"EL DOMINGO" (SUNDAY)
Emanuel Ungaro, when he plunged his nose into fabrics said, “I caress it, smell it, listen to it. A piece of clothing should speak in so many ways.” That is how I feel about leather. As I hold it up to my face I am transported to another world. A world in which the rich tradition of leathercraft, one of mankind´s oldest traditions, fuses with innovation in contemporary pieces. This garment is inspired by the traditions of the quintessential Spanish Sundays I enjoyed when I was growing up in Madrid. The silhouette of this garment is based on the traditional jacket of a “traje de luces” (bullfighter´s suit). The crop, the two pieced sleeves and the seam placement all mirror the jacket as does the placement of the motifs on the garment. The shape of the motif however, is inspired by the traditional tiles found inside typical Spanish bars where people congregate to enjoy an “aperitivo” (aperitif) before a long relaxing family lunch on Sundays. The 3D effect created by manipulating the surface of the leather is inspired by the elevated surface-level stonework on the facades of the traditional village buildings where I would visit my grandfather on a Sunday. In order to innovate, I have merged the old with the new by combining the use of the modern digital embroidery machine with a traditional hand-quilting technique which has led to an original design on a leather jacket. Traditionally leather jackets have a smooth surface and it is leather goods which tend to have raised surface techniques applied to them. I thus wanted to innovate by using hand-quilting in a creative and innovative way on a leather garment. I have also been working on other techniques including wet moulding and embossing along with new cutting and garment construction techniques which I have used in other garments in my final collection. The jacket is made to appeal to women of any age as seen in my polaroids on the last page. It can easily be passed down to subsequent generations both in regards to style, as the bullfighter jacket has been adapted in many ways since the mid 1800´s, and to the amazing inherent properties of leather. Its durability and longevity mean that it can be loved for many lifetimes. My desire is to encourage consumers to understand the true value of leather and influence their consumer choices by designing and producing high-quality, timeless pieces. Such innovation however, must be responsible. Consequently, all the leather I procure is as locally sourced as possible from within the UK, in order to try and reduce its carbon footprint as much as possible. In fact, for this piece I used donated deadstock leather from the British leather goods industry by carefully placing pattern pieces and designs. It is of utmost importance to me to be sustainable in order to stem the tide of over-production and rapid consumption and to form part of the all important circular economy to which leather as a by-product of the farming industry belongs. The inspiration for my work is personal, however, it is intended to evoke a collective revolutionary response for leather garments. (Please see video attached after the cover page).