Did you always want to be a fashion designer?
Actually, at first, I thought I’d become an artist. But you know how everyone says it’s a difficult industry to make it in? So I figured fashion was a good middle ground—if for any reason my work wouldn’t find an audience, at least I could take a different turn and work for a company or something. I really wanted to go to CSM, and ended up applying three times before they let me in.
When did you know you would go on to explore unorthodox aesthetics?
What my body of work is currently informed by—the fluffy, cushiony entwining dresses—sort of all happened during the pandemic. Back then I just found myself at home and, like everyone, I had to do my BA collection quarantined in my flat. Now it may sound cliché, but I was meditating a lot and used my practice as a way to translate the way my body felt inside: all over the place emotionally. I’ve let this feeling shape and lead the designs as a representation of the emotional baggage we carry around with us.
“Given how the dresses I make are flamboyant and extravagant and not necessarily suited for the every day, it can be challenging to actually sell them.”
What was the reception from your peers and people online for this particular style?
Obviously, I didn’t get to show it to the class as I normally would have if it wasn’t of lockdown, but then when people from the industry started reaching for photoshoots, I realised that I was on to something. The first shoot I’ve done was AnOther’s A Celebration of Emerging Designers editorial, and I don’t think I’ve ever been that excited in my life. They were so supportive and guided me through the whole process of presenting my work, such as finding names for the looks etc. I think that changed things for me. As a designer, you sort of need someone in an influential position to be like: “Hey, check this out”.
The aesthetic you’ve brought forth sort of put you on the creative side of the industry. How’s that been?
True, it lent itself to editorials. Artistic-wise, it’s amazing. But given how the dresses are flamboyant and extravagant and not necessarily suited for the every day, it can be challenging to actually sell them.
“As designers, we get exposure and publicity from shoots, but that doesn’t pay. And so as much as I love what I do, I have to find an area that brings money because now it isn’t really financially feasible.”
How do you deal with that?
Well, it’s extremely challenging. The support from some stylists, editors, and photographers have been incredibly helpful. As designers, we get exposure and publicity from shoots, but that doesn’t pay. And so as much as I love what I do, I have to find an area that brings money because now it isn’t really financially feasible. Hence why I’ve just released a capsule collection of more wearable pieces that are basically toned-down versions of the fluffy dress. Other than that, I might one day end up doing straight-up art, which is what I wanted to do from the beginning. I’ve done a few sculptural wall pieces in the past and that went well. Making furniture could be really fun, too. It’s just that now I find myself in a weird space between art and fashion where it’s actually neither. It’s like, no one is going to buy one of my dresses to put it in their living room…
Yet is this what you were hoping for in the first place: to have the liberty and freedom to create what you want?
Yes. That’s always been a very important part and bit for me. I wouldn’t want to find myself in a position where I’d be obliged to do things a certain way, just “because that’s how things work”. I have fellow designer friends who are stocked in shops that sort of end up having a say on their creative direction. To an extent, that’s great. But as designers, finding the balance between making a living and keeping our integrity can be quite a challenge. If it was just about the money I could have just gone working in an office. It has to remain stimulating and exciting creatively speaking.
Has Instagram been helpful in promoting your work?
I mean, it definitely helped a lot. It’s not so much about how many followers you’ve got but more so about who follows you. If there are editors and stylists who keep track of your work it might eventually fit the project they’re working on. Practically everything I’ve done was through Instagram. If it wasn’t for that, the projects I’ve worked on probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise. It’s a whole network of contacts.