Shade: Embroidered Suits

The Shade suits were developed for as a tailoring commission for the performance project Shade; working with ideas of migration and hybrid communities, we started with the idea of the global business suit, a garment to travel globally in, and embroidered it with the visas and personal narratives of each wearer, creating a stunning tailored ‘passport’ which charted the actual histories of migration and exchange of each wearer. The Dandy suit carried Prince of Wales feathers in Rastafari colours, working many Dandy cultures of dress and street style. The Landowner suit was layered in tweed, embroidered with the wearer’s favourite birds and the urban foxes in her garden.

The embroideries for the Shade suits were all based on urban graffiti combined with stories of migration, and the idea of the embroideries becoming like visas, embellished onto the suits, wearing your identity on your sleeve. Urban graffiti marks territories as surely as passport stamps do, and for the Shade suits, each graffiti became a cartel logo; the Explorer, for example, was a Land Pirate, her jacket covered in samples of her exploration, from a zebra adapted from the unicorns on the British passport coat of arms, to crocodiles, bones and fish skeletons….