Practice: Fashion and Textile Design
Course of Study: Fashion Design
Place of Study: Edinburgh College of Art
Materials: Found materials, thread
“My visual signature as a designer is highly structured, exaggerated silhouettes paired with textural and innovative textiles, which are often hand-crafted or embellished. I work conceptually and use ideals and narratives to drive my design process.
In a similar way to Fine Art, I use clothing as a way of communicating ideas and think that fashion can be used as a tool for highlighting current affairs’ issues or getting people to think about topics that I feel passionately about.
The narrative of my Graduate Collection imagines a group of six goddess-type figures who are here to serve as the antithesis of the elitist, white, supremacist, capitalist patriarchy and strike fear into the hearts of harmful corporations. Existing in a future unhindered by the constraints of advertising and corporate power, they dress to celebrate their bodies in a way that they dictate, highlighting feminine attributes to make themselves strong (why should women broaden their shoulders like men to feel powerful? Why not do the opposite?). They seek to return the world to a more holistic way of living, giving back to the Earth, not just taking, and re-balancing feminine energy with the masculine as well as the relationship humans have with the world.
My work is made of reclaimed or renewable materials, including British wool sourced directly from the farm and dyed using plants, yurt window off-cuts, and reclaimed Royal Mail post sacks. I like to place an emphasis on craft, with the majority of my textiles being made by hand. A number of the textiles were hand-woven on a Brinkley Loom. I like to explore the historical relationship between women and craft, and the way craft was devalued because of this.
My work is informed by the merging of numerous threads of research, from Art Brut, to Ancient Greek philosophy, to the French Revolution, to Witches and Pagan celebrations, to the dress of contemporary matriarchal societies. My silhouettes are greatly informed by ancient fertility figures – carved figurines that were made to celebrate female regenerative power all across the globe, that accentuate the form of the female body.”
Maddie is currently working as an intern at Vivienne Westwood in London, along with other exciting projects. To keep informed and find out more, follow Maddie @mwilliams_design and on twitter @M__A__D__Z