“I knew of NOW Gallery from coming to the O2 – my brother used live in a really weird part around here, Pontoon Dock – but I loved the space and knew I wanted to do something that didn’t feel like an advertisement for fashion. I didn’t want to put a collection in there. I thought this was a good opportunity to show people the rest of my practice. I’ve worked with galleries like MoMA in New York and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, they were always interested in the practice that goes into making clothes, which really fascinates me. I never really thought to show anyone. Originally, I was doing sculpture and performance, which I still do on the side and it feeds into the collection, but I just don’t put it out there for everyone to see.
“I like the idea of involving people who are even just walking past. It’s quite funny because it’s like such a different vibe here – I quite like that the O2 [which sits opposite, on Greenwich Peninsula] is so gross – and projecting onto the glass [walls of the gallery] and stuff involves people without needing them to come into the gallery. I think that’s quite nice, it makes it a bit more democratic. If people like my parents walk by who aren’t interested in art or fashion – and are a bit like ‘that’s a load of shit’ – then they can sit outside and still look at it, and you know, understand what it is.”
“Inside the exhibition, I want people to get into the pieces [which hang from the ceiling] – you can climb into them, you can do whatever you want. I’m quite happy for people to interact with them – it’s funny, in these permanent museum collections, people are very precious about archive pieces. I know I should be as well, but I’m not, so I come in with them like rolled up in the bottom of a bag and just pop them out. It’s a nice thing to have the dancers that came to Seven Sisters to do these performances [shown in the projected videos], because they are literally battering them and I love that because they’re actually getting some life.
“RINSE/REPEAT is meant to be a continuous conversation. In the vitrines are things that come from a really sentimental place, or show the process of fittings. There’s things from my grandmother Nellie, she was a seamstress – she’s always drawn and made things on the side. And she still does it – she’s 87 and she still does it. I didn’t grow up around fashion or art or anything or any awareness of that as this like chic world. It was always through having enjoyment in making something – so anytime I make something it doesn’t come from a fashion reference, and I’m not kind of designer-y, like ‘oh, I love 90s Helmut Lang’. That all feeds into the same narrative.”
“I do loads of patchworking and stuff because that’s what [my grandmother] did as a craft. It’s all from waste and there’s a nice sort of poetry in that the [hanging] installation is all made up of waste – these are all the offcuts of school uniforms, you know, from Matalan and M&S and stuff. I think if people taught us more about sustainability when we’re a bit younger, at Saint Martins, I think we’d all respond a bit differently to clothes. You have to apply as much design as you would to any other fabric. Because no one wants to buy like a hemp sack for £1,000, do they?”
RINSE/REPEAT is on at NOW Gallery, London, until January 27, 2019