Showcasing the culture of African nomadic tribes through her designs is the conscious fashion designer, Kenzi Laird The graduate collection of the Heriot-Watt University alumna compares African culture with today’s society in an extraordinary way. In light of her most recent feature as part of our Graduate Talent Programme in the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, we had the pleasure of speaking to the Global Young Talent 2020 about the issues of climate change, urbanization and its relevance to fashion.
You will soon be graduating from Heriot-Watt University in fashion design, where does your love for fashion stem from?
My love for design originates from being creative as a child, which hasn’t changed since. When I started studying art more closely, I saw how I could combine art with fashion.
"My love for design originates from being creative as a child, which hasn’t changed since."
What was the main source of inspiration behind your graduate collection?
On a trip to Morocco I was inspired by the breath-taking pieces of art. In my collection I wanted to highlight the beauty within the country and its contrasts with the environment and habits with recycling. The aim of my collection was to tell a story with each piece to educate people about these third world countries.
What sets your collection apart are the unique prints used, could you share your design process with us?
The prints are all inspired by Picasso paintings. By adding small intricate details to the paintings, I created my own designs. What I believe is unique about my graduate collection is the idea of the outerwear working as a frame to the art that is held within. I used second hand, up cycled fabrics as an appliqué in a number of my garments.
"What I believe is unique about my graduate collection is the idea of the outerwear working as a frame to the art that is held within."
You aim to defy gender rules with your collection, how does this manifest itself in your final pieces?
I strongly believe that fashion has no rules. I make clothes everyone – the more people got joy out of something I created the better. As a designer I feel it is my obligation to push the boundaries of fashion and challenge societal pre-conceptions.
What other plans and dreams do you have for the future?
I aim to work towards a more sustainable fashion industry and to educate not only the consumer but society as a whole. To use design as a tool to take responsibility for each decision made to result in complete transparency within the supply chain. Being a consistent designer myself, I utilise my creativeness to find innovative ways to educate about sustainability.
"I aim to work towards a more sustainable fashion industry and to educate not only the consumer but society as a whole."
Discover Kenzi Laird's full collection
Words by Reka Dala