‘It is very much this bio-morphic, surrealist fantasy that I’m trying to create and communicate through my textiles and clothes,’ says Gregory Ojakpe, a graduating BA Fashion Knitwear designer. Born in Nigeria, and raised in South London, he has focussed his years at college on developing intricate new textiles, and techniques. One knitting technique in particular Ojakpe has experimented with since his second year, and was the genesis of his graduation collection: ‘My final collection is inspired by a selection of samples I created last year, they are sculptural, and a combination of woven cords into elastomeric to create shapes inside of the fabric,’ he says. These look somewhere between mushroom-like swellings and obscure whirling sweets. They are thick and stiff to touch, but bend easily along ribbed cables that run through like veins.
He photographed them, sliced up the prints, and made collages – adding the curved sculptures of Henry Moore and Barbra Hepworth, and cuttings of the surrealist beasts that roam within artist Max Ernst’s oeuvre. ‘I am trying to get that surrealist feel in the colour scheme, and ombré from one shade to another,’ Ojakpe says. ‘It’s this bio-morphic, surrealist fantasy. Weird and dream-like.’ Looking forwards, Ojakpe has recently been awarded a Sarabande scholarship, and is looking to continue making before moving onto an MA course in design. ‘Everyone graduates at some point,’ he says, ‘so I’m not looking at this as the end – I’m looking at it as the beginning.’
By Joe Bromley