Kirsten Webber

“My designs have a duality inbuilt within them that combines and blurs the lines between traditionally ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’. I aim to demonstrate a commitment to minimising environmental impact by opposing and resisting mainstream cultural practices concerning the unsustainable models of fast fashion, that have become the norm.”

“I utilise reclaimed, surplus fabrics in order to emphasise the importance of maintaining ecological integrity that is integral to the design process.”

Kirsten Webber

Designer

Fashion Design 

Glasgow School of Art

Statement

“I am a designer from Glasgow and recent graduate from the Glasgow School of Art. My work is informed by utilising traditional tailoring methods with a focus on cut, silhouette and construction that balance originality of concept with design viability. My designs have a duality inbuilt within them that combines and blurs the lines between traditionally ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’. I aim to demonstrate a commitment to minimising environmental impact by opposing and resisting mainstream cultural practices concerning the unsustainable models of fast fashion, that have become the norm. I utilise reclaimed, surplus fabrics in order to emphasise the importance of maintaining ecological integrity that is integral to the design process.

Part of the inspiration was the influence of dress in transgressing stereotypes relating to Scottish culture and gender identity. Visiting The National Museum of Scotland’s exhibition ‘Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland’ prompted a series of questions concerning the romanticisation of Scottish culture, the reinforcement of clichés in the media and the impact of these ‘defining’ images of Scotland in contemporary society. Focusing on the transformative power of clothing and its correlation with identity and liberation I explore how memory, nostalgia and melancholy are intertwined with the haunting quality of romanticism, that poetically embodies the repressed or dissociated past. Drawing inspiration from the juxtaposition of past and present; masculine and feminine; strength and softness and structure and fluidity, my collection embodies an otherworldliness that is highly romanticised, dark and wistful. Combining elements from both perspectives allows a dialogue to resonate about progressive change regarding the gender binary and the constructs used by society to limit individuality, creativity and self-expression.

My research also illustrates the symbiotic relationship between fashion and dance. reinforcing the important role it plays in destabilising and re-configuring gender identities and cultural boundaries.

Evoking a sense of the Scottish landscape through embroidery and fabric choices was incredibly important in creating a strong sense of atmosphere while simultaneously capturing a sense of the macabre in a highly romantic way. I had the opportunity to develop my own digital print for the trousers for look 6. The twisted thorns featured in the design evoke a sense of atmosphere in its ornateness and emptiness. The use of light and transparency contributes to the hauntingly eerie atmosphere. When reviewing provisional fabric choices, I have interrogated and referenced elements of tartan fabric and its practical applications in my work. I wanted to subtly reference it in a way that encapsulates Scottish identity without reinforcing clichés and stereotypes. Stripping away colour and making the collection monochromatic removes a sense of identity and the false romantic, stereotypical associations with the clans if Scotland.”

Materials and Techniques

Techniques – Digital print, toiling and embroidery.