My collection reflects the key concept of re-engaging with the natural world as our only option for the survival of the planet and our future on it. The need to arrive at a new equilibrium between nature and the human-made world is reflected in a balance of natural, manufactured and waste materials in the final pieces. My own mixed heritage was the starting point for this collection. I ‘RTRND’ to South Africa, the birthplace of my mother, and to Ireland, the birthplace of my father, to gather material examples of how human cultures have interacted with their raw environments. Confined to my bedroom during the pandemic, listening to Jungle Music (which also originated in bedrooms during the 1990s) provided an inspirational soundtrack for my designs. Attending a workshop on conductive printing during Digital Futures Month at CSM in November 2020 made the fusion of Jungle Music into the fabric of the final garments possible.
Sustainability is immersed in my whole personality. Knowledge that has grown with me for years. During my 2019 teaching placement in Kampala I experienced the devastating impact of waste clothing to Uganda. Whilst researching techniques in South Africa, I formed relationships with artists who are involved in building my collection. This provided a continuous income during the pandemic shutdown. I received waste donations from Magees, Liberty of London and Casc8. All other fabrics, threads etc are sourced from car boots and markets. Using tailoring and couture embroidery techniques to embelish the garments with waste cleaned off the streets on my journey to CSM (tin cans and bottle caps becoming beads). New technologies transformed the collection into a drum machine using conductive thread to turn embroideries into a touch pad. The result is using the clothes to mix a full jungle music set out loud. This furthers the garments purpose using circular design.
A key aim of the collection was [also about] how to immerse the clothes in a rave. Conductive embroidery transforms the suit into a drum machine. A DJ uses the embroideries like a touchpad to mix a jungle dubplate via physical touch. The embroidery is then wired up inside the lining of the suit to a circuit board that connects to speakers via Bluetooth. The rave is thus woven into the fabric’s fibres. For the track that is coded into the suit I collaborated with young London-based producer Blacksmith UK who mixed a recording my Donegal Granny Bridget saying the 'Hail Mary' prayer over a liquid jungle breakbeat. The full rave is coming soon.