My collection, 'Wistman', takes inspiration from Dartmoors natural spaces that I have a personal connection with and the conflicting and powerful presence the military has had on them. The collection is also designed to be a gateway toward the new sustainable possibilities of the fashion industry progressing away from more destructive practices.
The ancient woodland of Wistman’s wood is a small relic from the vast oak forest that once covered Dartmoor. The trees being cut down to build the English navy which defeated the Spanish Armada and Dartmoor’s long relationship with the military continues to this day. From time to time, while sitting on the edge of the wood, I have seen the ominous red flag flying on top of the nearby tor; denoting a military firing range and warning of the live ammunition being used.
Sourcing my fabrics from a local Devon army surplus store, I have up-cycled navy flags, old parachutes and harnesses. The cords, harnesses and flags pull at the collection and entangle the wearer in much the same way war and military powers effect society, but their physical effect in the folds of the fabric can also reflect natural forms found in the wood. The natural seams of the parachute envelope you in a sense of welcome, combined with authentic wool fabrics to bring us back to nature through fashion.
Perhaps we all have our own Wistman’s Wood that we crave in such an overpopulated and digitally obsessed world.