Cultivating collaboration through friendship
Written by Miya Heap
Inviting change through new experiences is the metamorphic challenge designers Ella and Meg have been undertaking throughout their work in this year's Trashion Show. From a friendship embellished with sharing art and writing, their dynamic has expanded to become a mechanism for designing and constructing their runway look. There are strong parallels that run through Ella and Meg’s creative vision and their understanding of each other, facilitating a joyfully led process of designing and executing.
Described by themselves as a ‘lyrical friendship’ their habit of communicating and sharing art, poetry, and writing has existed long before the show. This generated a very similar design process, one that encouraged the sharing of ideas and inspiration to achieve an outcome. The pair's styles seem to contrast at first glance; Meg’s everyday look is very effeminate and light in colour, whilst Ella’s style is more neutral-toned and in many ways androgynous. However, at a fundamental level, this is not the case. Many of Meg and Ella’s creative inspirations come from a similar place, often the same fashions, literature, and art. The beauty is that both parties of this dynamic friendship can enjoy the same art, yet leave with different takeaways and means of expression.
To construct a strong fundamental design for the theme ‘metamorphosis’, many of the iterations suggested were welcomed by one another allowing a symbiotic and iterative relationship to flourish. With a clear vision, the pair have grown their design and developed their concepts through multiple dimensions. What started out as an initial expectation to compile two separate components, Meg’s crochet and Ella’s sewing ability combined to form a complete integration of both their talents, ideas, and skills.
When asked how the theme resonated in their design the pair identified nature as a major source of inspiration as “a lot of transformation can be learnt from nature... and bearing witness to the changes around us”. The pair have integrated several quotes into the design that were intuitively picked to represent the process of tapping into yourself to find within what you’ve always been searching for. This includes the Latin translation of adore, ‘adorare’, as well as exerts of Mary Oliver’s work, whom the pair have been longstanding admirers of for years. Meg particularly highlighted Oliver’s ability to synthesise and ‘communicate ideas in a way that makes the most sense’. Reflecting on the ‘metamorphosis’ within nature and some of the messages that the duo have shared with me throughout this process, I have found a huge amount of comfort in the acceptance of change. Ultimately, Ella and Meg have led me to the realisation that change, in any form, is a necessary part of a wider system.
The creative process has brought some adversity as “issues with low light caused the cyanotypes to not expose properly,” causing a more faded and lighter effect on the skirt that originally desired. Ella worked around this “by changing the tiers of the skirt to have a gradient effect and sewed free machine embroidery shapes like hearts and flowers in contrasting thread colours to bring more colour and depth to the fabrics composition”.
Completing this process, and their final product will represent the joy that can engender from change and challenge. This joy is truly infectious as represented in my own behaviour to go outside my comfort zone and model their final look in the show (albeit after a drink and some encouragement). The pair in turn adopted me into their team and vigilantly kept me updated with all the progress updates that had occurred. The outcome being a representation of transformation that is grounded within us; a testament to their journey which has been rooted in friendship.
From the initial call out Meg sensed that this challenge would ‘spark joy’. Observing and becoming part of this team has truly manifested this feeling and shown how rewarding the discovery of something new can be.
Written by Miya Heap