In our current Instagrammable world, Baddie Winkle, entering her 91st year and with 3.4million Instagram followers, champions Isolated Heroes’ custom sequins with neon and rainbow brights. At the same time, Iris Apfel, whose maxim is ‘More is more, the rest is a bore’, is in her 97th year, demonstrating an unapologetic mix of vivid couture embroidery, bold vintage prints, layers of massive costume jewellery (worn Mr T. style) and her signature oversized glasses. Maximalism is served on Seletti X Toiletpaper plates, elevated on a Gucci cushion, placed on a Bethan Laura Wood table. Collaboration and appropriation is presented through layers and layers of G F Smith colour, Vlisco pattern, Lesage embellishment, De Gournay overkill and Camille Walala surface decoration. Matty Bovan and his mum work from their suburban Yorkshire home to build a world of colour and fashion for consumption by long-suffering Dazed & Confused readers, while Freda’s world and life is laid out, like a 3-D archived Instagram account, for all to see at the V&A.
There is nowhere for colour and pattern to hide these days, except perhaps on a Dazzle Ship.
Textile design is currently split down the middle. While long-persistent trends hold on by their French-manicured finger tips to cool Scandinavian and Jil Sander-style minimal clarity, there is a gathering wave against this with bold, maximal transgressions of colour, pattern, texture and embellishment. A general velvetiness of bedecked and bejeweled surfaces is apparent within and beyond current fashion and interior materials.
So, it was with great excitement at the recent Assessment event in Barnsley that we delved into Amardeep Kaur’s world. As a current OCA Textiles student, she has used her recent course to wholeheartedly embrace colour, pattern, motif, print and stitch techniques in order to initiate a strongly personal journey with a rich signature of bold colour and stylised design with a growing confidence shown through additional surface embellishments. She fuses bird motifs, Egyptian references and Japanese pattern, exploring velvety colour and surfaces, while working with contrasts of textile weights and drape. Amardeep questions issues of cultural inspiration versus cultural appropriation and uses the questions this throws out as an opportunity to fuse her design interests, consider her own cultural references and also to open up other opportunities for inspiration. It is a vibrant and yet composed journey. It is fearless, but well-informed and highlights a truly searching, inquisitive and speculative approach.
Risk-taking is highly valued within design – it is where something new might happen and equally where something might not work. Either way, it’s of immense value. Amardeep’s explosion and exploration of colour and materials captures a contemporary energy that is apparent within current fashion textiles and shows her ability to trial and test ideas. Not everything works instantly, but that is the beauty of Amardeep’s work. Each design is created, then developed and recreated and redeveloped, with shifts in composition, colour palette, base materials and scale to ensure it improves and refines each time. But even this gentle process of refinement allows for new discoveries. The energy of Amardeep’s textiles still retain a freshness, even with the iterations they go through, as she is always seeking to build in a little newness or an extra splash of technique each time. Even on completion of her project, there are still further extremes it can reach as she progresses to the next stage of her studies. Designers such as Ashish, Manish Arora, Aisling Duffy, Rottingdean Bazaar and Matty Bovan push varying boats out for the sake of colour, sparkle, shock-factor, twee-ness, immediacy, luxury and making. They all have the common thread of having their own personal handwriting whilst encapsulating a zeitgeist of energetic colour, materials and varying levels of finish and longevity.
Good luck with your next course Amardeep. We are so excited to see where your work goes and grows.
Bethan Laura Wood
Seletti X Toiletpaper
G F Smith
Dazed & Confused
Freda Kahlo at the V&A
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