Holly’s work is far from just neatly ornamented objects for wearing; rather, they are a way in which to study the material culture that surrounds them. Specifically, Holly has engaged profoundly in the study of memory culture: through wearable objects, she studies the way in which objects carry memory. Her graduating project entitled Maur is a deeply personal re-working of garments that used to belong to her grandmother, whom Holly lost to cancer in the final year of her degree. “Memory, relationships and emotions have had a core relation to my work,” she reflects. “It is a massive part of my life, so it is always my first point of call for research in one way or another.”
As Holly began sorting through the clothes of her grandmother after her death, she began realising that she could bring together these carrying elements to constitute her final collection. Such a recontextualisation is celebratory, as well as an act of mourning, and Holly remembers the experience as a grieving process: “It allowed me to see parts of my Nan I had forgotten,” she says, explaining how she would discover long-lost pieces with a strong or clear memory attached to it. It resulted in a meticulous systematisation of her grandmother’s whole wardrobe, creating a sort of portrait of the woman while using her as an object of study. Holly’s work is the proof of the materiality of memory, as stories and memories are embedded and accessed through garments.