New Waves: Georgia Stevens
“I don’t follow fashion, I’m not really a fashion person,” is something you might hear from just about anyone working in the industry, but in the case of Georgia Stevens, it might actually be true.
Despite having known since the age of seven that this was what she wanted to do, Georgia was never interested in making clothes for the sake of making clothes; neither did she aim to create purely wearable garments that would be well received by the public or the industry. Her perspective on fashion comes from a refreshingly interdisciplinary angle, and she’s looking to expand the definition and practice of what fashion can be. “It shouldn’t necessarily have to be about wearable clothes. It can be music, an installation, an opportunity for the normal to collide with the abnormal. I see clothes as a form of art made on the body.”
These ideas of creative fluidity and juxtaposition of the conventional and the unconventional come across quite strikingly in her work. Her graduate collection was inspired by the perception of the catwalk as a form of ritual, which she argues used to be a spectacle but has progressively been stripped down to its bare minimum. Her idea was to explore this ritualistic element without taking a personal stand on whether it was a good or a bad thing. This conceptual exploration coincided with a process of creative self-discovery which came about through a highly instinctive and spontaneous method of working. “My final collection ended up being something completely different from anything I’d previously done. I used to be really into Ann Demeulemeester, Haider Ackermann and Scandi designers, so I tended to drift towards that up until final year, but my research took me in a completely different direction. All of a sudden, I was creating this very colourful, over-the-top aesthetic, using materials I used to hate, like lace.”
In terms of technique, Georgia is everything but an overthinker. Her collection is the result of visceral spontaneity and instinctive reaction to sound and movement. “I listen to music and react to the sounds by trying to create a parallel between the sonic characteristics of what I’m hearing and the tactile element of the fabric. For example, lace is evocative of softer, more delicate sounds whereas leather translates into something harder, heavier. I work in a way that is quite physical, hands-on and definitely not over-rationalised.” The biggest struggle in the whole process? Turning her conceptual “mess” of a creation into something that’s actually wearable. “Translating something that’s so spontaneous and all over the place into a simplified garment can be quite limiting.”
Asked about her favourite artists, Georgia replies: “PJ Harvey is my muse. I love her music, but also her style on stage ‒ she wears a lot of Ann Demeulemeester. She’s the woman I’d ideally like to dress.” Among her favourites are also Elastica, and anything from post-punk or new wave music to D’Angelo. “And…you can’t forget about Britney of Christina!” (She’s only half joking).
In the future, she wants to pursue her MA, and potentially move to Copenhagen or somewhere where she feels her work and way of thinking could be fully understood. Rather than establishing her own conventional brand, she would be more interested in creating an interdisciplinary collective that would bring together artists, irrespective of the medium through which they choose to express their vision. Once again, her love of creative freedom and her refusal to see fashion as a unilateral form of self-expression comes across quite vividly. Georgia’s artistic ethos is not one to be confined.