The starting point for the research for my graduate collection is the arrival of the Empire Windrush to Britain in 1948, which carried West Indian immigrants to the UK. The arrival of the Empire Windrush marked the beginning of mass immigration of Caribbean people to the UK, my Granddad being one of them. Listening to my Granddad’s personal experiences of arriving in the UK from St Lucia, and seeing his photographs documenting his experiences are key sources of inspiration for this collection. As well as looking at my own personal connection to the Windrush, the work of photographers who documented the Black British experience from 1948 onwards, including Neil Kenlock, Raphael Albert and, Colin Jones, are also a source of inspiration, especially looking at the clothing that was worn. With this as a starting point, this collection also explores the Black British domestic experience, focusing on the West Indian Front Room. Looking at significant objects, ornaments and souvenirs people used to decorate their living space. Lastly, this collection considers what the passengers of the Empire Windrush left behind; the Caribbean home, nature and crafts.
Just like the ‘West Indian Front Room’, this collection uses a combination of colours, textures and patterns. Raffia forms one of the main materials of the collection, inspired by the woven palm crafts from the Caribbean, often used to make bags and hats. Along with raffia, vinyl tablecloths are mixed with faux furs and knits, taken from the ‘West Indian Front Room’ decor and the fashions worn by the Windrush generation seen in the above images.
Graduate Fashion Week 2018
One of eighteen collections shown at the UCA Epsom 2018 GFW show, this collection made it’s way down the catwalk to Bob & Marcia’s ‘Young Gifted and Black’, a celebration of the Windrush Generation and the beauty of the Caribbean.