A south London-based designer has created a fashion show with a difference – by dressing the models in garments made out of recycled carpet underlay.
Isabel Fletcher, who graduated from Leeds University with a First Class degree in Fashion Design last year, will present the conceptual collection during a dance performance in Brixton. The carpet underlay is made by mixing recycled wool with jute fibers. The 23-year-old said: ‘While carpet underlay is not something you would expect to be beautiful, it has its own unique style due to the random mix of colours and yarns running through it. I wanted to challenge myself by choosing a material not usually associated with fashion.’
The project’s theme derives from the location of this show, the Animali Domestici Italian Arts & Design Studio. This Grade II listed Victorian building in Brixton showcases contemporary furniture leading Isabel to take shape inspiration from iconic interior decor and furniture by designers and architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Joe Colombo and Roger Tallon.
This small collection is intricately designed and each element carefully considered. Isabel said: ‘My aim is to bridge different crafts and forms of creativity to reveal the beauty in things that may otherwise be overlooked. The materials beneath the surface of a piece of furniture or interior decor have practical functions but are also have aesthetic appeal in their own right.’ This ethos has led Isabel to showcase recycled carpet underlay as the core fabric in the collection. Not only is the material insulating, but also an exciting alternative material for clothing. Its structure creates fascinating shapes on the body, allowing Isabel to fully visualise her research of chairs and furniture into the final garments.
She added: ‘The collection includes jewellery made from vintage bed springs, another example of elevating everyday objects from the mundane to the ornate.’
Isabel’s inspiration varies from project to project, but the key themes in all her work are shape, colour and construction techniques. Unconsciously, the colours in this collection are inspired by the work of Malevich, the Russian artist known for his pioneering use of colour with shape. ‘I visited a Russian art exhibition in France and his work must have been in the back of my mind when working on this project. I enjoy forcing myself out of my comfort zone through my application of colour, often working with colour combinations I would usually fear.’
Isabel, who has worked at fashion labels including Toogood and Roksanda, hopes this project will not only promote herself as an artist, but also the contributors who have helped to support the project. Isabel plans to work on similar projects in the future: ‘I am already gathering ideas for my next project and looking to meet other creative individuals, from any industry, who are open to collaboration.’ Isabel is also hoping to be involved in the upcoming Brixton Design Trail in September.
The outfits will be exhibited at the Animali Domestici Italian Arts & Design Studio in central Brixton, as a performance by a contemporary dance group.