Vanesa Gjini’s collection Sworn Virgins is a love letter to her home country of Albania. “Sworn Virgins are women with limited options in life who have sworn a life-long oath of chastity to “become” men, taking on the appearance of men, entitled to the same rights as men and socially accepted in the Albanian culture as men”, she says. “The idea of my collection is quite personal since it is part of the culture where I come from. I wanted to celebrate this within my work.” Her work is putting an emphasis on trousers by using deadstock pieces and transforming them into new garments. Some of the sworn virgins refuse to dress like the traditional male in trousers and suit jacket and wear traditional clothing instead, which consists of skirt and trousers to cover the legs. Another key element of Vanesa’s collection is the worship of craftmanship, by using crochet techniques. “Albanian women spend their childhood hunched over fabric, needle in hand, learning to crochet doilies and embroider designs on tablecloths. I have up-cycled old family crochet doilies which most Albanian families use to decorate their tables into new modern items,” she says. The final strong element of her collection is the vision of transparency, communicated through organza, a fabric as delicate as traditional femininity.