My final collection is inspired by my own experience with ballet dancing from my childhood and the Romantic Ballet Era. My Spring/Summer 2021 collection ‘Sustainabella’, combines the words ‘sustainable’ and ‘bella’, the latter being the word for ‘pretty’ in Italian. I hope to show that clothing can be sustainable and beautiful at the same time.
Feeling like I did not look or act like the stereotypical ballerina is what caused me to quit ballet dancing after six years. I felt I was too ‘imperfect’ to pursue a career in ballet dancing. The feeling of imperfection is one of the main messages I would like to portray within my collection- “Anyone should be able to wear my collection, no matter how ‘imperfect’ they believe themselves to be.”
Pink has always been my favourite colour, so I knew I wanted to create a collection featuring the colour when I began researching initial ideas. I explored where this deep connection to the colour originated from and realised it could be due to my childhood- wearing pink ballet dresses and shoes every week in classes. I dug through the photo cupboard at home and found a pile of photos with watermarks on from ballet photoshoots I had had and decided to base my final major project on my childhood hobby.
I also looked at the Romantic Ballet Era as a source of inspiration as this is the era where traditional rules were broken and new techniques were introduced, most of which are still being used in ballet dancing today. Pointe shoes were invented to make the ballerinas seem ‘sylph-like’ and appear to be floating around the stage. The tutu skirt slowly rose from the ankles to the mid-thigh through the era to show off the pointe work that the women would also begin to do in this time period.
I wanted to make a collection that was as sustainable as possible, so by sourcing second-hand ballet garments and accessories I have prevented these from being sent to landfill. On average the pointe shoes ballet dancers wear only last between 12-15 hours and are then discarded, so I wanted to find a way of giving the pointe shoes a new life and make the most of all the elements within the hand-crafted footwear. Within my collection I have used a lot of tulle, which is not necessarily sustainable due to the synthetic materials it is made out of; however, I designed all of my tulle patterns to be zero waste to ensure that no fabric went to waste. I also explored using ribbon within my collection and different ways I could gather the ribbon to create volume. The inspiration for this came from the ribbon used to tie around the ankles of pointe shoe dancers.