We might believe in doing some things the old-fashioned way, but don’t think that means we’re forgetting about the future. Modern heritage: that’s the name of our game. And how can the traditions of the past keep abreast with the challenges of today if there’s nobody to push the boundaries of tomorrow? That’s why we’re determined to champion the best of the next generation. But if you’re wondering where to look for them, there’s really no contest: Central Saint Martins has produced more world-leading creative talent than you’d care to mention. Firebrand polymath Mr Aidan Zamiri is no exception: at the tender age of 21 he’s already making an impact in the capital’s saturated creative scene, and that’s no mean feat. It would be criminally churlish not to mention that he’s also the perfect gentleman to share a few gins with.
Evening, Aidan. Talk me through what you do?
I work in a couple of creative fields. I've worked in set design, photography and video – generally within either a fashion or music context.
And which of those fields did you begin in and how did you move from set design to filmmaking?
I really like stories and cinematic moments – spatial design was the perfect way to make really dynamic and immersive environments that could communicate an idea or a feeling in an immediate and physical way. I'd always been interested in and worked with physical spaces and objects because they tell stories when you interact with them. Naturally, I moved into making videos because timing and motion became such an important part of my work. Film-making was the perfect way to realise a bigger and more intricate cinematic vision.
Was CSM very valuable in your creative formation?
The time and space to explore your own practice and discover what you do/don't like is really valuable. CSM gave me the opportunity to make things that didn't have to work in a commercial or editorial context – it just gave me to time and resources to do stuff I found interesting. I also met several people at CSM who have made a huge impression on me creatively and have shaped a lot of what excites me and interests me in fashion and art.
When you begin a project, where does your inspiration usually come from? Is there a particular era or person that usually proves inspiring?
I always find research the most exciting part of any project and a lot of my work is the sum of references that I really love and ideas that I find exciting. Equally, storytelling is something that always filters into everything I do. When doing 3D work, I like making spaces that feel like they're part of a scene or a moment from a movie. In video, I like hinting at a larger idea, as though the film is a little peek into much a more complicated world. I'm most inspired by interesting, powerful, glamorous and emotional women. I like being really romantic in my work and celebrating bad taste and exploring the ways in which people perform their identities.
How does that interest in the way we navigate identity and self-perform percolate through your work?
When people perform themselves as characters, it's like they're living their life as a movie; something that is really self-indulgent and inauthentic and I love it. Characters make movies exciting and relatable and so the projection of a persona often allows us to create stories and scenes in fashion and art that explore ideas that are larger than us.
Your personal style is clearly as bold and irreverent as your work. Is getting dressed something you give a lot of thought to as a way of "performing" or articulating identity or is it a chaotic/random process?
Getting dressed is just as exciting as making a video or an installation and often the clothes I wear are referencing things I love at a certain moment in time. Dressing the way I do isn’t so much to represent myself, as it is to satirise myself: as if I'm constantly trying to look like an ironic parody of myself.
Which of the Penhaligon's scents is your favourite and why?
I'm really into Spanish stuff at the moment so I really like Castile - it's sultry and a little seductive.
Lastly, of all the Portrait's characters, who would you most like to have a cuppa with?
Probably Clara. She's the kind of woman that knows what she wants and gets it.