Gabriella Collins

Gabriella Collins – Second Prize Winner

Gabriella is a final year BA (Hons) Fashion student at Plymouth College of Art.

Gabriella designed a fur plate mix jacket of Rex Rabbit, Racoon and Fox fur and a patchwork dress with Raccoon and Sheep fur pieces, with leather stitch work.

‘A mistake made as a child comes with guilt, then the desperation to repair what has been destroyed. As adults, we tend to destroy what we may have repaired with intention, but sometimes unintentionally.

My designs aim to reveal something but equally remain unresolved. By the use of patchwork and different methods of stitching, my designs display small fragments of an overall image, each part revealing multifaceted elements of a story. My inspiration for this stemmed from trying to bring myself into the raw and evolving mind-set of a child; seeing things for the first time and having or not having to make a judgement on them and piece them all together. I feel that today, we are all looking for answers, looking to make a decision on what is right and what is wrong; but what if the answer is both? What if it is none.

With the discovery of old photographs of my Danish ancestors from the 19th Century, opened up the ability to explore my connection to Denmark as well as my disconnection. As a child, I was brought up in England, but visited my family in Denmark regularly. I felt a part of both but felt I did not fully belong to either. When looking at these images; refined and composed portraits, my immediate reaction was to keep them safe and remain as though untouched.

However, with this instinctive desire to keep the old photographs in perfect condition, also opened up my desire to make something of them; to bring something of myself into them. I started to scan them in, tear the copies up and then stitch them all back together with crochet and different stitching techniques. They were no longer perfect, yet though they were displaced they did not look imperfect. I saw that alike with fur and leather, though we may want to keep something in the most perfect condition or use only it’s traditional methods, that imperfection and our connection to what is around us, often displays more raw emotion and true understanding than the preservation that keeps us from standing still.’