Monday, September 26, 2016

Trusting that the earth is beneath you

Inspired by Annie Lennox and Sinéad O'Connor for their strength and vulnerability, Taya created these garments that are "clean and simple and easy to wear with a bit of unfinished edge sort of thing." Photo by Kelia Anne.

I haven't experienced back-to-school anticipation and excitement for a while, and now I'm enjoying it vicariously. My brave and talented friend Taya Badgley just left her home in Northern California for London to attend Central St. Martins to study fashion design. We recently had a great chat about her upcoming adventures and design process.  

This big move was carefully considered by Taya and her parents. For the last two years, she has studied at SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design. When a professor showed her class the CSM's graduate show and said "this is your competition." Taya decided she would apply to CSM, known for its alumni like Sarah Burton, John Galliano, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. She was thrilled when she was accepted. 


At twenty-one, Taya has already created a beautiful and substantial portfolio of work. She generously shared her images and thoughts with me. Here is a sampling of her designs and inspiration:

Photo by Kelia Anne
The above is Taya's response to a SCAD class assignment "find inspiration in an artist." She chose George Balanchine, which led her to one of his favorite dancers, Tranquil Le Clercq. At the height of her career, she contracted polio and her dance career ended. Taya explains, "This collection has many pleats and skirts made of stiff crinoline fabric. I wanted it to have a melancholic, beautiful feel and juxtaposition between movement and constriction."

Based on one of her mother's old Irish sweaters, she created the above mood board inspired by heritage, hard work and handwork.

An ongoing collection, the inspiration for "Roots" is real people, young and old. Taya sees them as people working in the fields and on farms, where clothes are made and mended by hand. This is an ongoing project.

Photo by Kelia Anne

For an independent project called "Amalgam", Taya designed and made this simple tunic,
inspired by medieval chemises.

Photo by Kelia Anne

The top is woven and spray-painted vinyl, inspired by primitive armor and medieval peasant wear. Taya says, "The skirt has a sort of Edwardian silhouette and is made from painted artist's canvas. The fringing on the top and hem is inspired by a decorative technique called dragging that was used in Medieval times. It created movement in the simple garments."

Taya and I chatted about what she was packing for London. In addition to "packing as many overalls as she can", she's wisely taking the warmth, coziness and comfort of her favorite sweater. In her thoughtful blog, Cautiously Optimistic, she wrote about her love of dance, and the words can also apply to her new adventure. "The ultra magical thing I've discovered is that by trusting your floor, your earth, your foundation YOU can LOOK look up and suddenly you move with freedom and levity because you logically KNOW and faithfully TRUST that the EARTH IS BENEATH YOU."

Good to remember when dancing, walking down the street or beginning a new life chapter.