Susan Forrest’s first collection explores the concept of our relationship with denim clothing; “What is particularly fascinating is what happens to denim clothing once it ends up in close proximity with the body: the wear and tear that occurs through constant wear and how denim molds to the body. This, in turn, allowing everyday habits and lives to become visible within the material."
Susan looked towards second-hand workwear and inherited denim clothing - a pair of oil-stained overalls given to her by an engineer friend and a Wrangler denim jacket from her mother. She inspected the garments allowing her to see the physical properties of denim, how it possesses both strong, durable and reliable properties, but also vulnerability in the form of its fraying abilities.
The interiors of the industrial Hacienda nightclub - designed by Ben Kelly - informed the collections colour palette, mimicking the bold primary colours used to decorate the pillars and posts. It also informed her material choices, ensuring she had different forms of texture. The hazard stripes and graphics ensured she had a base for experimentation with surface decoration.
Susan had a period of extensive experimentation and sampling with denim. She constructed identical pockets and technical details in every denim she had collected and washed and frayed them, in order for her to understand the properties of each. She experimented with applying flock and using vinyls and tapes in order to reinvent and create an exciting surface on top of the denim.
After another period of experimentation with surface decoration, a process of flocking directly onto the denim was developed. She scaled up her idea of flocking onto just the seams and applied it all over garments. The process of applying the flock onto the denim always ended up with unexpected results, the way the fibers would hold onto certain areas of the denim mimicked the decayed and worn down aesthetic that was present in the inherited garments that inspired this collection. The perfected but imperfect flock process was then transferred onto leather and sheepskin, allowing her to bring a new and unexpected element into her collection.