Our GFF Talent this week is Shakeem Hart from Coventry University. Inspired by marine life as well as the current political and social climate in the UK, Shakeem’s message is simple: “Wear whatever you like — be brave, take risks or don’t take risks — just be you,” he says.
What was the starting point of inspiration for your final project?
I started my project by visiting a load of aquariums, I have always had a keen interest in marine life and I find I always respond best to non static research. There is something about the otherworldly atmosphere of the deep sea that really captures me. The corals and the colour and texture of fish make them seem as if they are some kind of alien species. My plan is to create six runway looks accompanied by a selection of accessories (bags and hats).
How has it evolved from your initial ideas and what have you learnt along the way?
My initial concept has grown a lot from where I started. I feel like I kind of got sidetracked with everything that is going on in England. I’m not just referring to Brexit or the national knife crime crisis. There is this digital world cultivated by social media and ‘fake reality’ which we have all had to become a part of.
The outcome will basically be a big mashup up of my initial research of barnacles and this ‘alien’ like feeling with everything else which I have been exposed to — from Brexit to the passing of the iconic Karl Lagerfeld — we are products or our environments so when I design my ideas are constantly changing and adapting.
What is the message behind your project that you want people to take away?
I have always found it very difficult as to find clothing which looked how I felt, I was an alien in my own skin. I think there is a part in everyone that wants to push their style further but there is something that tells us that its ‘too much’. One of those “I like it but it wouldn’t look good on me” moments.
Sometimes we confine ourselves to tick boxes in society. But I want to try and make that feeling go away. Wear whatever you like — be brave, take risks or don’t take risks — just be you.
What is your plan once you finish your BA?
I am still deciding, I’m really keen to start my career within styling or design but I also know I would benefit from studying a Masters. So I’m kind of torn between the two. If I do decide to start looking for jobs I don’t think I will stay in the West Midlands — I would like to work London or even globally, which will also expand my opportunities.