Susan Dimasi & Chantal Kirby set out to create a fashion house when they formed MATERIALBYPRODUCT in 2004. The house that dominates their collective imagination is Chanel. The notion of starting a house was both a naive dream and grand ambition held by a couple of geographically challenged designers from Australia. Dimasi & Kirby have started making the components for a portable house, so far a series of curtains, one printed in wood grain is suggestive of a wall and another is a dress caught like a chrysalis in a screen. This dress screen captures an ambiguous moment in the MATERIALBYPRODUCT design process that gives birth to dresses, to curtains, to screens, to walls, to floors and ultimately to innovative, luxury and inspirational fashion.
What inspires the design duo is an unmistakable language that is composed of how things are made; technique and process. Thus Dimasi & Kirby invented techniques and processes that define all things MATERIALBYPRODUCT. This language started with the re-invention of the fundamentals of garment making; cutting, marking and joining cloth. There are two fundamental approaches to shaping cloth for the body. One approach is to pick it up and wrap or hang it around the body, known as drape. The other approach is to cut and join it into shapes to clad the body, known as tailoring. MATERIALBYPRODUCT fuses both approaches to produce a new silhouette for the 21st century.
MATERIALBYPRODUCT design ideas beyond garments destined to a rack or body, and in turn innovate the conventional home-ware product lines. This next stage of MATERIALBYPRODUCT’s portable fashion house concept introduces illumination, referencing the candlelit atmosphere of an 18th century ballroom and electric lit 1920’s dance hall, where materials are transformed by the different sources of illumination. MATERIALBYPRODUCT’s signature dot motif is transformed into fluid strands of crystals through the use of industrial ball chain.