TIME TO REBUILD ৷ COLLECTION CONCEPT

Time to Rebuild was my third consecutive lockdown collection, and for the third time all fabrics used were stock fabrics. I again explored my creativity with limited fabrics, trimmings and techniques, only using techniques that could be employed within my design studio, without any external collaboration.

My first lockdown collection Homebound focused on loungewear as our activities had all moved indoors; at a time when we were in a state of shock, fear and isolation. The second lockdown collection Old Lace, New Life was about moving towards the more creative space of the pandemic and focused on sustainable creativity: upcycling reclaimed old lace to create a new wardrobe. Time to Rebuild was designed at the time of the start of the vaccine rollout and is therefore more forward looking. In contrast to Homebound, Time to Rebuild is a series of garments intended to be worn outdoors in a more socially interactive context. Time to Rebuild is a celebration of hope towards the return to social activity.

This collection also came about at a time when I was involved with whistleblowing regarding discrimination at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. I felt a new-found sense of confidence, certainty, and a desire to return to my architectural roots and explore fashion from a very architectural angle. I wondered if over the years I suppressed this side of myself as a designer, as I had always associated that side of me with self-doubt; as I felt I had now greatly resolved those psychological issues, I wanted to very boldly design a collection that was architectural.

Inspired by Miro’s Constellations, which I saw and experienced at the Acquavella galleries in New York a few years ago, this collection returns to a structural focus in design. I discussed my experience of the Constellations in my blog at the time.

I am conceptually inspired by the Constellations, using a linear principle as a guiding tool throughout the collection. The line which creates structure in the Constellations, being a common denominator and a link between themes, is similarly being employed in this collection. The line is rhythmic and transformative; changing in meaning and purpose from start to finish, yet also, the key to Miro’s line is that it is always a unifying factor. Thus, it is both transforms and unites. This is the principle which I find exciting and which I have explored. Regarding the Bartlett revelations, this concept is also applicable, in that all survivors are connected through a line in that the line becomes a symbol for interconnectivity between all the survivors of misconduct. My take on the Constellations included observations around the issue of equality, diversity and inclusion.

The collection title Time to Rebuild refers to two things. Firstly, to the hopeful and forward-looking stage of the pandemic when the collection was designed where artists could anticipate 'rebuilding' after a period of hiatus which hindered many in the arts. And secondly, to the Bartlett revelations and what it meant for the state of architectural higher education at UCL and more widely in terms of the need to reform.

Two examples of Miro's Constellations accompanied by details The first work's detail portrays a crescent, cross and star which could be seen as symbolising the harmonious co-existence of three of the world's main religions. The second work's detail portrays what appears to be masculine and feminine body parts, some being ambiguous and thus a play on gender fluidity