Sarah’s transitory position between knitwear and womenswear (and now, also menswear) is reflected in her idiosyncratic engagement with the traditional craft. She applies her skillful hand onto a glittery, whimsical and naïve universe of quintessentially ‘cheap’ materials, spontaneous DIY ornamentation and hoarding silhouettes. Her graduate collection celebrates the garish and gaudy but transcends it in to a refreshing reinvigoration of materials. It all started when she back in Liverpool overheard a conversation, ‘if it doesn’t sparkle I don’t buy it’. “I loved the phrase and how it conveyed such a Liverpudlian sense of humor,” she explains. Sticking to this mantra led her to research 1970s glam culture, an in particular, the androgynous style of David Bowie, Mark Bolan and Patti Smith – and a visit to the Glam exhibition at Tate Liverpool furthermore stimulated her excitement for this aesthetic. “I have always been interested in subcultures, so after visiting the exhibition I decided to research how the fans could emulate their idols through flamboyant dress. This led me to discover Martin Parr’s series of photographs of fans recreating their looks of their idols.”
Central to British glam culture is of course the cross-gender expression, immortalised by Bowie’s agendered costumes and the fluidity of sexuality and gender in popular culture at the time. “I wanted to experiment with gender roles throughout my collection, particularly how they can be challenged,” Sarah expresses, as she praises the legacy of Bowie and Bolan. “They dressed effeminately without fearing society’s expectations of gender roles. I wanted my collection to have no gender boundaries, and make people question what is or isn’t acceptable and why in today’s society.“ In the same spirit, her graduate collection was presented on models of both genders, carrying the alluring garments with same panache, pride and humor. Reinvigorating the sense of subcultural dressing, Sarah always imagines the creation of her own subculture, as she designs for herself and her sister, herself a Fashion Textiles student at Central Saint Martins.
“I WAS INSPIRED BY MEN IN THE 70S, SUCH AS DAVID BOWIE AND MARC BOLAN, AND HOW THEY DRESSED EFFEMINATELY WITHOUT FEARING SOCIETY’S EXPECTATIONS OF GENDER ROLES.“