For her current series, Clay combines the roles of designer, stylist and model, delicately blurring the lines between all three. Clay’s work is rooted in imagined characters and landscapes. It is both historical and futuristic, forging hybrids of the past and future to create fictional women that she can ‘relate to’. The result is deeply personal – Clay imagines herself as various characters who inform and inspire the pieces that she creates, a process she calls ‘sentimental styling’.
A great deal can be found in the historical and contemporary representation of women’s clothes, such as how they can be used as a weapon or contrastingly as a suit of armour. Clay’s work reinvents clothes that aim to empower rather than simply to dress; something she perfects in her honouring of the wearer and their histories through her creations.
We spoke to Clay about her creative process and her interpretation of the meaning and use of clothing.
You are currently studying Fashion Communication and Promotion at Central Saint Martins, what led you into this area of study, and how are you finding it?
I felt that FCP was the best place where I could evolve my concepts. I wanted to create worlds that made me feel alive and strong. I’m not really interested in fashion per se, I’m interested in the characters and stories that clothing and space can convey. FCP has a lot of room for bold ideas and bringing new conversations to the table. This was very important to me.
Could you explain your practice – is styling your medium of choice? Do you experiment in other areas too?
Styling myself was a practical way for me to translate my ideas on a body during lockdown. I developed myself into figures, forged from myth and my reality. I want to create something that seems otherworldly and familiar. Lately, I’ve been exploring Elizabethan braiding patterns and traditional Himba hairstyles. I’m also really interested in 3D art and immersive theatre to animate my characters. I don’t expect my work to be based on fashion alone.