Kirsten Webber (she/her)
By utilising traditional tailoring methods with a focus on cut, silhouette and construction I intend to balance originality of concept with design viability. My designs have a duality inbuilt within them, that combines and blurs the lines between traditionally ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’. Playing with these confines and challenging them is what motivates me as a designer.
I want to demonstrate a commitment to minimising environmental impact. By opposing and resisting mainstream cultural practices concerning the unsustainable models of fast fashion that have become the norm and celebrating a slowing down of fashion, I want to increase fashions longevity. I intend to do this by creating bespoke pieces that champion traditional techniques and methods of working. I was fortunate to have acquired reclaimed remnants and fabrics from Alexander McQueen and Alexandra Park Interiors, a local interior design company, which I will use in my collection.
The influence of dress in transgressing stereotypes relating to Scottish culture and gender identity
Visiting The National Museum of Scotland’s exhibition ‘Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland’ prompted a series of questions concerning the romanticisation of Scottish culture, the reinforcement of cliches in the media and the impact of these ‘defining’ images of Scotland in contemporary society. Focusing on the transformative power of clothing and its correlation with identity and liberation I explore how memory, nostalgia and melancholy are intertwined with the haunting quality of romanticism, that poetically embodies the repressed or dissociated past. Drawing inspiration from the juxtaposition of past and present; masculine and feminine; strength and softness and structure and fluidity, my collection embodies an other worldliness that is highly romanticized, dark and wistful . By combining elements from both perspectives allows a dialogue to resonate about progressive change regarding the gender binary and the constructs used by society to limit individuality, creativity and self-expression.
My research also illustrates the symbiotic relationship between fashion and dance. Reinforcing the important role it plays in destabilising and re-configuring gender identities and cultural boundaries.
Evoking a sense of the Scottish landscape through embroidery and fabric choices was incredibly important in creating a strong sense of atmosphere while simultaneously capturing a sense of the macabre in a highly romantic way. I had the opportunity to develop my own digital print for the trousers for look 6. The twisted thorns featured in the design evoke a sense of atmosphere in its ornateness and emptiness. The use of light and transparency contributes to the hauntingly eerie atmosphere. When reviewing provisional fabric choices, I have interrogated and referenced elements of tartan fabric and its practical applications in my work. I wanted to subtly reference it in a way that encapsulates Scottish identity without reinforcing cliches and stereotypes. By stripping away colour and making the collection monochromatic removes a sense of identity and the false romantic, stereotypical associations with the clans if Scotland.