Bianca Boyd uses whimsical fashion design to encourage us to rethink the garment walls we encase ourselves in, asking us instead to play around in them and discover new ways of wearing.
Published exclusively for The Urban Scrapbook
I can’t help but be drawn to the performative which is reflected in my own behaviour and mannerisms
Too often, caught up in the sub-conscious rigidity of modern society, it’s easy to forget to have fun. With her latest work, Bianca Boyd uses whimsical fashion design to encourage us to rethink the garment walls we encase ourselves in, asking us instead to play around in them and discover new ways of wearing.
Inspired by the idea of fashion as performance, Bianca’s design is playfully inviting: stretchy knitwear suggests a malleability and pull; vibrant colours speak to a child-like innocence engulfed in a simple palette; and the ever-changing placement of hem tags tell us to throw convention into the wind and decide for ourselves how anything is to be worn.
Raised on a good dose of Australian country and the wide-open freedoms that come with the almost anti-urban, Bianca Boyd’s work speaks to an inner desire to have more fun.
Here’s what she had to say (the following has been slightly edited for readability):
How would you describe yourself?
I’d say I’m an incredibly playful person by nature and though I have a terrible sense of humour, it’s allowed me to forge a sense of self where I’m not afraid to laugh, even when it’s mostly at myself. I take a lively approach to most things and my excitement is often mistaken as flirtation as I attempt to grasp the attention of others through my not so quiet persona. I can’t help but be drawn to the performative which is reflected in my own behaviour and mannerisms. I also like to think I make considerate decisions, mainly surrounding sustainability and ethics in not only what I do/eat/wear but also in my own creative practices.
It’s this merging of garment and body that most appeals to me.
What is it about fashion that appeals to you as a creative practice?
I see fashion as a way of creating art in a far more usable form. Compared to something that is just hung and observed in gallery spaces. Instead, it allows me to combine both aesthetics and functionality that are transferable through the use of the body. It’s this merging of garment and body that most appeals to me. It serves as a way of wearing art and becomes a performance of your identity.
Do we need to buy and own so much if we could essentially wear one piece in multiple ways?
Let’s talk about your latest collection, which I absolutely love.
What are you trying to achieve?
So as a person so drawn to play I wanted to question and look at how we amuse ourselves with fashion, which is just a game, after all. Much like rules in games, we essentially abide by them but we don’t necessarily follow them to the full letter. We wear shirts with one neck hole, place our arms through the correct armholes, and wear the garments the same way each time. This action removes that sense of play and unpredictability for new possibilities and opportunities.
My collection reflects how play and games influences the method used in constructing these garments. The wearer has lots of possibilities now in how they wear and play in them. With multiple ways for the garments to be worn, it’s a comment on the larger issue of consumption, Do we need to buy and own so much if we could essentially wear one piece in multiple ways?
The collection’s colours are vibrant to reflect this idea of fun and playful nature. Through creating an entirely knitwear based collection, I’ve eliminated closures and incorporated a range of give in the garment meaning it can be stretched and moved without restriction to be worn in various ways.
I’ve also played with the tags on which I have woven poems my friend Tim Hassall wrote for my work, which are then attached in various locations on the garments, which questions the purpose of the tag, which most people normally ignore but use as an indication to which way a garment should be worn.
Here, I’ve explored just how the game of fashion requires our participation. It’s all just a performance of playing, after all. And in this I’m giving the wearer control over my collection, by removing myself I give them control as almost designer. Through this I am even learning new ways my garments can be worn constantly.
So fascinating! I love it. Who are some of the artists you draw creative inspiration from, especially in this play context?
Erwin wurm is my main inspo, especially with his one minute sculptures. Olek (Agata Oleksiak), a knitwear based artist who uses public spaces to showcase her works. Adele Varcoe, in creating fashion experiences. Walter Van Beirendonck, for use of colours and humorous elements. Designer label Ph5.
Uff Erwin Wurm is such a genius.
Where did you grow up and what role did play have for you as a younger Bianca?
I grew up in the small country town of Gundagai before moving to Albury for high school. Growing up in the country before moving to a regional city definitely gave me such a care-free childhood not immersed in fashion whatsoever but just creatively free, if anything. Man, I was such a dork but was always willing to give absolutely everything a go, doing far too many sports, dancing and everything in between. But I think having such varied hobbies and an unseriousness to it all meant I’d continue to grow up with this willingness to try anything and push myself to just have a go, with a what’s to lose? mentality. This upbringing will always be there to drag me back to earth and never let my head get too big, I think. My mum is the creative one who was always making outfits for my sister and I throughout this time, especially costumes and Christmas outfits. Once I was old enough my sister and I took over and would make our own, and still make Christmas outfits to this day.
So Gundagai to Albury to Melbourne …
Just keep getting bigger, aye?
Where to next, or is Melbourne your home now?
I did exchange in Europe last year and so either hoping to send myself back that way or New York to work for my dream company. Anywhere to just keep pushing on forward.
From a fashion perspective, perhaps in the nearer future, what can we look forward to next?
I’m wanting to extend my skills in computerised knitwear so I’m wanting to gain technical skills surrounding it and possibly keep pushing this collection further.
Images and artwork courtesy of Bianca Boyd