My design work focusses on playing with texture through the use of traditional knit, crochet and embellishment techniques. The aim was to empower women, through designing and producing garments that emphasise historical tradition whilst combining this with elements of modern clothing to appeal to a 21st century customer.
As a woman in the 21st century, this collection explores a personal desire to gain a deeper understanding into the extensive and varied groups of women that got us to the position we are in today. Personal research into my family heritage has led be to discover smaller social groups of Irish and Scottish women such as the Newhaven Fishwives that had their own individual way of dressing, both for practicality and style, that has been lost in the modern day. I aim create new and interesting surface textiles that would appeal to a high-end 21st century consumer whilst still conserving tradition.
Through observing certain religious tradition when working abroad in Switzerland, at Easter for example, where members of the town would wear historical religious dress and parade around the streets for several days every evening, this captivation began. Although not necessarily applicable in terms of religion, I found it fascinating to analyse this conservation of tradition; it made me question my own my own family history and how certain tradition had perhaps been lost through the generations.
As well as Celtic symbolism, Aran cables were a personally important inspiration due to the meanings behind each individual one, encoding the knitwear for the observer, and helping to build a story through the garment. Through combining historical embellishment techniques, in the form of beading and embroidery, with knitwear through weaving or otherwise, I aim create new and interesting surface textiles.
When creating my own knitted fabrics, I have always been interested in the surface hand-feel and textures. This collection features a variety of natural yarns that have been manipulated through washing or brushing and then embellished to create these interesting textures. Each garment was fully considered and developed through paying close attention to design features; this can be seen in details such as hand-made Dorset Buttons as well as beaded trims. I aimed to use inspiration from traditional Celtic textiles and combine this with modern techniques in order to create fabrics that would appeal to a 21st Century consumer. Most of the yarns used in these garments were deadstock natural yarns in order to try to stay sustainable throughout the design process as much as possible.