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For my senior collection, I became inspired by uniforms and how they have been used in different contexts to both repress people and to unify them (consider prison uniforms vs. sports uniforms). I thought about the ways in which cheerleaders can be both unified by team spirit and simultaneously be undervalued as athletes, receiving inadequate pay at the professional level and often being required to wear sexualized outfits that take the focus off their skill.
I began to consider what would happen if these women banded together to come off the sidelines and resist against sexist expectations placed upon women’s bodies and clothing. To this end, my collection is created for a girl gang—womxn who know the power of working together to advocate for the change they wish to see in their communities. My collection includes several strong jackets and a consistent pleat motif meant to echo elements found in uniforms.
Ultimately, I see my collection as not only a creative and accurate representation of my aesthetic and talent, but also of my values. As an anti-sweatshop organizer, I believe that we, as apparel design students, have a particular responsibility to hold our industry accountable for its history of labor violations, sweatshop usage, and lack of attention to sustainable production. In order to change this, we must band together as a team.
The song they walked to is Crown on the Ground by Sleigh Bells.