The White Project is applicable to all first year students at Central Saint Martins and culminates in the White Show at the end of the first semester. The brief was to choose one out of three sub themes and to implement our ideas using only white felt and cotton twill for our garments. I chose to focus on 'Traditional Borderlines' as a sub theme and was immediately drawn to the topic of death as the borderline between life and after-life. The researched imagery proved to be very rich in silhouette and textural inspiration as I paid special attention to the history of bone houses and cemeteries.
My intention was to create a sartorial memento more reminding the viewer of our human mortality and the exilement of the dead from our society. The topic of death has been perverse and turned into something disgusting and unspeakable. Interactions with the dead used to be meaningful and respectful. Bone used to be a place of communication and bore the bones of both monks and commoners, which could allegedly be distinguished by different shades of white. How is it possible that death as such an axiomatic companion of life has been banned out of mind, out of sight?
Creating this garment required numerous drapings on mannequins and drafting patterns for each element. As mentioned, the fabrics were limited to white felt and cotton twill. These two materials enabled the achievement of both stiffer and flowier elements of the garment. Layering the two over each other made it possible to use both the felt's molding quality as well as maintaining the more expensive look of the fine cotton on the outside.
Mimicking the textures of bone houses into surface decoration was achieved by stitching around pieces of wadding, which were sandwiched between felt and cotton in the shapes of bone structures. In intricate work, I then stitched thin pieces of felt on top of the padded elements.
I am honored that my White Project garment was featured in i-D magazine, representing Central Saint Martin's White Show: