Forming a sustainable identity practice, method and philosophy is the heart of Jessica’s work.
She reflects on the question “What is sustainability to me?”. The environmental goal in producing sustainable fashion is one part, but it cannot be the only sustainable approach to design. Lesser talked about, but equally vital is the creation of a sustainable female identity representation.
“During the past year of the pandemic I felt how vulnerable my own existence as a designer and female was. I was faced with the harsh reality and difficulties of sustaining myself as a woman, artist and designer. You are often alone in this world. Especially now. Everything is very fragile. Emotions can be overwhelming at times. I questioned my own existence as a woman in this society. Do women exist? Maybe, maybe not.”
The pandemic has made her realise that fashion tends to fall into romanticised concepts of sustainability which can fall apart quite easily. Consequently, the importance to form, visualise and protect a sustainable image of female identity became the focus of her work. Jessica is especially concentrating on the perception of emotions such as female anger and its non-stereotypical representation in fashion outside of a patriarchal realm and the male gaze.
“As a designer I work with the image of female aggression, anger, frustration, and grief and want to show that these are emotions women do not have to hide. These emotions freely expressed can turn into confidence, independence, empowerment, and beauty. Working with emotions, which in popular opinion have negative connotations in relation to the female character, is one of my main motivations.”
“I started to research synesthesia as a design process to visualise emotions. The analysis and exploration of the ‘monstrous feminine’ character and placing my own ‘monstrous feminine’ emotions in the context of synesthesia, enabled me to embrace and cherish appearances that lie outside the norm.”
“Emotions are a great source of inspiration for fashion, but often become stereotypical and objectified visual interpretations based on gender norms. I focus on the depiction of female anger because it is one of women’s most suppressed emotions and has great potential for the development of innovative design concepts.”
“It is essential that I reveal the information and rational thought behind female anger and find ways to express it in today’s social environment. As an essential part to visualise my own anger, my work is therefore connected to underrepresented female innovations due to discrimination. I build a system that serves to elevate females. I investigate how female innovation informs the development of my own work, how it can be incorporated into my work to build an embedded feminism in fashion (that is not stereotypical or objectified), and how neglected female innovation helps to develop a visual response to female anger that does not feed into the stereotypes.”
Her work is a hybrid visualisation of female empowerment, physicalness and tangibility in womenswear. It is an experience of exploring genuine female identity in fashion.
SHE BELIEVES THAT THE IDENTITY THAT WE SHAPE AS DESIGNERS INTO A PIECE OF CLOTHING, CAN ALSO BE DESIGNED INTO THE SURROUNDING WE ARE LIVING IN.
How we wear a garment is a way of that perception. Her project showcases digital sound garments, moving imagery, written and spoken word coded into one symbiotic design system.
“The sound garments will be a different experience for everyone, but for me emotions such as anger, sadness and especially melancholy are closely connected to memories. Memories are connected to sound, smell, textures, light, which can make these emotions become physical. When you listen to the garments, one experience is that your memories trigger the physical part naturally. Another part of the physicality experience in my work is that my garments are informed by several women from my community who I have interviewed and asked to reflect on how they perceive their own identity in our patriarchal society. These interviews have been transcribed into my female identity podcast and became coded into the DNA of my audible garments.”