Niamh, 8:40 PM
I guess for me there is another element to collaboration which feeds into the fear and vulnerability and that is a sort of power dynamic, you often are collaborating with people you may not know that well, or at least that well in a work way, so i find the scary thing is like letting everyone’s voice come through but also not letting yourself be shut out? If that makes sense? You have to be constantly tuning the balance of ideas/ input & voices
Verity, 8:41 PM
Yes I agree N! It’s that balance, Niamh- when you see people photographing and styling your work do you feel that that’s a collab with you?
Niamh, 8:42 PM The “photoshoot” is a super super rewarding collaboration for me if a stylist is involved, because I feel like “my work here is done” I literally hand the things over and trust they will be reinterpreted by the photog/ model/ stylist in a new and exciting way. However if its my shoot i find that really really really hard because I have such a specific vision in mind and I’m like, I’m paying so even though I do want the photographer and models input, I can be more precious and annoying about it. Also sometimes you see your work taken into a context/ worn in a way that you HATE and it can be hard to let go!!
Michaela, 8:44 PM it’s definitely a vulnerable space to be in.. to be raw and open with other artists/creators while also being sensitive to their identities. Definitely flexibility and a willingness to dance together and finding a collective rhyme, our collective beat to create to. I think that’s where the magic happens. When all those energies merge and we become one beast.
Niamh, 8:44 PM totally
Verity, 8:45 PM I imagine that to be really hard Niamh… seeing your baby through someone else’s eyes
Michaela, 8:45 PM Yeah totally.. if the visions don’t gel at least
Verity 8:46 PM I think there’s so much magic in a good collaboration. Even a bad one sometimes! I come from a film/tv background where people are very department based. You learn to be VERY hands off of other people’s roles, and really focus on your job. I actually love this division personally and that’s why I think it’s important to collaboration with people I trust. So i can go- hands off- they got this.
Niamh, 8:47 PM It can be!! But on the other side then sometimes someone will take something you meant for one part of the body and create something so new and exquisite and exciting and that is worth it, like when you are shocked by your own work that is amazing. Like that tying thing you did in this shoot with the lingerie dress and that pink leopard print undies (you may not have known they were undies) but I adored that it looked so beautiful
Michaela, 8.48 PM Yes experimenting and repurposing is so beautiful. Actually this leads into a question I want to ask. I’ve noticed some beautiful parallels between themes in Verity’s styling and Niahm’s designs. Did you feel your practices married each other in our process? And how would you describe the personal themes you play with?
Niamh, 8:49 PM Truth be told I have been an admirer of Verity’s work for a long time, I am always drawn to film people so I don’t know if it was the sense of story in all your styling or what but I think the sense of “characters” speaks to me? Like Verity sort of uses clothing to build identities in picture (imo) and I feel like I try and make clothing that have little stories or personalities as well? Which I see in your work too, like layers of references and hidden stories and meanings and ideas built on top of eachother layered up
Verity 8:52 PM Yeah! I can see that.. every garment feels very full. I feel super connected and inspired in the truest meaning of the word by Niahm. When M and I went to her studio I came back BUZZING and sewed for a weekend straight because i was like- my thoughts make sense!!! haha
Michaela, 8:55 PM The parallels I see is rebellion, this punk kind of approach to both your practices, this kind of focus of youth but maybe in different ways – niamh is focused on this teen spirit vibe and verity is into this infantile kind of spin to fashion… I don’t know they kind of gel is this great way.
Jonno, 8:56 PM I think there’s definitely a cheekiness to it, both of you are actively reappropriating the language of high fashion and making it into something utilitarian and endeavouring to push the conversation forward. It’s refreshing in Sydney where every second student designer wants to be the next Ellery/Dion Lee etc
Verity 8:56 PM I also was sooo excited for Mykki to model Ramp Tramp TS. I have been frustrated for YEARS about ‘sample sizes’ and how limited they make photoshoots. Most subjects I’ve wanted to style sit outside of a size 8. I had a friend come over the night before the shoot and I could have cried being able to say “hey- try this on” knowing it would fit them and make them feel love.
Michaela, 8:58 PM Yesss i was sooo excited to see incredible garments on MY body!! finally… BIG BODIES ARE HOT TOO… fashion needs to make space for different bodies.. I’m bored.
Niamh, 9:00 PM Every time I get in front of the camera I freeze up, so I greatly admire your ability to model Miki, what about modelling holds allure for you? How does it make you feel?
Michaela, 9:01 PM Honestly.. I think when fashion is good, it’s iconic so shouldn’t it be on iconic bodies? and who can say what an iconic body looks like? they come in all shapes, sizes, ages, colours, genders, heights, abilities etc. I really enjoy modelling because fuck I want those garments on me and I want to play! I think the only reason I’m enjoying living is to play! And it’s just one of the ways I can play and create when it’s not making art or putting on queer events. I also think my body deserves space.. It holds massive power.. being a fat body and also being a non- binary trans body. I think beautiful imagery is LOUD and I want my body to be LOUD and I want people to ask questions. Because right now, people just assume stuff around gender when they see my body or how I present. Also just being bigger is a political or controversial statement – I get a kick out of that.
During the creative process, what type of bodies did you envision Ramp Tramp Tramp Stamp adorning and how did that initial vision embody the themes across your work?
Niamh, 9:10 PM It is stereotypical to say but my process is very personal and will always start with just whatever is going on in my life at that time, on ALL levels, what people are posting on instagram, what Kim Kardashian is up to, am I fighting with my boyf? what song am I listening to? What nice or not nice things have people said to me recently?
So I guess that with this collection (Super Lust Fuck, Where Love Blooms) it was very much this swirl of just coming out of a massive massive period of heart break which tore me to shreds, and also of a fascination with my friends and the sydney queer community who HEAVILY nurtured me through that heartbreak and also moving into a new sharehouse with a range of different people and kind of trying to get back in touch with my sexuality after feeling kind of hideous for a second. And so that all amalgamated into this brainstorm of different references and also there was a side to it was missing the time just before I had my heart smashed when I was in LA, dreaming about skater boys with all my pals and just having like the most perfect Californian summer. we were all just full on hard core Ramp Tramps which is where the name comes from. Also in a way kind of telling my LA pals like thank you for that summer i will always be a ramp tramp lol
In terms of the bodies, I always always make a rule to myself that the clothing has to fit me so that is the starting point but also I wanted the pieces to have a really wide range of size flexibility for a huge range of bodies. I am always totally in awe of the way my friends and I like don’t go shopping and find things that “fit” us, we go op shopping and you sort of have to make the clothing fit, so that was a central idea, like it will fit different people in different ways. I always think there is a beauty in one person being drowned in a shirt and then another person it gapes at the buttons and reveals sexy cleavage moments. Yes and again that also feeds back into the gender stuff, like both size and gender because, for example, in one piece I take a size 6 pair of mass produced jeans which we are told can only be worn by a certain body and then it’s like well no *both. You don’t get to dictate who these are for clothing can’t possibly have a gender! its inanimate!
Michaela, 9:23 PM Yes totally.. I think the individual dictates the gender of the clothing- but then again my perception of what’s femme and masc is maybe a bit different to the cisbinary norm idea around all of that when i’m at my most ‘feminine’, I can feel really masc and vice versa! I was moving quite fluidly through my own internal gender expressions throughout the during of the shoot it was really nice and I feel like ramp tramp really allows for that.
Verity, 9:26 PM Jonno, I want to know how you see a photoshoot in your head vs the reality of it. Do you have expectations of what the photos will be before the shoot… did this one match those thoughts if so? I love watching Jonno work, they are like a quiet panther and doing it all in those 70’s flares w a apple booty!
Michaela, 9:26 PM How do you go about capturing the complexities and nuances of queer/trans identities in your work while injecting your own stylistic identity?
Jonno, 9:32 PM Miki, I think my main takeaway from years of shooting is that everyone has a different way of communicating their identity/story/narrative and it’s my job as the photographer to tap into that in some respect. I think i might be more hands off than some photographers and ultimately I want to be helping someone come to their own conclusions about the images we’re trying to make. I feel like a lot of people struggle to self- actualise because our world is so restrictive and claustrophobic so photoshoots can be an interesting way to work that out together, in a really tactile way, even if it;s only for a short time. There are certain visual motifs that I’ve become drawn to but I can never really name them explicitly when people ask! I think it’s nice when people tell me my work is recognisable in some way for that reason.
Jonno, 9:37 PM And Verity, usually I have a vague idea of how I’d like a photo shoot to look – will pull together a moodboard and think about the kind of place/time we’ll be shooting – and then leave the rest to chance. I think spontaneity is really beautiful and I’m often optimistic that the chemistry between the people involved will lead to something unique, and I think planning too much risks losing the magic that comes from being in that intimate creative space with other people. You want to make sure it’s an active conversation and it’s not all pre-planned, otherwise I think a lot of the beauty of the whole thing is easily lost!
Michaela, 9:39 PM That’s a beautiful answer, J and I definitely agree – there’s so much untapped magic in the spontaneous moment and the adrenalin of bouncing off each other.
Niamh, 9:42 PM OK one more question for Verity, when you are starting to think about styling something, how does that process start? is it with a piece of clothing? or a model or something more vague? What is that process?
Michaela, 9:45 PM I’m just gonna pop on in here and say while you’re typing away about your process, Verity.. is that you also have a process during shooting too… you take in the texture and feel of your environment and continue evolving the styling in the moment too i feel which i love and relate to.
Verity, 9:45 PM Thank you! I really enjoy the process of thinking about clothes in different contexts. For me the skate park shoot was a must, as I loved how it represented the brand’s origins, but also the way it subverts the masculitity of skate park culture and then (kick) flips it on it’s head again, as M identifies as Non-binary. I have a brain that has been fed on imagery. My mama was a really beautiful photographer and i spent my childhood modeling/ photo assisting all kinds of her shoots. I think this was really influential as it meant I was ALWAYS surrounded by ideas, concepts and theories and such a wide range of images, from fashion to photojournalism. I have always been a hoarder so I love finding where these things fit and often in strange ways it becomes cathartic – the bear was my mama’s who died last year – and I was missing her so much that week. And then some how it ends up in M’s arms. Styling is kinda like a motion for me.. like moving and finding the clues and then finding the homes for the clues.
Niamh, 9:52 PM That is so special and it is so nice that it can have that effect on you, i think that if creative process can let you work through and sort of store feelings that’s the most important thing.
Michaela, 10:00 PM I feel we all really embody the word eternateen in our practices and how we move in the world
Verity, 10:01 PM what does eternateen mean?
Michaela, 10:01 PM its a mesh of eternity and teen, a teen for eternity- and its such a queer concept!! To be ageless… The term was coined by Ambrose Pearson Ilett
Verity, 10:02 PM because of the idea of transitions and in between spaces?
Michaela, 10:03 PM yes that and the rejection of the norm. the human timeline.. queers seem to surpass that and play by their own rules around age, expectation, life choices and that reflects in our art
Niamh, 10:04 PM Totally and again it goes back to that very queer idea of rejecting fit, like how things should fit certain genders, certain sizes and again i think it is in that teen time that people are first able to play with fit and in a lot of ways their queerness because clothes do not really fit teens properly ever, none are really designed for them, much like with queer bodies or fat bodies!!
Verity, 10:05 PM <3333333333333333333 haha i love that it’s true
Michaela, 10.05 PM This chat room is full of eternateens!
Verity, 10.05 PM Cheers to that.