Innes Thomson is a recent fashion design graduate from Fife, Scotland. Her optimistic outlook that a better future is attainable drives her design process. Through experimentation with unorthodox textiles, and strong narrative Innes' graduate project embodies a stylistically naive yet technically skilled and considered body of work.
I had to fall out of love to fall back in love with the fashion again. Lockdown allowed me a lot of time for reflection on the aspects of the industry I didn’t like, and I realised I could only continue in fashion if I was effecting a positive change. My project acts as a manifesto for what I value moving forward; collaboration, community, craft, and conscious design.
Inspired by the Pict tribe that lived on the hill behind my home, I began to think a lot about how ancient civilisations would have lived with the landscape. As the Picts had no known written language, this led me to consider the importance that communication holds to keep tradition and knowledge alive. This prompted research into the hypothetical scenario that instead of the in-dustrial revolution, we followed an approach of the ancient knowledge of our ancestors – working with nature and not against it.
From this stemmed many avenues but focusing in on, the shared sense of melancholy amongst Scottish people around the loss of the “old ways” and culture, the importance of community and collaboration, symbiosis between humans and the land, and human essence. Through personal experience, Scottish poetry, and a yearning for change ANCESTOR was born.
In my research of textile communities and traditional crafts I became interested in the ways in which unorthodox materials may be used in a fashion setting. I began working with willow as it is a wonderful plant that grows easily up and down the UK and I believed that the properties it holds, such as flexibility and durability, would lend itself to fashion. Aside from its physical attributes, willow is beneficial to the environment. It is fast growing, and as it grows it filters the pollutants from the earth and nearby water sources as it does so. Being a wholly natural material also means it is accounted for after its lifespan. Another craft I took inspiration from was the Shetland art of taatit rugs. I hand-tufted my pattern pieces onto burlap. It was a labour of love, but the final outcomes encapsulate the both the cheerful optimism for the future, and the naive essence of ancient art I came across in my research. The shapes come from my stylised interpretation of the mycelium network.