I am an A-level student living in South East London. I aspire to create Haute Couture fashion and also dream of becoming a Costume / Set Designer.
My parents are both Jamaican and emigrated to the UK, where I was born, and since moving to England have both faced a series of hardships over the years and found many difficulties in settling here and working – due to racial conflicts and the Government’s handling of immigration with Caribbean migrants. With the current pressing issues of racial injustice / systemic oppression around the world and the BLM movement building powerful awareness to these issues, I decided to research into the Windrush Generation.
I became fascinated, researching more into my heritage and finding out about the experiences of Caribbean migrants during the post wat period as well as the treatment of the Windrush Generation decades later, where I then discovered Theresa May’s involvement. Then after watching the new BBC documentary ‘Sitting In Limbo’ and combined with my own background, I was drawn to highlight this theme into my Textiles Medium and entry for this ‘Message to the Fashion Industry’ project.
I wanted to celebrate my Afro-Caribbean heritage in my outcome whilst implementing coastal / elemental imagery to document the story of Windrush and the migrants’ personal struggles utilising costal settings. Interweaving my research on slavery, I created a fashion piece with a traditional African Gele (headscarf) as well as a Bandeau and Wrap which are all highly textured with a series of mixed media techniques.
In short, my message to the fashion industry is to encourage the celebration of Black Culture and acknowledge its influence, whilst making sure our narratives and stories are told in order to educate and reform the system and remove unconscious bias.
Diary Entry Transcript: “Slowly it began to engulf me.The relentless waves of anticipation crept stealthily up my quaking body as my limbs caved in to defeat.I was drowning in a sea of conflicting emotions with only the unblinking stares of a gull as my witness.The closer we drew to the grey murky strip of land they announced to be England,the closer I drew away from my beloved Jamaica.Home.Now this foreign obscurity was to become my new home.Did I make the right choice leaving everything behind? My friends,family & life? My thoughts were suddenly interrupted as my fellow natives rushed to the deck and rich patois began to fill the air from all corners.Tilbury,1948” – by Antonia Paris Thompson