What were your experiences like growing up in South London?
To put it briefly, my experiences were a combination of harsh realities alongside gaining a strong cultural belonging. It was all about knowing where your loyalties lie. You learnt how best not to be a target and to develop banter as a deflection, determination, community, and communication. The experiences I witnessed or was involved in, were some of my game changers and have made me the person that I am today. In hindsight, I am grateful for all of them and I’m proud of my south London roots!
What are some stigmas or misconceptions you’ve had to face and how has that affected you either personally or artistically?
Mate, there has been many! Just culturally I was different from the white working class in my area, all my friends were from different countries and nations. Bermondsey was predominantly a National Front. A lot of behaviour was frowned upon, so your awareness was always heightened. As a result of this balancing act, there is always a fine line between right and wrong in my work, and I feel that I tread this line between the super real and the grounded: always wishing to remove myself from what I consider normality. I consequently create clothing which is everything we may not expect: no stigmas attached.
Where did you study before and how did you end up at the Royal College of Art?
I studied BA Fashion Atelier at University for the Creative Arts, Rochester. It was mainly construction based and I had to be very technical and methodical about draping, drafting, and finishings. I never planned to do a master’s in the beginning, until a tutor of mine, amongst others, helped me realise it was possible. I was still on my BA at the time, so for the last two months I was coming home from collection-making to work on the RCA project until early hours of the morning and then waking up at 7am to do it all again: I looked a mess, ha!