James has been professionally involved in interior design for the past 25 years. Artistically inclined since childhood, he graduated with a BAHons in 3D Design and Interiors and proceeded to enhance his skills by following specific specialized courses in Italy, concentrating on latest trends in the design world. Drawing on inspiration acquired from within his own family business which was in direct contact with the construction industry, his design work emerges as being functional and distinctive. Each of his projects is designed with a hands-on attitude that takes on a miscellany of tasks ranging from something as contained as a shop window display, through to engagingly involving residential and commercial property make-overs. However James has a soft spot for Stage and Set Design and in the past years he was the designer behind the set up of National events and a good part of local TV programmes. The capacity to look ahead with positivity is one of James’ unacknowledged virtues.
This led him to a very successful debut into the world of fashion design a passion he had since childhood and started creating Wearable Art – beautiful garments made mostly from recycled and sustainable materials. His first origami dress made out of recycled magazine paper was an instant success and he was immediately inundated with positive feed-back which led to his being approached to design and create a dress from recyclable material to represent Malta in Miss Eco International, which took place in Egypt in 2017. Here, out of 80 contestants Miss Eco Malta wearing James Dimech’s creation placed 3rd runner up. On the night of the Malta Fashion Awards 2017 he launched his first collection of 8 garments made of recycled paper, plastic and metal. In 2018 James presented a number of his original dress designs, made totally of sustainable materials, at a fund raising event in aid of The National Alliance for Rare Diseases. Later in 2018 he showcased The White paper Star Collection at the International Evening of Culture Through Fashion, organized by The Chamber of Fashion Malta Foundation. Eight Paper Garments took life on the catwalk featuring origami folds. Persisting in promoting Sustainable Fashion, James was the first designer to participate in the Prestigious Miss World Contest 2018 in the category Best Local Designer’s Dress Competition with an elegant gown made with a fabric produced from recycled plastic bottles. In July 2019 James delivered a dash of ethical elegance to Altaroma one of the most high profile fashion events in Italy. His Haute Couture collection ‘Elizabeth’ reflects the exploration of form and structure through hands on manipulation of sustainable fabrics. With his passion for fashion James had stirred enough hype for some Italian journalists to pick up his collection as one of the top 5 to shine the catwalk that week. In 2019 James showcased his uniquely beautiful collection ‘Between the Folds’ in the luxurious setting of Rosselli Ax Privilege in Valletta.
Adopting his experience in architecture and origami, this collection reflects the exploration of form and structure. The monochromatic silhouettes of the garments are emphasized through hands-on manipulation of the fabric creating different cutting and folding techniques to create very intricate designs with an eye-catching three-dimensional appearance. Using a polyester fiber made from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles and up-cycling from diverse waste materials James wants to show the world that eco fabric is the New Look for Sustainable Fashion and we will be GIVING PLASTIC ANEW LIFE.
You initially started off your career as an interior designer. What first drove you to become a fashion designer?
I think that Fashion Designer is not the right title for me as I consider myself more as a Fashion Artist with a passion for wearable ART 🙂 During my studies at the Arts and Design Institute we covered basics in all aspects of design from interiors, graphics to also fashion, back 28years ago I never thought of fashion design as my main career and specialized in Interiors and got a degree in Interior Design. However I had a good share in the fashion industry since I was 18years old.Starting as a model and more over as a fashion stylist.
What do you like working with more, fashion or interior design?
I try not to mix the two as with Interior Design my work is the result of my clients style and always do my best to satisfy each individual needs. On the other hand when I create my fashion garments I feel free to express my own creativity.
Tell us about the kind of clothes you mainly create? How the issue of sustainability influences you as a designer?
As a person I am very environment conscious and in my little I do my best to contribute, however to be honest I think we are living in fast life and this is part of the fact that most people are self-centred and want everything NOW..Its true that awareness is growing but I believe we should do more.. From my end I try to make something beautiful out of what we consider waste. One of my first collections was all made out of recycled paper and followed by an other collection this time made out of metal tabs that are found on the lids of food cans of which one garment travelled to Egypt and won various contests.
What do you like and dislike most about the current fashion industry?
I like to follow the most creative in different ways but do appreciate all sort of fashion and never dislike especially when I know all the work behind it. Fashion like Art is subjective and everyone has his own taste and style. I think everyone should be aware of which fashion trend reflects his or hers personality and not just follow the trend blindfolded.
Let’s talk about the last collection you presented. Tell us about it.
I presented my last collection at AltaRoma fashion week. A Haute Couture Collection called Elizabeth — a journey to ethical elegance. Inspired by the royalty of Queen Elizabeth who strongly influenced fashion over the course of her reign in the 16th century and the timeless elegance of Elizabeth Taylor, fashion icon of the 1950s. All garments in this collection come with a story and it’s my way to pay tribute to revolutionary women through history. Using a polyester fibre made from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles and up-cycling from diverse waste material, this collection reflects the exploration of form and structure. The monochromatic silhouettes of the garments are emphasized through hands-on manipulation of the fabric using origami folding techniques to create very intricate designs with an eyecatching three-dimensional appearance.
What was the outcome from your experience in Rome Fashion Week?
To my surprise my collection was picked by italian giornalists and bloggers with the best 5 emerging Fashion Designers participating in the Fashion Week, But the thing I treasure most from my experience in Rome is meeting new people who like me have fashion at heart. One particular person is the Italian Fashion Stylist Linda Boranga with whom I had the opportunity to collaborate with her and her team on an editorial photo shoot. The set up for this editorial speaks for its self. I could not wish for anything better to have my garments featured and styled in such artistic ways.
When is the presentation of the new collection planned? A few words about the upcoming show, if possible?
Im hoping that 2022 will be a good year. The pandemic period gave me more time to think and elaborate new ideas. This time colours will be the focal point and the upcoming collection will reflect happiness and the joy of living nature with all it’s colours, however this is planned for summer 2022. Earlier will be working on something I love doing, back to the origins will be putting up a music show with Paper Fashion Garments… but I’m sure we will have to talk more about this closer to date 😉
Do you think it is necessary to chase fashion trends, or is it better to create your own image?
I think it is good to follow fashion trends but not chase. Individuality always stands out by creating own image and in return will always pays back.
What are your main predictions for trends in the upcoming winter season, and what do you predict for 2022?
Most upcoming trends are styles revisited from the past decades but also more and more brands are taking the sustainability issue more seriously in many ways from the packaging to the materials used and I would like to invite everyone to help this brands succeed in their mission by not just look at the cloths but also at the TAGS.