Representing the creative future

Work In Progress: Colin Horgan

Originally from Ireland where he earned his BA, Colin Horgan has a few intense months ahead: he is working to complete the MA Fashion at the RCA, and prepares for the show in June. Heading into the final stretch, Colin’s got motherhood on his mind. The collection is shaping up to be a revved-up take on the maternal. It’s an elevated follow-up to his past work with fire-engine red leather trousers, bold-patterned motorcycle uniforms and helmets. This time around, Colin explains, “I think the technique I went with is more polished and precise. I have really pushed myself in terms of what I am trying to say about me.”

Shimmering iridescent straps are swirled into tweaked organic geometrics, curved around the body. Mother as larger-than-life superhero. Colin’s creative output is as dynamic as his design work. Not only will he reveal this techno reinvention of motherhood in June, but he also plans to release original music simultaneously with the RCA show.

What is your background prior to the MA?

I’m originally from Ireland and completed by BA there. It was a small university but was a great starting point for me. My home is in the south of Ireland, which is a small and tightly knitted community. My current MA work is so elevated and exaggerated that every now and then I need to go home for a bit of grounding. Being in college from Monday to Sunday starts to feel like a bubble – reality and normality can feel foreign.

How did your background inform your work at the RCA?

In the beginning of the first year my whole concept was based around the idea of ‘Comfort Zones’. To a degree it was more a personal journey of reality versus fantasy. I was constantly testing myself with limitations in both my work and my personal life. My background became a focal point of tests to push whether my own comfort zone was something to retreat to, or whether it moves with you as you learn… I found my answer, which allowed my work to take a more instinctive approach – especially with the final collection.

Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

In the grand scheme of things you can’t do everything on your own… and I learnt that very quickly. There is a period of time towards our deadline, where first years need to do an ‘internship’ with a second year. I had a girl called Holly Jane Smith who was fantastic to work with. We really had a good relationship and I think when people are on the same common ground, it becomes like a collaboration of dialogue and practice.

What was the starting point for your final collection?

My starting point came from my last project where I was exploring within my comfort zones, ‘Temporary Mothers’. The main idea for it was the replacement of my own mother, with women who were both physically and virtually minding me as a child while growing up. It was originally supposed to be a huge physical archive, but had to be filtered down due to time and being more committed to a smaller number.

How did your idea develop?

The idea became more interesting and fascinating to me as I was giving the physical and virtual women an equal platform. I wanted my collection to highlight organic shapes which represent portions of reality, with super technical pieces which represent the technological women. I also have a background in music production, so with the women I can’t make clothes for I have compensated and dedicated an album, which will be released on all major music apps and vinyl the same day as the RCA Final Show. I think it will be a good way to combine that whole package in both the visual and aural spheres.

How would you like the wearer of your clothes to feel?

Dangerous, elevated, sexy.

How are your sculptural pieces related to the more wearable items?

The sculptural pieces are highlights of extensions, with the more wearable pieces acting as echos and shadows that would allow the viewer more access to my fantasy. It is a nice way of getting people involved. If someone can’t wear the sculptural piece, the skirt underneath is an easier way of buying into my world.