When Róisín Pierce contacted me about her graduate collection from the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) I was intrigued. Her current collection is entitled ‘‘Man Repellent’ and is one of the most fascinating collections that I have seen in quite a while. I am delighted to be featuring her today on Floralesque and learning more about her design process.
The ‘Man Repellent’ Collection
The principle aim was to create a collection that completely subverts the conventional norms of the desirable female form, by focusing on elements that are typically associated with an undesirable female body shape. Nothing is less attractive in today’s western society than obesity, rolls of fat, asymmetrical curves and a voluminous waistline. I wanted to create a highly stylised form of the obese female form through extreme sculptural cuts, with the general intention of morphing the female silhouette using manipulated forms in conventionally unflattering placements. By making different zones of the body disproportionate, my clothes are artificially changing the female form, therefore uniforming and de-sexualising the female body.
I love seeing the creativity of emerging young designers and Róisín’s imagination and design flair are clear to see. The intricacy of her pieces are just beautiful and it is no wonder that she won the 2016 Future Makers Awards ‘Push the Limits Award’ for her radical use of textiles and unique fabric manipulation techniques to create original silhouettes around the body.
When did you first know that you wanted to get involved in the fashion industry?
I didn’t always know I wanted to do fashion/textile design. My mother is an artist so I grew up around art and was encouraged to create. As a child I remember being fascinated with different materials and spending many hours manipulating and changing forms – which is exactly what I do today.
The structure of your pieces are quite intriguing – can you please talk about where the inspiration is drawn from?
This particular piece was constructed during a ten-day design challenge as part of my final year project. I wanted the piece to juxtapose both the beauty of Rococo plaster work and my grandmother’s delicate cakes with the awkward shape of the garment which mimicked a baby bump. This particular sculpture drew inspiration from shell forms. I wanted the negative space in the form to both reveal and call into question the human body in its naked state. The piece recalls Hesiod’s depiction of the Greek myth Aphrodite’s birth, with its delicate shell-like structure simultaneously containing and revealing the beauty of the goddess.
You mentioned previously the interest in agender wear? Can you please tell us a little bit more about this?
Yep. I’m really interested in womenswear but I prefer to look at garments without a central focus on the gender of the wearer. In the current industry, the boundaries of genders are gradually shifting, making it necessary for designers to consider this movement and create agender wear.
Are there any designers that you find inspiring?
Yes many Japanese designers.. I think they see past just clothing and try to something that hasn’t been done before either conceptually or visually. One of my favourite designers; Issey Miyake’s for example in the late eighties created a collection that was inflatable. He was so ahead of his time.
As a graduating designer from NCAD – how important do you think it is for aspiring designers to do formal training?
Very important in terms of selling. However for it to be worth even making, you have to be trying something new. The world is full of designers. It’s important to not play it so safe and doing something new. Especially for students, now is your time to experiment and discover what kind of work you want to be about.
Would you have any tips (that they don’t tell you!) for anyone considering a career in fashion design?
Be flexible, be experimental. Have interests and develop those interests. Play around, it should be a fun process. Nothing makes me happier then when I make something I visually like on the stand that came from a natural place.
What are your plans for the future – is there an area of fashion / design that most interests you?
I’m mostly interest in wearables. However, I did spend a lot of my time looking at elements of interactive fashion. Clothing that moves in interesting ways due to the cut or manipulation. I didn’t have enough time to fully develop this but I will definitely in the future be making fashion films showing how the clothes can move/ be interactive. I was hoping to spend some time developing my work here in Ireland and then going to do a masters in London or Antwerp. But I’m going to be flexible.
A massive thank you to Róisín for doing the interview and you can explore her work further on her website and she is also active on Twitter and Instagram. She is certainly one to watch and I for one cannot wait to see what she creates in the future.