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John-Paul Trang

MA work

Deep Maze

Deep Maze: Catabasis questions what it means to be a designer and craftsman in the becoming-future. Contemporary life is characterised by complex, networked, dynamic problems of scales both minute and macro at once, incomprehensible to the unaugmented human brain. In the fashion industry,  the inherent promotion of conspicuous consumption (of both overtly commercial and more pernicious 'sustainable' products) is a heavy contributor to the climate crisis. We believe that today’s designer must respond to the concerns of the wider world, not just insider micro trends. 

How then, is one to reconcile a drive to craft and creation while working with a medium in direct conflict with this desire to contribute positively rather than increasing consumption?

Deep Maze is a mixed media investigation into this question, presented in three parts.

1. A live demo of our experimental mediation machine Abyss Vision (DM AV). Deep Maze AV is not virtual reality, but digitally mediated Uncanny Reality (UR) – a headset viewed livestream of one’s own viewpoint but from a third person perspective including the viewer in the frame. 

Abyss Vision proposes use of this uncanny reality as a medicinal meditation – a countemeasure to symptoms brought about by life in neoliberal late-capital. Eg. The hyper-speed rush of endless data, or the resulting comedown of impotence to change a world on the brink of collapse. The unsettling horror of the all-seeing algorithm, instantly serving everything you (n)ever dreamed of, or the empty joy of notching more social reputation in the digital sphere.

We believe that a small, pre-emptive dose of the virus can serve as an inoculation against the real dis-ease. 

2. A working prototype of our proprietary Personal Uniform System – a method for creating and sustaining deep relationships with one’s most personal of goods – their clothing. Kit #001 presents a range of highly functional garments to aid the pursuits of the craftsperson. A fully articulated boiler-suit, a modular tool holster system, shop apron, and more are included in this streamlined wardrobe for daily use. 

Further, this system of uniform creation has been thoroughly mapped – we will distribute files and instructions for the replication of the each of the items, which we deem Problem Solution Artifacts (PSAs). By sharing our process and data, we hope to inspire individuals to engage in the development of their own Personal Uniforms. By creating garments which one truly needs and wants, we hope to exit the system of endless consumption of empty products which do not really fulfil our needs. Deep Maze hopes to change the paradigm of luxury and exclusivity – true personal craft over marketed ‘exclusivity’. 

3. A custom Yamaha LB80 cargo motorcycle – transportation for the Self-Reliant Maker on their quest throughout physical networks of learning, social craft, and information transfer. Design is not a hermetic practice, so we venture into the Maze fully equipped. See you there.


  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Fashion Menswear, 2018

  • What does it mean to design GOODS in our PRODUCT saturated, interlinked, climate crisis world? 

    deep maze : Catabasis is a multi-media investigation into this dilemma. Outputs include a live demo of Abyss Vision –  an Uncanny Reality (UR) device, and Problem Solution Artifacts (PSA) – a wardrobe as proof of concept for our system of Personal Uniform creation. We believe sustained engagement with craft on an individual level is the antidote to the glut of useless design in a product-saturated world. PSArtifacts comprise a streamlined kit for daily use with the purpose of aiding the craftsman in action. The documentation of this product creation hopes to be a map for future Seekers. See you there.

  • Degrees

  • BFA Apparel Design, Rhode Island School of Design, 2012
  • Experience

  • Men's Designer, Thom Browne, New York, 2012-2014; Associate Designer, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, New York, 2014