We kick off our Fall Fashion Week interviews with designer and sorcerer Chris Habana. Raised in the Philippines and the US on a steady diet of sci-fi, fantasy role play, Dungeons and Dragons and 90s gay counter-culture, Chris’ work blends gothic iconography with a playful and aggressive take on a pop lens. Amidst sketching up his collaboration with thefuturefuture on a series of pieces for our in-house 3D-printed jewelry bazaar at Ace Hotel New York this weekend, Chris talked to us briefly about Catholic School, his queer icons and being an early adopter of 3D mapping in the fashion world.
Talk about how your binational, big gay life has fused with sci-fi to create your strong visual statements about religion, salvation and human agency.
My design process is very organic. My day to day life experiences, my lovers, my encounters — all influence the work. With regards to religion, sex, gay counter-culture, and sci-fi — well, how many times have you heard that story of the young geeky Dungeons and Dragons-playing Filipino immigrant who went to Catholic School and came to the States to realize his goth/angst homosexual dreams in the club and fashion world?
In your process of making, how has the advent of 3D printing altered your creative experience, if at all?
The CHRISHABANA line has been developing our Cage Group Series since early 2009, where we took different forms and re-imagined them as frameworks. This group would not have been possible had it not been for the precise work of 3D mapping. It’s kind of full circle that I was asked to participate in this event at Ace. CHRISHABANA in general is known for bold, clean interpretations on goth and punk themes. This reputation wouldn’t have been built had it not been for 3D mapping. Back then, the technology was used more for Industrial Design with only a little bit of emphasis on jewelry. These days, it’s become widespread. I’m just lucky I was introduced to it early on.
Who are your icons in literature, film, dance, fashion and politics?
Gaultier, Walter Van Bierendonck, Siouxsie Sioux, Juergen Teller, The Garbage Pail Kids, Leigh Bowery, Ai Weiwei, Old Madonna, Lady Miss Kier, Nancy from the Craft, Gregg Araki, Vogue Hommes Japan, gutter punks — to name a few.
Top photos by Connie Tsang, a sketch for Chris’ futurefuture collab, and Chris tearing it up at prom.