My ethos as a designer is to use my platform to bring awareness to bigger issues. When I approach a project I look at how the narrative can be used to tackle an issue. I believe it is important that my work has a deeper meaning and I have a good knowledge on how garments can support a message.
As a pattern cutting specialist, I enjoy working on the stand with fabrics to create a silhouette, this enables me to understand the fit, structure and drape of a fabric to compliment the technical pattern cutting side. I gravitate to pattern cutting as a way to develop designs and understand technical processes in an organic and thorough way, I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of turning complex designs into flat patterns. Military garments inspire me, the functionality provides endless opportunities to explore garments that tell a story through the cut, construction and fabrics.
On the dress were military stamps from when it was a functioning parachute, using these stamps as a starting point I was able to track the history of the parachute back to the 174 RAF Squadron. This research led me to discover the Frank’s Anti-Blackout Suit, the first G-Suit designed in 1940. The Anti-Blackout suit inspired me to get creative and bring footwear into the collection, as the original suit has built in boots which is what drove me to design a suit and trousers with built in stiletto’s.
The historical garments represented a time in British society that deemed men as strong, powerful protectors. Whilst working on this collection the story of a then missing Sarah Everard began to unfold, after learning of what happened to her and statistic of 97% of women suffering from sexual harassment it became important to me that my collection promotes a positive change to women’s safety. Juxtaposing out of date values with social injustice allowed me to create a personal and deep narrative.
Using the parachute to moulage silhouettes urged me to use sustainable practices as a base in my approach to design. The research and development process can create a lot of waste, particularly as a hands on designer. I work on the stand throughout a project, so it became important to me that I change my practices when going into my final collection. When sourcing for toiles and sampling I used second-hand bedding and leftover fabrics from old work. For the collection itself fabrics and trims have been sourced from deadstock companies. The parachute also inspired key details in my final collection such as run and fell seams, and the key drawstring detail featured throughout. When moulaging the parachute the volume of fabric meant that any silhouette hung down with the weight of the fabric, in order to give garments an aerated, voluminous shape I decided to put in a drawstring that would gather the fabric into organic layers.