My journey began by experiencing ‘Black Summer’, a colloquial term for the 2020 Australian bushfires. While they are an annual event to help the land regenerate, the extreme levels seen were exasperated by climate change. Living in Sydney’s CBD, I was lucky to only be impacted by the smoke which manifested an apocalyptic sensation. The fires brought fear and insecurity for people’s livelihoods, emotions that are driving factors of this collection and can be coined under the term 'eco-anxiety'.
This experience left me with a renewed appreciation for Mother Nature, for her extreme power, beauty and the connections she creates. Mycelia networks (mushroom roots) connect entire ecosystems, sharing information and critical sustenance for survival. This network mirrored the communities who rallied together in the face of these fires. This connection to people and the planet resulted in mushrooms being used as inspiration for silhouettes, offering physical protection and emotional connection.
This has fed into my graduate collection, Biofabric Futures, which considers the emotional effect of climate change and how this drives consumers to desire clothing that manifests a sense of protection. As a material led designer, my garments are made from upcycled second-hand firemen’s uniforms. These materials are specifically designed to protect the wearer in extreme environments and will offer physical and phycological security to my consumer. Biofabricated textiles such as SCOBY's (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and mycelium (root network of mushrooms) feature throughout. Scoby’s present the speculative design opportunity to consider how we can bio-hack organisms to create sensory fabric; bacteria’s DNA could be altered to recognise high levels of air pollution and alert the wearer to it by changing colour which is showcased digitally using clo3d. Mycelium is used to create hats and accessories which can offer emotional connections to our environmental world without inflicting harm once thrown away.
Photographer: Alina Hibbert (@hibbert98)
Model: Sach (@sachinidissa)
Styling: Lucie Isaacs (@lucieisaacsfashion)