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Designer Spotlight:

Orin Holmes

Written by Grace Moreton



How is it possible to make something aesthetically pleasing, beautiful even, out of something that has been discarded?


By taking rubbish she found from her work, old bin bags and used coffee filters, Orin intended to create a fashion piece that made a statement. To Orin, the theme of Metamorphosis meant the process of evolving,’ ‘the bit between something ugly and something beautiful.’ It started as a pile of rubbish headed towards the tip and turned into an iconic and beautifully crafted piece. 


Orin first picked up a sewing machine about a year ago and it quickly became ‘a healthy obsession’ for her. Spurred on by her own involvement as a model in the show last year, she became increasingly interested in the designing element. She discovered that it was a great way for her to tap into her creative side, with the inherently DIY nature of ‘trashion’ taking away the demand for perfection. 


From the beginning stages of design Orin knew she wanted to create something relatively colourless; monochromatic pieces that could draw attention to the texture of the ensemble. She intended to use the bin bags and old coffee filters as the focus point. Through developing the piece, she landed on the colour red, using spray paint and drawing influence from  the bold patterns of a flower beetle’s back. 



Throughout the designing and creating process there were some technical difficulties; bin bags are inherently difficult to sew because they are flimsy and easily rip apart.  The top part of the first outfit changed the most, Orin’s original idea was to have a larger, puffer skirt and a smaller top, she then decided to create a larger top half in order to create a more powerful silhouette. Along the way, Orin had to come to terms with the fact that the piece wasn’t supposed to be a functioning item of clothing. Its intention isn’t accessibility or everyday wear. She realised that when she looked at ‘couture, high-fashion stuff’ she liked most of it ‘because it’s not wearable.’ The most luxurious fashion items are ‘the extreme versions of what gets filtered down into high street brands.’  Her intention with this piece was to make a statement and portray a message, rather than catering to the aesthetic ideals of functionality and repetition seen so often in the fast-fashion market.

As is typical in the fashion industry, everything fell apart the day before the show and one of her models couldn't walk the runway. As we were discussing the effect of this on the outcome of her final look, I suddenly found myself volunteering to model for her. With panic setting in before the conversation even finished, I wasn't entirely sure what I had signed myself up to. On the day of the show, she had to make the piece fit completely different measurements. Lots of safety pins were involved as bin bags aren’t exactly notorious for being sturdy enough to walk in. The biggest complication for Orin was her fear that the skirt might fall apart on the runway. Luckily for my modesty, this didn’t happen and I was able to walk down the runway with a new-found burst of confidence. 

Being involved in the creative process of the outfits, in writing this article and modelling the garment in the show, gave me a unique perspective on the journey these two garments went on. Walking in the outfit gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation for the delicate nature of the piece and how difficult it was to create. I was honoured to walk in the outfit. I found myself astounded by the passionate and talented individuals involved in the show, from the models to the photographers to everyone behind the scenes. Although it was a terrifying first-time experience for me, it was empowering and incredibly rewarding. 


When I asked Orin if she was happy with her final design, she replied “yes, very much so, it came out much better than expected.” It was of general consensus from the audience that Orin’s two pieces were amazing, especially in relation to the theme. Bin bags and ‘trashion’ go hand in hand it appears, and Orin seemed happy to say we all “pulled it off incredibly.” 

Written by Grace Moreton


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