In the last 12 months I've spent over 1,000 hours designing, draping, cutting, sewing, pressing and fitting garments to become my dream wardrobe.
I've used almost 200 metres of fabric, broken 12 needles and threaded up my sewing machines more times than I could possibly count in order to create over 60 garments.
My wardrobe is now made up of 16 pairs of knickers, 5 bras, 3 corsets, 11 tops, 6 jumpers, 2 jackets, 2 coats, 1 gilet, 4 skirts, 10 pairs of trousers, 3 pairs of leggings, 2 playsuits and 1 jumpsuit.
The last few weeks turned into a wild sprint to finish line. I wanted to make sure I completed all the things I had half-started and abandoned earlier on in the year. I was on such a mission I didn't have time to update the blog with each garment individually, as I normally would, so here is a bumper run down of what's been missed...
...lots of lace knickers made from gorgeous delicate laces I have been collecting for years
...two more super simple silk t-shirts in stone and sunshine tones
...a pair of dark floral cord trousers and a rusty red jumper
...two raglan sleeve cashmere and velvet jumpers
...a pair of black wool tailored trousers and a grey jumper
...a gold embroidered velvet furry gilet
...a faux fur lined embroidered grey coat with blue pompoms and a giant pink velvet hood
...and for my very last outfit of the year, yoga leggings and sports bra made from fabric designed by my gorgeous friend Ellen Calvert. She turned all the things I love into starry constellations and created this beautiful cosmic print, which I totally adore.
I drew the line at socks, gloves, scarves and hats, because they are mostly knitted not sewn, and I don't knit. Oh and I've also kept my waterproofs and wetsuit, but other than that, every other item of clothing I had previously bought from shops has been given away.
I'm over the moon.
I can't quite believe I was able to find the time and energy to make this many garments in between all of my other freelance work as a designer. I guess deep down I just knew this was really important to me. The thing that I have not been able to express until now, is that this project was never just about clothes. It was about reclaiming my body. If I hadn't really needed to do that, I would never have been able to make this commitment.
Almost five years ago, in a very beautiful land a long way from home my body was taken from me. The house where I was living was broken into by a gang of robbers, who stripped me at gun point and sexually assaulted me. It was the most terrifying moment of my life. As I lay there face down, naked on the floor with the end of a gun pressed into my back, my mind completely disconnected from my physical form.
That moment replays over and over in my head. Last year I decided enough was enough, I needed to do something to help me process what had happened. Rather than just relive it, I needed to move through it. I needed to face the fear I had of being forced to give up my body. So I set myself this challenge, to give away all of my clothes. It may sound crazy but it made sense to me that if I could reclaim my body being stripped bare, I would be able to redress myself with a new set of healing armour. I wanted to make my entire wardrobe from scratch; because I thought if I can do that, then I don’t need to be afraid any more. I would have skills and strength which I can always rely on.
This creative mission has made me feel strong and alive. My mind and soul have reconnected with the way my body feels, moves and expresses itself. I suppose this is my small way of fighting back five years later. I’ve allowed my brain to bask in creativity, logic, skill and beauty which makes my head finally feel like it has had some justice for the confused pain it had to drown in, desperately trying to process the trauma of what happened.
Don't get me wrong. This year hasn't fixed everything, I still get shaken up by what happened but the difference is, it no longer holds the same power over me. In a funny sort of way I feel like I have restarted my life, as me. Rather than as someone trying to escape me, which is what I've been doing for the last half a decade. Wearing clothes I have made is the most honest way I have of being in the world and I imagine I'll never go back to buying from shops. In that sense, this project is far from over. I still have a list as long as my arm of things I want to make, including a 3 piece suit, dungarees, a bikini and pyjamas to name a few. But for now I need to step back and take a deep breath, to work on some very exciting commissions.
I have always believed that creativity is a cosmic force which we channel as humans. It is infinite and all we need to do is commit ourselves to delivering it from the divine. This project was really just about connecting with the cosmic in an effort to shine as much light into the darkness as possible.