Zarah Ahmed was first inspired to design her collection 'HYPER BODY', after happening upon British artist Jenny Saville's styled paintings of voluminous nude bodies. It was from there that she started to reflect on her own body image and attitudes to bigger bodies within wider society. Body positivity and fat-shaming is only now becoming an important issue in fashion. To put her own individual spin on the topic, Zarah took inspiration from artists, like Ernesto Neto, that interpreted the body into bulbous fleshy sculptural artworks. Inspired by the conceptual artworks, she worked with experimental materials like sponge, latex and beads, to create her own 3D and 2D artworks.
Zarah then went on to develop her visual research into a knitted collection. She worked in 2D mediums and drape to develop voluminous silhouettes, mimicking the dynamic folds and lines of the body. She wanted the fabric to imitate the textures of our skin and replicate our so-called flaws. Zarah carefully considered her choice of yarns, from colour to texture; choosing to work with sustainable fine gauge and soft chunky yarns. Her colour palette is reflective of diversity, choosing a range of skin tones, fair to dark. She also worked with pastel mint and sunshine yellow yarns to create a pop and highlight the skin tones. Zarah used elastic yarns to develop a unique knitted smock fabric. She developed this fabric structure to create a delicate ruching effect imitating stretched elastic skin structures.
The outcome of this project is a delicate and beautiful knitted collection. The use of cashmere, silks and cotton adds a luxury element to Zarah's graduate collection. Mixed in with her bold statement pieces are elegant wearable pieces. Even though the collection is very feminine, it is gender fluid and can be worn on men and women. The Hyper Body is a body positives collection, intended to make a statement on societal attitudes to body image. Instead of body shaming, we should celebrate our unique imperfections and turn them into perfections.