Moments after I was commissioned to collaborate on a re-design for MoMA’s exhibition, 'Items: Is Fashion Modern?' (MoMA's second ever Fashion exhibition in 73 years!!!) my heart was racing with anxiety and excitement as I paced MoMA’s white-washed lobby. I rang my parents sobbing with joy and disbelief, they could barely understand me because I was panting and talking too fast, as I quite often do. After the call ended I remember standing outside for at least twenty minutes unable to go home, I really wanted to remember that feeling. For as long as I can remember it has been a life-goal for me to one day have my work exhibited in a museum. Not because it would look pretty decent on a resume, (which it kinda does guys...) but because to me it meant that I was doing something meaningful with my life. People give themselves different goals or have other ideas of success, but this has always been mine.
Museums are incredibly important. Artifacts that signify culture and society, all interweaved to tell a story about humans. Designers often have to work for years to get to that stage. However, this is a different time in Fashion, where we are undergoing an exciting shift and reinvention. My work isn't about years of experience in an atelier, though one day it may be. My work reflects a significant moment in time. The now. A time where we need more inclusion and equality. To me this incredible accolade is a marker for all the work and collaboration we have left to do.
I gave myself three main goals when creating the pantyhose:
- To make the tights more easily accessible to get on and off for the user
- To be more comfortable for the seated posture
- To posses all the elegance and elements that define the pantyhose.
Tights are incredibly difficult to get on and off, and can often involve a lot of wiggling and lunges around the bedroom. However if you are someone with limited mobility, poor dexterity or are seated for prolonged hours of the day such as a wheelchair user, this can prove even more challenging. I wanted to create easier access and increased comfort for those who are seated but in doing so not to sacrifice the purpose and historical role of pantyhose which were to make the legs appear silky smooth and flawless!
I was conscious to create a better fitting, dense and smooth yarn around the buttocks, like shape wear, to eliminate elastic cutting into the thighs and thus causing discomfort. I was also conscious about eliminating wrinkles/seams in the tights that would be in direct contact with skin and chair (if a wheelchair user) due to the fact this garment is an incredibly intimate garment. This intimacy could cause skin breakdown or other harmful scenarios such as hypertension. So, more variable stretch around the buttocks in order to cater for the spread of muscle and fat for when we are in a seated position. I also increased the height at the back by four inches higher than the front, so that the tights don't fall down. (This is due to our pelvis swinging forward when we are seated.) There is dotted grip underneath the foot so that when pushing a leg into the tights, the foot doesn’t slide away and there are two thumb pulls on the zippers which open the tights wide and to a little above the knee for easy on-easy off.