Give the 1st year fashion and jewellery kids at Central Saint Martins a collaboration topic like ‘exquisite corpse’ and the chance is big that output collections become somewhat macabre. The term itself derives from a Surrealist game invented in the early 20th century, in which “players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal part of the writing, and then pass it to the next player for a further contribution.” Naturally, this developed into an image-driven counterpart, and here today, we see the fruits of it come into a physical manifestation. With project titles like Modern Medusa, Surveillance Scrubs or Apocalyptic Armour bringing certain ideas to mind, we decided to find out more about the CSM take on the term.
Our main concept for the project was the theme ‘Organic versus Manmade’. This came from all of us being very inspired by the Hunterian Museum, and the armour in the Wallace Collection. Our narrative was based on a girl preparing for her death, ultimately, as our work suggests the moment before an apocalypse. Being suited up with armour-like protection: jacket and metallic jewellery, as well as wearing her nicest dress underneath, possibly for her funeral.
Our concept was focused on the dystopian world, in which people are divided into two groups: the elite and the poor. It is a world lacking oxygen, so both classes need to supply their own oxygen through plants.
We explored the theme of tribes, inspired by the Kibbo Kift exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. We decided to look at ourselves as a tribe under the idea of ‘Digital Natives’; a term used to describe our generation, who were brought up with technology as a part of daily life. We wanted to create an outfit that would allow a digital native to survive out in the urban environment. We wanted to critique the way we rely on technology for almost everything, but also how unrefined it is. For example, we have so many cables for all our equipment and so many cards for different things, and so our look contained loads of pockets and holsters for cables, phones. The jewellery was a QR code which when scanned, directed you to the digital natives Instagram. And there’s a wire neck and back brace which encourages good posture, by preventing the wearer from slouching or hanging their head to look at their phone.
Our concept was based on nature taking over man, using experimental processes such as growing crystals, magnetised iron and expanding foam. We created a mining-inspired garment with structural forms growing on to it.
The concept was about trying to create a modern-day monster. We used a graphic description of medusa as our initial muse for the project. We themed our research around mythical monstrosity, which was triggered by the fluid concrete stone sculptures at the Revelation exhibition. This led us to the concrete choice of medusa, because she turns her victims into stone statues, frozen forever.
Our project was about deconstructed identity. It was based on a research of how we live in a surveillance environment, because in a way, our identity is shown everywhere in public. Our concept is about hiding your identity in the public.
Photography by Lydia Hartshorn