The initial focus point for the contextual research of this collection centred around punk culture and the values they hold and the subcultures that are formed in attraction to the punk ethos. What makes the feminine adaptation of punk culture powerful, is that rather than relying on others for their self worth they actually create their own strong self-images. Punk girls feel empowerment from resisting socialized beauty standards, that tell them short hair, facial piercings and layered oversized clothing is ugly. By looking like that they are actually creating a discourse where they are saying actually this is just another version of beauty, they are still feminine but they have reconstructed what that can look like.“Fashion is one among many forms of aesthetic creativity which make possible the exploration of alternatives as more than simply a displacement of protest” (Wilson 1990)
The next direction of this collection began with the intended outcome of creating designs that are interchangeable between genders, redefining what can be feminine and masculine without adhering to one particular constructed idea, to encompass fabrics, colour and embellishment that collectively can not be labelled as ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’.This creative journey began with fabric denim. Acquired through a vintage rework team as jean cut-offs, resulting in about 30 kg of material. This set the path for the initial design direction. To develop the silhouettes, research began with looking at historical workwear uniforms and fashion trends where women defied beauty standards, punk and rave scene silhouettes took the initial direction of this collection. To create garments that encompass all aspects of sexuality and give people the chance to blur the lines and become fluid and completely comfortable if not in their own skin yet, definitely in their second skin. This aim has been supported through the vast amount of contextual research undertaken prior to designing. It has inspired and expanded the possibilities of historical meaning, silhouette, shape, cut and detail.
Research into the fabrics origin and first intended use, led to functional denim workwear, boxy, androgynous shapes with multiple multi-functional pockets and detachable work-belts, representing practicality at its finest. To understand and appreciate denim, exploration into textile manipulation methods was the next step. Some of these methods include fraying, gathering, pin tucking, shirring, foiling, distressing, turning denim into yarn and knitting it with wool. Velvet was chosen because its drape and fluidity is the opposite of the stiff, rigid denim, it helps the designs incorporate a sense of masculinity and femininity, blurring the boundaries and incorporating opposing textures and shapes. In initial sampling shirring was a successful technique, creating voluminous and unique shapes.The technique of shirring allows for garments to be oversized but not lacking in interesting volume and shape, rather than just big, flat shapes. It allows for the garment to also be flattering, creating a flowing silhouette. This collection combines comfortable and loose silhouettes and shapes, with luxury,hand rendered manipulation techniques, proving that casual can also be extra.