Posts in We Are Here
Limited Edition Tie Dye T-shirt Collection

I love tie dye.

I love the patterns you can create from the way the fabric is tied. But the most exciting part is the reveal. How the colours have worked in conjunction with the tying; did it work as intended or are the outcomes completely different.

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This element of surprise if very freeing to me and I like the element of being somewhat in control but as you wait for the 24 hours to lapse you never really know what the finished piece will look like until the big reveal. But what is more exciting is that each piece, in this case the T-shirt,is completely unique, never identical to one another.

This inspired me to create my own capsule collection of tie dye T-shirts that allowed me to experiment with colour and add a screen print with my slogan on for a different aesthetic to my designs overall from previous collections. We Are Here, no longer hidden behind the brand message but out there for all to see.

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After the printing had been completed I had to plan the fashion shoot. Here I would be the photographer; wishing myself back to my degree days where I fantasised about being a fashion photographer, seeking inspiration from the likes of Corinne Day, The Face amongst many other sources.

The inspiration was my teenage years, 90’s grunge with the backdrop being Brighton. The models both live here so it made sense to shoot down there utilising the beach area and pier.

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I can’t thank the models enough, Sheri and Meera, who both did the shoot for free because they are both of mixed heritage and understood what the brand is about, empathising with my personal narrative having experienced many of the same scenarios.

They made the shoot easy and I was so happy with the visual outcomes. They both look amazing and their own personal aesthetic works so well with tie dye tops and overall styling.

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Luckily not much touching up was required just adjusting the lighting and saturation. Then to create the campaign images. Flicking through the pages of a few fashion magazines, I borrowed their simplistic compositions with the focus being on the clothes and just simple text.

I think it all works, I hope you like them too.

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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.

When Creativity Comes from Within
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Maintaining focus on the new collection whilst writing and reflecting here is more important than documenting my own development regarding understanding digital marketing here I think? You may disagree?

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Creating the ‘We Are Here’ collection was exciting because I was experimenting with my creative expression whilst keeping to the core concept of the brand about the visibility of women of colour.

Coupling the artistic element with my own experiences was cathartic because it is an ongoing internal dialogue for me especially regarding my own identity and perceptions of self.

This design, ‘Where Are you From? You Look Like You’re From…’ Is a direct response to my own experiences growing up and still to this day.

When you have mixed heritage, sometimes it may be obvious what you ethnic background is sometimes not, as is the case for my mum and I.

Most people are intrigued and can sense that we are not ‘fully English’, so it becomes a guessing game of sorts and more fun, particularly for me when the answers vary significantly.

Speaking with other mixed heritage, mostly women, about this they tell very similar stories. Especially if their heritage is of Indian descent, like my mums. They find that the most common guess is Spanish or South American too, which of course is not a problem. But again interesting as we also hear that we do not look typically Indian, whatever that is.

Either way, we are white passing which enables us to live a much more privileged life than many other people of colour. So it is important to maintain perspective on this aspect.

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This design, ‘Where Are you From? You Look Like You’re From…’ Is a direct response to my own experiences growing up and still to this day.

When you have mixed heritage, sometimes it may be obvious what you ethnic background is sometimes not, as is the case for my mum and I.

Most people are intrigued and can sense that we are not ‘fully English’, so it becomes a guessing game of sorts and more fun, particularly for me when the answers vary significantly.

Speaking with other mixed heritage, mostly women, about this they tell very similar stories. Especially if their heritage is of Indian descent, like my mums. They find that the most common guess is Spanish or South American too, which of course is not a problem. But again interesting as we also hear that we do not look typically Indian, whatever that is.

Either way, we are white passing which enables us to live a much more privileged life than many other people of colour. So it is important to maintain perspective on this aspect.

This design ‘What’s Up’ came from a linear drawing of two Indian Model from Vogue India. They were styled in traditional sari’s but had so much sass, they really captured my imagination and I knew I wanted to include them as a design.

I felt they embodied the way in which women are feeling much more empowered with not only their bodies but also their voice. Being unapologetic for their opinions and being authentically them and this is what I want to remember when I wear and look at this t-shirt. I hope others do too.

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