Debonaire originated from my father’s love for sailing. When looking through old family photos I stumble across numerous imageries from his childhood learning to sail with his siblings, draped sails and with his crew back in the ’90s. Each photograph carried a different sentimental and nostalgic value that I wanted to translate into my designs. For example different boat knot techniques, heavy fabrics, exposed seams and large metal component details. I chose to incorporate these elements within the collection in order to present nostalgia, and memory through familiar items e.g. lifejackets and stripe. This collection carries elegance in shape but also childish references with colour and component.
During the process of combining oversized, ready to wear womenswear with a soft luxe feel, I developed the collection further by mixing a range of hard and soft fabrics to mimic what you may find on a boat. From working with a boat sail and draping with different sized D-Shackles on the stand to form shape and drape. The collection then evolved with oversized trousers, flared shorts and classic shirt styles. I used a range of fabric from canvas, cotton twill, ticking stripe and soft velvet as they all held shape well, and the use of velvet gave a more expensive feel.
The accessory is an incredibly important part of this collection. The accessories nod to visual reminders of childhood adventures and exploring. One of the main pieces is the lifejacket handbag, which can be carried, worn on the shoulder or crossbody. This item can also double up as a scarf or pillow with its quilted properties. The range of quilting within this collection was inspired by vintage life jackets when exploring the history of the lifejacket I came across some made from bike tyres, mattresses wrapped around the body, trainer shoes and ropes. This experimentation with materials for a safety item was very inspiring and led me to explore accessories within the collection.