Imma: I actually met twigs haphazardly through a shoot with Matthew Stone last year. Matthew Josephs, the stylist, called me as they needed people who were comfortable wearing high heels and women’s lingerie. I went, and it turned out to be the twigs shoot. Matthew Stone took to me because of my body awareness on camera, the dance came though and he’s really into that fluidity. It was right time and the right place. twigs was there, Matthew was there, the styling was amazing and everything fell into place. At lunch, twigs and I started talking about butoh and how she had just discovered it. I’d always been a fan of her work. We exchanged numbers and from there she’s just taken me with her.
How has your experience provided you with a platform, or the opportunity to make your voice heard?
Imma: I’ve been able to inform people about the misinformation about not only people of colour in the arts, but a trans person of colour in the arts, in the fashion industry, one that’s standing for difference. It’s been intimidating at times, but really incredible. Before I deleted Instagram a month ago, I saw it as a way to convey my story, my truths. There was a certain validation that came from that, not through the comments, but through the amount of followers I would get and the constant support. I’d get messages from someone being like, ‘I’m a 13 year old trans girl and you really inspire me with the way you carry yourself, and the way you dress’. It’s amazing getting messages like that. I didn’t realise the weight of my existence prior to this. I just thought, ‘Well I’m trans and I’m going to be open about it, if I put all my shit on the table nobody can judge me’. That was my mentality, but the wrongness that I was carrying brought this positive feedback and amazing support. I couldn’t be more thankful for it.
In order to consider designing a costume it was important to take photos of a subject in different poses so we have a figure on which the costumes can be designed around. We used geometric shapes to create a costume around the figure, this can be seen in the first three photos (the full range of 12 designs can be seen on my first A1 presentation sheet). I found it fairly difficult to be particularly creative with this aspect of the product because I felt limited by using the geometric shapes. I feel like my designs would be more complex and easily envisioned had they been sketched out or built in miniature 3D. Despite this I think the photo definitely helped, without proportions to base my designs on I would have struggled more to come up with a costume that can be worn in real life. Throughout the design process I could pick out links between what ideas I used and some aspects of what other artists had done before, artists include Oskar Schlemmer, Paul Klee and the modern designer Gareth Pugh. I have discussed these links in my reflective journal. After designing 12, I narrowed down my designs to a final three, shown in the last three photos. I used the same technique of layering geometric shapes onto a photo. This time I developed my designs by incorporating ideas from others that I did not choose and playing around with 3D. Using 3D allowed me to better imagine what the design would look like on a model in real in life. It gave me a much better idea of how the costume would occupy space and move within it, which is important because it is being used in a performance. The way that the costume would move on the model and in space are key to the visual pleasure of the performance. I also sketched out my 3 final ideas because I felt like it would mimic traditional fashion design sketches, it was a method of illustration which I thought would be interesting to incorporate into such an abstract project. This is mainly because it combines a very traditional style of work into a more avant garde project. In my designs I opted to use a combination of ‘sharp’ shapes such as squares and triangles and ‘soft’ shapes such as ovals and circles. My thought process behind this is that I would demonstrate this juxtaposition of ‘sharp’ and ‘soft’ through movement during the performance. I thing a mixture of gentle and sudden movements will make the performance varied and engaging.
Ok, going with a white theme now. [Because, goth af amiright?]
These pieces are all by the wonderfully talented Gareth Pugh. I decided, as many if not the vast majority of pictures I find myself inspired by are indeed his more gothic (and so, dark) pieces, I should put together something a little more out my comfort zone and find some light, more specifically, white, pieces to talk about and find inspiration in. So, here we are. Pieces.
Many of these I believe to be from the same collection, so I’ll talk about those first. I love the curved pleats, and the way he often uses black to accentuate the white and split up the garment into pieces. The pleats and layers also add an unusual structure and silhouette to each garment.
The “skulls” and “star” are again from the same collection, and, if I’m not mistaken, so is the black and white checkered dress at the top. These, I LOVE. The chessboard like affect gives a beautiful size distortion to the dress, tucking it in at the waist and flaring over the legs. The “skull” dresses are much the same kind of dress, but instead the eye is drawn to the large headpieces- which are strikingly bold. The “Star” dresses (I have many images but only chose the white one) are innovative- the star itself wrapping round the torso and making it seem unlike that which the shape actually is. The points of the star accentuate the model’s form and indeed, the shape of the rest of the dress.
The other pieces I won’t go into great detail on, but the odd fabrics of the wrapped dress, and the professional and formal elements of the collection of whites, greys and blacks work incredibly well and i could imagine would fit well in a formal environment- sharp edges and clean fabrics give it a great effect.
I’ve began experimenting with my mood board layout. I absolutely love the contrast between the traditional, aged Oxford style against the more clinical geometrical new builds. I’ve also started looking into designers such as Gareth Pugh and Winde Rienstra to help influence my ideas. I’m still looking for a good Japanese designer to base my work under as there are so many intriguing options. I’m going to keep the few I have in mind to one side until I’ve gotten further into the project, this will help to give me me fluidity as to the designs I’m most interested in creating, instead of basing a collection on somebody else’s work I can simply use theirs as an essence of influence.