Designer Yasmina Johnston Talks Style and Space

Abby Gregory

Dallas designer Yasmina Johnston's conceptual, architectural creations already boast quite a following. Stylists, fashion editors, and the city's style-obsessed crowd have all taken notice of her avant garde pieces, and we caught up with Johnston recently to find out more about her unique label.

She filled us in on the diverse influences behind her work, and we weren't surprised to learn that Johnston, who designs everything from dresses to leather helmets, is inspired by everything from fine arts to the realm of science fiction.

What's the first thing you ever designed? "When I decided to pursue fashion in school about four years ago, the first thing we were asked to design was a basic sheath dress, but I ended up making a coat meant to be worn over the dress before I'd even completed the actual assigned garment!"

You made the switch from studying fine arts to fashion; what changed your creative direction? "I felt like I wanted more; I wanted to create something that I felt was more purposeful. I love the idea that my art  in terms of fashion design can be so close to people. It's also been fascinating to switch from doing large-scale paintings in which anything goes to making very precise works of art with a needle and thread. The finite attention it requires is different but satisfying."

So, what's next in the development of your design process? "I'm exploring options abroad to continue my studies, and I'm applying to Central Saint Martins and possibly Parsons this Fall! So, I've been working on my portfolio; I'm planning to include pieces that show the evolution of my creative process from fine arts to fashion."

What piece are you the most proud of in your current collection? "There's a very versatile dress/top that's meant to be worn wrapped or loose in several different variations. It was featured in La Mode recently, and they styled it in a completely unexpected way. It's called the 'Forbidden Child-Bearing Cloak,' which is from an entirely mythical, imaginary place; the inspiration for the name came from my interpretation of the culture in that fictional realm."

What music are we listening to right now? Is there anything specific you like to play when you're designing? "This is BetDat, and they're based in Dallas too! They make the kind of Euro techno music that I'm really into right now when I work. I like the industrial sort of mood that's set by such hardcore, fast-paced music. My friends Rod Diaz nod Oleg Belogorsky are the artists."

Aside from bands, what other influences impact your work significantly? "I'm always inspired by the idea of space and the unknown realms of science and science fiction. Actually, my boyfriend and I might take a trip to Roswell for the festival there this year; I think it would really provoke my creative process. I also really want to travel abroad and have the chance to immerse myself in a totally different culture, not just from a fashion standpoint but as an opportunity to experience an entirely new way of thinking. And, of course, because of my passion for art, I will forever admire painters like Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning, and Clyfford Still."

Look for Johnston's work in the upcoming issue of La Mode, and if you want to shop the cool label for yourself, connect with Johnston on Facebook to set an appointment.

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