application, self-reflection, and determined effort; and we don’t want to make the effort. We have become indolent and that indolence relegates us to deeper states of inaction and laziness. And so, most of us live lives in the silence of despair and ease. We live in a world that is, “good enough”, and we make no effort towards improvement. My design work shatters this world of indolence and darkness and creates an explosive light that shines to reveal the darkness of fear, laziness, and entitlement in us. If you wear my designs you cannot be afraid. My clothing ignites the intrinsic boldness of its wearer, the dignity of being human, and the power of moral conscience towards all sentient beings.
My clothes are a functional symbol of moral consciousness and artistic right of every person to express themselves in their own unique way.
DO NO HARM.
LEAVE NO TRACE.
REACH FOR EXCELLENCE.