Posts tagged WoC
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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Why Your T-shirts?
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This is a question that I have been asked a couple of times recently.  

I think there may be a disconnect between what people see and what they hear. 

Usually people assume I am Spanish  / Latin American so why are you making garments about visibility of women from different ethnic backgrounds? What does that have to do with you? 

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If you have been following my narrative then you are familiar with the story. If not, in a nutshell, my mum is half Indian and half English and adopted with no indication of her heritage. My ethnicity is more diluted due to my father being white. However I did not escape the racial bullying prominent in the 80’s - paki, black B&*%£ etc.

So where does that leave me?  

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It makes me think about my motives for starting the brand, the rational behind it and my own narrative.

I wanted the brand to be more about me, about women, about inclusion, about a social message.

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Therefore, I need to really think about how that narrative plays out, how I articulate it correctly and authentically.

From the heart.