Posts in Art as fashion
When Creativity has a Purpose

Spontaneity comes naturally to anyone with an artistic streak I believe. The most minor of things can inspire you. Sometimes, the most significant.

The We Are Here collection was exactly that, inspired by something significant. For me anyway. The brand has always had the representation of women of colour at its core, inspired by my multi-ethnic family. However this time I wanted to expand not only the visual representation but the way in which people can identify with the designs.

We Are Here digital print t-shirt

We Are Here digital print t-shirt

We Are Here T-shirt is a design for anyone to wear, to send out a message to the viewer to literally state that they are a part of society, whether it is a point about ethnicity, gender, sexuality or disability, for example. Visibility of people is becoming the responsibility of many especially in the mass media. I believe it is essential for there to be a variety of different people represented, to show that many many people make up the fabric of the society and indeed the world in which we inhabit. Hopefully the simplicity of this design communicates its intention.

M.I.A digital print t-shirt

M.I.A digital print t-shirt

M.I.A is one of my favourite singers, who uses her platform to express herself, sing about her personal journey and be an activist for those less fortunate. I think she is incredible, both creative and inspiring as a result but also unapologetic for her stance. I admire her. This T-shirt is in honour of her. The photo from which I based the drawing on, symbolises her character, strength, controversy and beauty. She is just brilliant.

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To pay extra homage to her and her support of refugees, I teamed up with a UK charity, Refugee Action, where all of the profits will be donated to help support their cause and continue the important work they do.

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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