This body of work is a protest against racial profiling, paying tribute to my heritage of the Windrush Generation. Representing inclusion and ethnic diversity. Creating clothing which hopes to empower and protect men defending themselves in protest but also in everyday life.
Personally, the work I create innately stems from individual experience, the need to tell a story, that raises awareness. I cannot see myself ever being a part of something which does not actively stand-up for diversity, equality and liberty. So, at the very least, to do myself, my family and our culture proud: this collection will express an individual’s right to belong, to feel safe and be comfortable in clothing which they feel represents them. This collection focuses heavily on textile manipulation, specialising in screen print, innovating expressive, boldly graphic and colourful imagery.
Exploring historical Windrush imagery along with stories told by my Grandparents, I was struck by their clear desire to adopt impressive, acceptable attire, which became their armour. Obsessing over how they brought beloved possessions with them I wanted to create garments/accessories to help you carry your life with you. Making me think about what black men wear, carry today to prevent them being racially profiled, Stopped and Searched. What can they wear to protest safely against this discrimination?
Research I conducted shows some black men feel they cannot wear certain garments in public because of racist attitudes which could compromise their safety. Provoking me to comment on stereotyped tracksuits and hoods to encourage people to wear whatever they desire despite negative attitudes but also ensuring these items protect your identity. Including elements of suiting, formal dress to empower and juxtapose racial stereotypes. Reflecting on clothing my Grandad wore to protect himself from prejudice.
A constant reminder to remember the people of Windrush and the injustice facing Black People. Referencing Black Lives Matter protest imagery and text found on Windrush luggage tags to pay homage to the struggle whilst creating a feeling of strength. As a designer I am interested in the unique reasons why we chose to wear, what we do. For men, such as my brother, father and grandad, the reasons can sometimes be down to the need: to prove you wrong, to defend themselves, to matter, for their culture. At the Black Lives Matter protests I studied all the people there and then looked at images of the events and compared them to images of the Tottenham Riots, in both incidents a lot of police were present. I wondered perhaps if the men were wearing smart suiting contrary to racial prejudice would this make them less likely to be noticed by the police and more likely for them to stay and continue fighting for justice in the protest? Which is why I am primarily focusing on mixing the traditional tailoring with mo