Principles of Science and Dress: Matter, Form & Motion | Elizabeth Walecki

Elizabeth Walecki is a final year Fashion Textile student studying at De Montfort University, specialising in knitwear. Her work explores the boundaries between art and science, placing the body amidst the language of science through knit. Here she shares the development of her collection in her own words.

My design process revolves around the connection between the body and textile. With an ability to be technically aware, I capture the language of the body into knitwear that can enhance, conceal and flatter through considered yarn and stitch.

My final project is titled: Principles of Science and Dress: Matter And Form

The inspiration for this collection originates in the study between Artists and Scientists, whereby both explore new ideas and construct new realities. Helping to interrogate the world and our place in it. The relevance of this was highlighted at the exhibition “The Art of Innovation: From Enlightenment to Dark Matter”, which depicts 250 years of this interaction between the two practices.

Although not a perfect relationship at times, we are now able to understand the unseen or previously incomprehensible because of the interaction of these disciplines. This notion of placing the body amidst the language of science was the catalyst for my collection. Simplifying the principle states of matter into solid, liquid and gas, determines the structural elements of the knitted outcomes.

I question if a garment can be treated similarly to water, a liquid element which could also evaporate or condense depending on the element’s context. Can a wearer alter the ‘state’ of the garment? Altering how it is interpreted or perceived by others, by how the garment rests on the person, how much free-space is present (gas), the movement/flow of the clothing (liquid) or the rigidity, smoothness or density of the yarn or material (solid). This is not only reflected in the form of the person at one time but also by their actions and behaviour that constantly alter the garment’s form, similarly to the entropic process of water’s state, as the wearer moves or portrays emotions.

It is this journey that I wished to examine and portray within my collection.

The relationship we have with our clothes is highly personal and is one that carries an unknowing signifi- cance. Unconsciously, the art of dressing can change our mood, our self-perception and how we want to present ourselves to our peers. Just like entropic changes within our environment happening that we are unaware of, we too are unmindful of the significance of the relation between our body and fabric, and what form follows because of it. Our relationship with our clothes, once worn, are reshaped through movement, being stretched, washed and worn, never truly returning to its prior state. Like elemental collisions, two things colliding is unpredictable and never truly repeatable.

This notion influenced my garment shape, knit structure and the handle of the fabric.

UNCERTAIN SELF

My pre-collection, titled Uncertain Self, explores the persistent battle in which we face to reach utopia, triggered by our obscured self-perception. Using Sylvia Plath’s poem Mirror as a reference for initial visual research, I explored how one’s form can be altered through reflection, revealing and concealing in order to create the desired image we want to put out to the world.

Garments created for this collection were created on a 10GG Dubied, all fully fashioned and linked, using hand dyed merino wool, cashmere and viscose.

Visit Elizabeth Walecki’s website and follow on Instagram