Playing with FireĀ 

Last summer, I began exploring the art of burning materials. I decided to experiment by burning paper, fabrics, and wood. These everyday materials are transformed and take on a new life. Incorporating these burned elements into garments became the foundation for the Playing With Fire collection. The series purpose was to embody the urgency of reducing our global impact and challenge our perspectives as a society. Controlled burning, which is slow and time-consuming, parallels our journey to achieve societal change. Most of the fabrics in this collection are reused and upcycled. All garments were handmade for this collection, including; items peeking out from undercoats, leggings, and pants. The burned elements inspired the color palette and a desire to show stark contrast.

The collection begins with the Firestarter (Match Dress). Over 800 matches were burned and sewn onto the garment. A single match symbolized our collective ancestors, who boldly endured hardships toward a future they would not live to see. Soundproof Screams (Egg Carton Coat) was inspired by our desire to control and suppress our emotions to please others. The self-encapsulated coat features egg cartons corralling around the model, who is screaming in distress. First Flame (Ruler and Zip Tie Coat) began as a screen print of a person blowing out a match. This moment in time was photographed and screen printed onto fabric, then placed on the back of the coat. Ruler pieces can be seen around the shoulder of the coat. They were used to symbolize our need to challenge unjust rules.

The Behind Closed Doors garment is interactive. The person can open or close the fourteen doors that comprise the outfit. Each door was made out of wood slats exposed to an open flame. The conceptual idea for Behind Closed Doors was based on being unaware of what happens in people's lives. Our view is limited to what we allow one another to see. The sculptural outfit, All Stirred Up (Stir Stick Jumpsuit), was inspired by the unrest of our current world. This armor corset was made using burned fabric and stir sticks that stretched across the chest panel of the pantsuit. Stir sticks were methodically placed at the model's heart to show that we are emotionally charged by social issues. Silent Killer (Straw and Cigarette Dress) is an A-line dress. This piece was created to highlight pollution in the form of littering and smoking. I used cigarette butts found on the street to create a pattern resembling a bug, which was then digitally printed onto fabric. The front shows the litterbug design. When the model turns around, the same design is burnt and deteriorated. The bug is embellished with black circles made of plastic straws to symbolize the glamorization of smoking by the media. Trillions of cigarette butts are littered annually. They expel nicotine and heavy metals into the environment before they become microplastic pollution.

Two outfits in this collection, Breaking the Record I (Vinyl Record and Stir Sticks) and Breaking the Record II (Vinyl Record and Paper), were created to celebrate overcoming obstacles. Breaking the Record I is a black sleeveless top displaying embellishments of vinyl slices of records and stir-sticks cut in half. The record elements are scattered to illustrate our emotions and the uncertainty of overcoming challenges. Weaving was chosen to symbolize the time and effort it takes to overcome an obstacle. The pink fiber in the weaving indicates small triumphs within the process of achievement. The other half of this series, Breaking the Record II, features vinyl manipulated to mimic the patterning on a monarch butterfly wing. This motif was chosen to highlight perseverance, specifically, striving towards an outcome that may not be achievable.

My hope is this collection cultivates vital conversations needed to improve our society and world. Creating garments that spark an intense interest and wonder is my mission. Actions speak louder than words; I used fire to symbolize the urgency and need to transform our world.