A recent graduate of The Glasgow School of Art’s Fashion Design BA, Fiona Smith is a playful designer with an eye for charismatic detail. Currently based in Edinburgh, she has previously interned with House of Holland.
Fiona’s graduate collection pinpoints the ideology of the freak, guided by Victorian circus imagery. This appointment of the weird and wonderful is addressed through the manipulation of proportions, creating optical illusions and oddities in cut.
Led by silhouette, Fiona’s process explores unexpected proportions; elongating limbs, adding suspect sleeves or revealing excerpts of skin. Though clearly referencing traditional tailoring in its masculine glory, she then vandalises it, scribbling with frills of blush pink organza across woollen checks. A blatant clashing of gender motifs runs through the collection, hinting at Fiona’s interest in Queer culture. Here pink versus blue, dense versus delicate, coarse versus sheen, yet the overall aesthetic is effortless. Somehow the collection carries its peculiarities with an admirable nonchalance.
In terms of research, Fiona favours the deconstructing of old garments, re-appropriating their patterns in a context of dysmorphia. This interest in oddities runs through her research drawings too, collages of disparate images. Meanwhile materials span from sickly taffetas to mismatched heritage checks – a narrative of gender extremes. Coarse woven textures are met by lustrous sheens, adorned with transparent tulles – all seeking to blur conventions.
Garments hide handsome nuances of detail within their conspicuously gendered personalities. Fiona employs a staple dogtooth pattern as a vehicle for detail; it is repeated at various scales, cut in negative from cloth and layered up to reveal a subtle contrast toned fabrication beneath. Whilst bespoke hand-covered buttons nod to tradition, a frill of baby pink taffeta sits proud in place of a pocket square on a broad shouldered, double-breasted jacket. Elsewhere, a gauze tulle trim is appliqued raw onto the elastic collar and cuff of a bomber jacket, producing a girly frivolity.
Alongside a showcase at McLellan Galleries as part of the Glasgow School of Art Degree show, Sgàire and Aimie wear the collection with acute poise when photographed in The Glasgow School of Art’s Reid Building by Molly Mae Whawell.