I am an Irish sustainability-led designer focused on all gender workwear with experience interning at J W Anderson. I consider myself to be a technical designer with strong digital design skills and a love for sourcing and repurposing.
Rising Tides is gender inclusive workwear collection inspired by maritime heritage and the looming threat of sea-level rise, with pieces inspired by Dutch fishermen’s workwear and British fishermen from the nearby town of Hastings, East Sussex. My research also focused on the infrastructure of flood defence from the low tech (sandbags) to the fully engineered Thames Barrier.
Sustainability is at the heart of this collection which looked to technical fabrics such as Ventille® for waterproofing without forever chemicals, while post-consumer waste (bike inner tubes) and old spinnaker sails were repurposed to create textiles for waterproof garments. Experiments with liquid rubber added a further layer of waterproofing to the sail’s ripstop fabric and provided a welcome contrast for my sandbag trousers – often the first defence in a coastal flooding event.
Central to my collection was around dismantling used objects and raising their value – be this tyres, sails or knitwear. Experiments with linking, allowed me to breathe new life into an old Guernsey fisherman’s jumper using crochet and a hand cranked linker. Trims were sourced from unusual places too – with the toggles on my hoody sourced from an old sailing dinghy cover.
Modularity and adjustability were also central to this collection, with oversized trouser silhouettes equipped with ties and drawstrings to fit a wide range of sizes and body shapes. Added to this was a modular gillet liner that toggled into my oversize coat – to provide additional warmth for colder seasons.
Rising Tides symboliSes the need for reactivity and inventiveness, where the future and our place within in is under threat. For too long viable materials have languished in landfill, scarcely breaking down – their potential untapped. I believe that as emergent designers, it’s our job to have the imagination, the ingenuity and the skills to divert these materials and breathe new life into them.