The SS14 collection is titled ‘eleven’. The narrative explores the traditional values of
sportsmanship and “the spirit of the game”, particularly within the gentlemanly sport of cricket.
The convention of using the Roman numeral notation for a cricket team originates from an era
of classist and educational elitism. It highlights ‘the team’ paradox of alienation and belonging
that traditional colonial sports represent, and within which cultural and gender identities are
formed. Even though team sports certainly bring communities together, provide a healthy
lifestyle and a grounding of ‘sportsmanship’ morality, where rules and discipline are taught and
upheld. These same sports separate children from adults, men from women, and community
from community. These complexities are what the SS14 ‘XI’ collection addresses.
According to Varda Burstyn (The rites of men: Manhood, politics, and the culture of sport), “the
rituals of sport engage more people in a shared experience than any other institution or
cultural activity”, thus the social gender implications; where physical strength and gender clarity
are of the utmost importance, are certainly worth addressing. Sport is one of the few institutions
left where these physical certainties are key to the game, and eventually determine ‘the
participant’ and eventually ‘the winner’. Our physical nature and innate desire for dominance
often defines our primal identity. Gentlemanly sports becomes a vessel to express this.
Collection research began with the film Fire in Babylon and various historical accounts where
Britain recognised the power of ‘the game’ to reinforce the social hierarchy and ‘boundaries’ in
it’s colonies. The cricket 'boundary' is therefore deeply symbolic of people struggling to express
themselves. This notion is represented by the piping ‘boundaries’ within the garments’ panels.
The piping, as well as being a cliché feature of sportswear, also references the anatomy of the
body, essentially our common veins. They are again symbolic of the physical nature of the sport
where gender clarity is of the utmost importance. From this point the research developed to
look at radical and often sensationalist feminist groups, who tend to overlook the
unquestionable physical differences that stand as a reminder that men and women
fundamentally have very different identities.
The print is a reference to the physical, literally using our common heart as the visual, pitted in
crystals, distorted and sublimated into the ‘spacer air-tex’ fabric. Vein-like threads are
embroidered within the fabric to create compressions to fit the garments to the body and also
break away from it. Vein-like piping also orbits the milky organza in graphic ruffles mimicking
traditional cricket padding. The collection is comprised according to the T.EDWARDS three-
element structure, where layering pieces are made up of couture concept pieces, ready-to-
wear, basics and accessories.
The film reflects the narrative of the collection and also takes reference from the Salvador Dali
The Royal Heart, 1953. Featuring a bull heart pitted in crystals thawing out in an inwardly
reflective landscape as the anchor point. The film explores the banal and often gratuitous
desire for physical dominance referencing gender clarity boundaries.