Fight or Flight
“Fight or Flight” is a response to two questions: What does stress look like? What does stress feel like? To some, it may be a passing occurrence, but for others, it can be deep and constant; a perpetual sensation. Inspired by personal experience and the Rorschach test, a psychological projective test for identifying a person's state of mind, personality characteristics and emotional functioning, analyzed using psychological interpretation and complex algorithms, this internal emotion is morphed into an external sculpture curving to and from the body and skin it was once concealed within. Emphasis on the materiality of leather is used in my work to convey a concept and narrative of induced emotions, rather than being used for utilitarian products. Distressing processes and techniques are used on the leather to portray the narrative of intensity, pressure and tension experienced within and on the body while undergoing this emotion. The material depicts the concept of both the emotional and physical reactions caused by ‘stress’. But now I want to ask the question; Why do we stress? In today's society with environmental global issues such as the climate crisis, pollution, waste disposal, global warming, the greenhouse effect, loss of biodiversity and deforestation are just to name a few of the reasons for someone living on this Earth to stress. We all experience this. The fashion industry is responsible for 4-8% of Global greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to the climate crisis. Fast fashion and consumerism have become daily aspects of people's lives, and often people aren’t aware of the damage it causes. Fight or Flight aims to bring light to this crisis. Are you going to fight this environmental crisis or fly from it? Not only do I consciously use leather in my work due to it being strong, flexible and durable, but it is environmentally more eco-friendly than synthetics, which are made using petrochemicals from the oil industry (which now make up 60% of our clothing). Leather is a natural by-product of the dairy and meat industries and is currently the best way to up-cycle hides and skins, which saves around 7.3 million tonnes from global landfill every year. As a natural product, leather will biodegrade in a typical landfill in 10-50 years (depending on the type of leather) whereas a typical synthetic plastic material takes 500+ years to break down in the same environment. All leather used in my work is up-cycled from scrap offcuts from local upholstery companies. Leather that was to be discarded. The material used was not only more eco-friendly but recycled and repurposed too. Keeping in mind the lifespan of the work, each skewer (wing) is detachable and can be reconstructed into a new sculptural garment as many times as desired. Just like the environment and the fashion industry, it changes in perpetual motion, adapting and forming to suit its current situation. The second material used in my work is repurposed metal. A mechanism, where all metal components are also detectable and adjustable, just like the leather. Unconventional fashion and avant-garde experimental techniques play a large role in my designs. The mechanism supports the leather, just as humans have the ability to support the environment. Consequently, this wearable artwork, eco-friendly garment, innovative apparel can be taken apart, reconstructed, worn and performed in, admired and exhibited. Both the leather and metal it is fabricated from can stand the test of time, both durable and resistant. To the multimillion fashion world of haute-couture, this piece aims to prove that this industry can also continue in a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly approach to design. To the everyday consumer, to rethink fast fashion and the materials we chose to buy. To you, are you going to continue to let the global climate crisis and everything that enhances it propel stress onto you and to our planet or are you going to fight for change?