‘When you’re faced with something particularly difficult, you happen to look around for signs from the universe,’ says Claudia Gusella, the Fashion Design Womenswear graduate, whose final collection Everything is great * presents a personal account of overcoming trauma and dealing with the prospect of her own mortality.

Reflecting upon the tumultuous time of the past year, the Italian-born-and-raised designer was trying to find a historical period in which the world and humanity were faced with a similar situation. Intrigued by the transition from the Black Plague pandemic into the Renaissance, she wishes to convey a positive message with her collection. ‘Something to be thankful for rather than fearful of,’ the British Fashion Council scholarship recipient explains.

It was the symbolism of medieval art from Italian gardens and palaces that Gusella visited last summer that became the inspiration for mirroring her own experience and way of dealing with a personal tragedy through allegories in her collection. While the armour, made from repurposed beer cans donated by the designer’s neighbours, is a symbol of protection and oppression at the same time, the dress made out of almost 900 egg shells – blown and cleaned beforehand – creates a chainmail representing rebirth and a vision of a brighter future.

Trying to be as resourceful as possible, the notion of sustainability is an important part of Gusella’s final collection. From using found or donated fabrics to developing her own bioplastic sequins, she tries ‘to make sustainability desirable, entertaining and enjoyable.’

Adam Urbanik,
BA Fashion Journalism