When I was 16 I changed my name for the first time. Taking control of identity is a recurring theme in my work, and the way humans choose to define and present our identities to each other is a huge inspiration to me. I have a love for all kinds of people and as they are my species, inspiration is all around.
As a designer, it's important to me that people know I am a lesbian as it is essential to the outcome of my work. I feel that my sexuality has a huge influence on my signature as a designer and gives me a unique perspective in the fashion world as womenswear especially is still designed with the male gaze at the forefront. My background is in art and design and after leaving college I spent a year printmaking before deciding I wanted to expand my skillset. My work as a fashion student often falls into the category of wearable art rather than practical garment design due to my blend of skills.
My focus for this project is body modification including piercing, scarification and other manipulation of the body. As a species we have a primal urge to physically alter and adorn ourselves and these practises connect us across cultures and throughout history. My initial research was inspired heavily by the book Modern Primitives. Through interviews and a huge archive of photographs, it describes the extreme ways people are drawn to alter their bodies in pursuit of alternative beauty and spirituality.
The word Bodification also describes the relationship my work has to the wearer. Each outfit is made up of the individual pieces I call Bodifiers. These pieces extend, alter and exaggerate the body. Through this process, the wearer becomes more than a body. They become Bodified. As this is a body focused concept, I wanted to focus on BODIES which is why I have chosen to make this a plus size collection. I want to put the spotlight on alternative beauty and to command the space with sizes over a UK 20.
I designed several accesories for my collection including knitted balaclavas, leather harnesses, and oversize metal piercing rings and barbells. For the harnesses, I chose a veg tanned crust leather. This is a leather that has been tanned naturally and left in the unfinished state with no surface coating applied. Because of this, the original texture of the skin including pores and imperfections are visible, and as the skin is exposed to the elements it will age and change giving it a very organic and living quality that ties in with my concept perfectly. The design of the giant jewellery pieces was extremely important as I wanted them to be strong and able to support hanging accessories without adding too much weight to the garment overall. I chose chromed copper pipe as it is easily formed into shape, is lightweight while still being strong and the chrome coating gives it a striking finish. I'm very pleased with how they turned out and I feel they really solidify the concept and make an impact.