Posts in Art as fashion
Concrete Catwalks ~ When Art Meets Fashion

Designing the new collection is not only about creative expression but trying to use this platform to represent women ~ women of colour.

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The original images come from American Vogue, which I buy in September as it’s their major release for the up and coming seasons. The magazine is more like a book, full of advertisements by brands showcasing their latest products.

Love Inclusivity - pencil drawing with digital manipulation.

Love Inclusivity - pencil drawing with digital manipulation.

What has always struck me is the lack of diversity of women of colour in this publication, to be fair this is not the only one. Even though it is seemingly high on everyone’s agenda, there is still a clear lack of representation. It is improving but slowly.

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Flicking through the pages made me reflect on my own childhood and that of my mum and Aunty, who are both mixed race. They were adopted so any cultural alignment was severed so the only sources they could potentially align with were role models within the mass media. Sadly this was not the case. And made me think where are the role models now? Where can women of colour look? Where can they see someone similar in film, in magazines or on tv?

Girl with a Pom Pom Hat - mono print with acrylic paint.

Girl with a Pom Pom Hat - mono print with acrylic paint.

Now I am under no illusion, I know I am not able to change the world on this front. I am a solo person hoping to use my creativity to shed some light on this issue.

I hope my drawings and digital illustrations, that are printed onto t-shirts, allow this message to be communicated on the streets, creating a concrete catwalk if you like and not only held within the confines of a gallery. So the visual narrative is out there for everyone to see and support the visibility of women of colour.

Collusion of the Digital World and Painted Expressions

are becoming more and more common in  my experimental outcomes; and I am loving the process. 

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The beauty with digitized work is that you can delete it immediately if you do not like something. With paint you have to wait for it to dry before making any changes, which can be very laborious and time consuming.  So this process allows me to switch things up quickly. 

Plus it helps my impulsive nature.  

Nothing much to add, so here are some examples of what I have been playing with...  time to reflect but time to keep making ~ this is key. 

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T-shirt - Cult Culture Subversion
Fashion and Textiles Museum, Bermondsey.  T-shirt - Cult Culture Subversion Exhibition

Fashion and Textiles Museum, Bermondsey.  T-shirt - Cult Culture Subversion Exhibition

The cult status of the T-shirt has made its impression on our cultural psychic since the 1950’s although it has been in existence for a lot longer - AD 500, who knew? 

Many an artist and designer have used the T-shirt to be subversive, to communicate a message, to act as a political tool and or raise awareness of a specific topic.  

Viewing the T-shirts especially those by Vivienne Westwood was a great reminder of both my inspiration and why I created my brand in the first place. 

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It reminded me of the core concepts I wanted to create with the brand:

- inspire a conversation

- act as a performative medium within art

- art as fashion

- political activism  

- raise awareness regarding inclusion, equality and ethnic representation

 

 

T-shirts being made of the material they are serve as the perfect surface in which to be creative and showcase a message both visually and in written form.  Which was the exact reason for them being my choice of garment.  They are flexible, they can be worn casually or dressed up and they can be adorned in so many ways, the outcomes are endless.  It is an exciting medium.

 

Vivienne Westwood & Malcom McClaren 

Vivienne Westwood & Malcom McClaren 

Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren knew all too well how powerful the T-shirt could be as a political tool especially during the 1980’s at the height of Thatcherism and the mobilisation of the Punk movement. It was great seeing some of them because it reminded me of the artistic outlet that could be, the creative potential that I had only just touched upon. It was very inspiring.

Vivienne Westwood 

Vivienne Westwood 

Vivienne Westwood as a designer in her right and with her beau still use T-shirts as a platform to raise awareness of various issues around the world, notably racism in the case of the 'I am not a terrorist please don's shoot me' in response to racial profiling of Muslims and the rise in hate crime. Along with climate change, which is huge on their agenda at the moment and has been for some time. I love the fact that she is still using them as a tool in which to raise awareness. People wearing them inadvertently showcase their support either silently or by being the conversation starter literally.  This is what I would love to achieve.

 

 

 

Creating that platform is key as is getting the visibility, which is the tough part at the moment. Getting in contact with the right people is stepping stone number one, stepping stone number two is getting them to take notice...