I was inspired by the class structure and divide that is so prevalent in many societies around the globe, an issue that has recently been highlighted more recently due to the global pandemic. I used this theme to create a collection that explores the ideas of balance and imbalance within society to create a statement for other to learn from.
It also has a message about ethical standards within the leather industry, being manufactured with leather from within the UK and EU. My message is to create discourse around the need for growth and development within society and to bring to light the large divide between those of different classes and what brings this about.
When researching my dissertation, I was intrigued by the trickle up effect and the fetishisation of working- class subcultures; notably how their style is adopted by luxury fashion houses. I noticed that from this point particular styles, like sportswear and streetwear, became more fashionable to wear. Previously it may have been viewed in bad taste. For me this emphasised the divide between classes, and I used this idea to create a body of work inspired by class divide and structure.
My second source of research was the idea of balance and imbalance. I took inspiration from the balancing of shapes and objects, as well as studying how some materials or objects crimp or collapse. I was highly inspired by how clay folds. I used this to experiment with leather movement and pleats. The direction of my collection became clear, and I incorporated these pleats, as well as high quality craftsmanship, with the utilitarian aspect of streetwear to create a contemporary collection.
I was using the pleats as a conceptual representation of the instability of society and structured shapes to suggest the juxtaposing stability it can also have. I sampled different pleating techniques and experiment with the complexity of them. First folding the leather in my hands and then moving on to combine them with rigid structure. I also sampled the different effects that could be achieved by folding the leather in different types and thicknesses. I then investigated different ways that the pleats could be sewn into seams and collars so that the fluidity of the folds weren’t disrupted. I went on to combine these ideas with materials and hardware, such as webbing, inspired by pervious streetwear collection to create a successful and directional collection.