Copyright © Stephanie Ghoussain 2012
I am a surface textiles designer specialising in digital printed textiles, computer aided design and embroidery techniques. I use textiles, specifically print as a storytelling tool; colour, shape and texture punctuate my collections in playful combinations. Drawing is key to my design process, along with 3D experimentation, collage and redrawing from photographic manipulations. My aesthetic is free and fluid with sobering elements of geometry from traditional Middle Eastern textiles.
My recent work is inspired by Edward Said's concept of "Orientalism" - the portrayal of stereotypical Middle Eastern identities in the western media and the representation of ethnic identities through an orientalism "lens". The prints for this collection portray a landscape of ethnic bodies, as lines they are displaced and dis-located. Facial and bodily shapes like Dali's figures, bleed out from their original contours to merge into each other and melt into the earth to create a distorted and exaggerated, foreign landscape - this has become the "middle eastern" ethnoscape, perceived historically and contemporaneously in art and literature.
The aestheticisation of the concept has come from my process of research and exploration of the theme of distorted ethnic identities. The faces of ethnically diverse women in London have been photographed through concave ad convex lenses to create exaggerated proportions and distortions of their physical identities. These photos have been further distorted using web cams and digital software. I have drawn from these images in a style that is free and fluid, black and white to begin with and then re-coloured, again offering another distorted perspective of reality.
The silhouettes for my collection consider what a world post-orientalism would be like. Oversized in proportion and layered with printed fabric the wearer is covered in story upon story, reinterpreted, and re-portrayed from various angles of the orientalism lens. The body’s own curves and proportions are obscured; individual history is replaced by a story of colonial history and images of ideological colonisation. Post apocalyptic feelings of isolation and anxiety or fear of the ethnic other come into play with the mood. As people who perceive the ethnic other through an orientalism lens that convolutes identity with stereotyped visions that have been democratised through orientalist art and mass media, we isolate ourselves through de-familiarity with the rest of the world and its diverse beauty.
Fashion Design and Technology BA Surface Textiles at London College of Fashion awarded First Class Degree with Honours
Awards and achievements:
- Finalist for the Nina De York Illustration award 2012
- LCF Press Show 2012
- Alexander McQueen
- Christopher Kane
Laissez Faire - London