‘I started weightlifting two years ago and began building a relationship with myself that I had never felt before,’ says Hollie Dow, 22, who has studied BA Fashion Womenswear. ‘Building muscle was such a new addition, you feel like a real sculptor and artist of your own body.’
On her placement year, Dow, who was born near Birmingham, travelled to Northern Italy to work with Rick Owens’ research and development team. ‘Being in Italy, I was very interested by the raw materials, the architecture, the really orange streets,’ she says. This, and her new perspective on the human body, come together in her graduation collection.
Primary research began with photographing muscles, before Dow experimented with their silhouettes in sculptures of the upper body. Her final garments include a bar bell weight structure, which can be collapsed inside a white jersey dress, and draped ropes to accentuate the muscularity of the back. One ‘metal dress’ has been crafted from stretched ribbed knit, which has been treated roughly with foil achieving a leather effect.
‘A lot of it is made with jersey,’ Dow says, because ‘you can pull it to its limit.’ And while much of her research was primary and personal, ‘the placement of prints are inspired by [Brazilian artist] Mira Schendel and [Italian sculptor] Arnaldo Pomodoro.’
‘For me the process and development are everything,’ she says. And it is in this area she wishes to pursue a career going forwards.
Joe Bromley, BA Fashion Journalism