This week, our final GFF Talent to share before GFW19! We meet Rochelle Lambourn, a final year Fashion Management and Communication at Sheffield Hallam University. Rochelle’s final project is a trend book that delves into the world of body modification and the future of identity expression. “It’s well known that people choose to express themselves through the choice of clothing, but what if altering the body through science and technology became a form of self-expression?” she questions. Read on to find out more and see some images from Rochelle’s book “Body Over Being.”

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What was the starting point of inspiration for your final project?

The starting point for me was seeing A.Human’s Instagram surface in late August/September 2018. I was fascinated by the use of prosthetics to make the human form look otherworldly. It allowed me to think of the human form in a different way. Human beings are incredible and I think that often we forget how incredible we actually are. It really got me thinking about the possibilities of the body and how we need to evolve.

My whole project is based around humans (in the future) changing their bodies as a form of fashion rather than changing their style through garments. It’s well known that people choose to express themselves through the choice of clothing, but what if altering the body through science and technology became a form of self-expression? Even as a young child, I have always been interested in the unexplained and had this weird curiosity.

I absolutely love researching and finding out weird and wonderful things that no one else knows or even thinks about. The year of industry experience I completed during my degree really helped open my eyes to what else is out there and to look beyond what’s directly in front of us. I think if you’re not challenging societies norms, the world can appear to be a boring place. We need to be more accepting of individuality and people experimenting with their identities. For example, we now live in a world where gender is not confined to two categories.

What will your final project look like once complete?

I’ve decided that for my final project I wanted to create a trend book. I knew when I chose my topic of interest that it wasn’t going to be an easy journey gaining research, especially primary. After speaking about my chosen area with my tutor it was a mutual decision that the project had to shock and make people feel uncomfortable and, in some ways, this has been achievable. However, through my perseverance I can safely say it’s been the most interesting form of research I have looked into. 

So, the actual outcome will be a hard copy of a trend book called ‘Body over Being’. I use the term trend lightly as I feel it isn’t particularly a trend. A trend is something that’s short-term and eventually dies out. Whereas I feel that this is something that’s on the move and will eventually, probably not in our lifetime but be something everyone has to adopt to in order to survive.  

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How has it evolved from your initial ideas and what have you learnt along the way?

Initially at the beginning I struggled deciding what form my research would take. Because it’s such a controversial topic and has the potential to produce a creative outcome I wanted to really challenge myself. The project has really evolved from start to almost finish and I’ve gained more research from industry professionals than I thought I would. The images I have produced from the photoshoots I’ve organised have exceeded my expectations in every way possible.  

My creative CAD skills have also evolved allowing me to really find a creative style I never thought I would even entertain. I knew from the start that I wanted to challenge myself in all areas and I really feel like this has allowed me to achieve this. This whole the project has made me realise that no matter how much you try and control something, i.e. organising photoshoots, collaborations, interviews and so on, that everything that happens is completely out of your control. You can be the most organised individual there is, however, life can be unpredictable. 

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What is the message behind your project that you want people to take away?

I don’t really think that there is a specific message to my project, I definitely didn’t intend for there to be one. But I suppose if you wanted to take anything from it, it would be that I feel society need to become more accepting to individuals in life that choose to project their personalities and identities in other forms that are not deemed as ‘normal’. My dad has always said to me “What is normal Rochelle?” for as long as I can remember.

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I think a lot of the time, humanity is very unforgiving and we are hard wired automatically to be offended when someone chooses to be different. I personally feel like this needs to change! I also think that we’re quite naïve to what is going on in the world with regards to science and technology. This project has really opened my eyes to things I never knew existed and it’s quite scary, but exciting to see what has strong potential to happen.

 What is your plan once you finish your BA?

At the moment I have no solid plans set in stone or a career path mapped out for me. This project has been my entire life/full-time job for so long now, I can’t quite believe its near its end. All I know is whatever path I decide to go down, I want to be challenged creatively and mentally.  I enjoy swimming in the deep end!