The cycle of photographing, printing, sculpting, and photographing again worked much like a chain reaction, every moment anticipating and catalyzing new ideas for the next. But the pandemic drew the process to a halt as she could no longer access the studio space sufficient for her full-scale development. Confined to working in her flat, she adjusted by planning her installations in miniature dioramas that model the art gallery, inspired formally by 18th-century paper peep shows. These studies take skillful advantage of their papery format. For example, one imagines two full-scale photographs placed on the floor with silhouetted cut-outs raised in perpendicular, an effect that would have been much more difficult to achieve in full-scale.
“You need to ask yourself what you mean by ‘fashion.’”
The uncompromising formalism and non-clothing format of her work invites some existential questions on the limits of what qualifies as fashion. Grew distances herself from any generalizations, encouraging all young designers to self-reflect. “You need to ask yourself what you mean by ‘fashion,’” she says. For her it simply means “to make forms for the body.” By making corporeal forms instead of clothes, Grew escapes the commercializing and commoditizing logics of the fashion industry, prioritizing the experience of making over final products. “I’ve always enjoyed making and building. It just feels natural.” Remaining grounded in the making process without fixating on outcomes, Grew keeps her work malleable, always in flux, never as static as her photographic source material.
“I’m proud that I managed to accomplish everything from my desk.”
While deeply committed to staying present in the here and now, Grew’s graduate project is nonetheless immured in an uncertain future tense, laying plans for installations and environments that she cannot fully realize under the conditions of the pandemic. Still, she is content for now with the small-scale plans. “I’m proud that I managed to accomplish everything from my desk.”