Pretty- Ugly Festivals

  • Elise Keeling

A contrast between the beauty of a festival and the chaos it leaves behind. I wanted to create a body of work that shows the beauty of a festival, the getting ready, the make-up, the glittered outfits, music, joyfulness, fun but also that grungy chaos side that occurs slowly, where everything left behind is a mess. Rubbish is left, sleeping bags have been dragged through the mud, tents are sprawled across the fields deserted with rubbish and dirty laundry is left. Also, the mess of lack of sleep, no washing, alcohol and drugs and loud music can do to change someone’s appearance. My primary focus was: the personal transformation from beauty to chaos and mess. The secondary was: the ecological sustainability awareness of the world. Again, the theme of ‘mess and chaos’ are brought through here, with the amount of rubbish that is left behind after the festival. The metaphor of physically wrapping ourselves up in rubbish at the festival; and the world being bound up and choked by waste. My concept addresses sustainability and ethical practice through encouraging young people to be more sustainably aware of their detritus, littering the once beautiful landscape. Humans transform what is beautiful and orderly into something which is ugly and chaotic. My message is: to protect the beauty of nature and the natural world; and to create a constant discourse around the need for sustainability both in fashion – and in society. We need to recognise the need for change when it comes to handling festival waste, and come up with more solutions to suggest on how to combat against it. This collection is still very fashion forward, a beautiful high fashion statement even, created using recycled sleeping bags and other sustainable materials that have been taken apart and reconstructed back together, the sustainability also comes through in my prints showing the trash and waste that has been left behind.

I wanted to achieve a collection that had a lot of colour and freeness to it like a festival, combined with the grunge and chaos that a festival also brings. This was achieved by using photography and collage; layering up my designs to create a women’s wear collection of four outfits that is very experimental with print. Using digital and screen printing techniques at a large scale, enabled me to really put across an understanding of my concept; and the message I was trying to portray. I took apart old sleeping bags and screen printed onto the materials and then put them back together and constructed them into parts of my collection, using every detail from the zips of the sleeping bags to the wadding inside. By printing on to and using reconstructed sleeping bags and tents, really showed how experimental I could be with print; and with my outfits. I wanted to have a large silhouette collection that was very expressive and ‘out there’ to make a statement.
Selected portfolio pages: