Mary Larkin designing for V V Brown in Oxfam’s latest project
Mary Larkin, 24, is another one of those bright young things working their way towards the core of our ruthless fashion industry. Having graduated from the Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton, she’s already got a couple of exciting new projects underway, working with the likes of Oxfam and V V Brown as one of six new designers in their new DWO up-cycling project as well as working on her own designs.
Larkin’s first collection was produced during her time at the Winchester School of Art and focuses heavily on notions of contrast. “Most designers will express themselves through their design, you may not see it yourself, but others always will. I suppose no matter what project I do, there are always aspects that are the same; an element of contrast with considered proportions and attention to detail.” This collection is called Coalescence and is based on the contrast between ballet dancers and motorcyclists and she collected a lot of first-hand research to inspire it. We love this daring combination of leathers and silk, as the two opposites inspired a very wearable collection.
Larkin’s work with V V Brown is proof that fashion can be reworked instead of mass-produced, and she has created a collection of up-cycled fashion, which involves using second-hand clothing and materials to dictate new designs. “Fashion is something I have always been interested in and loved, however, since graduating I have experienced and learnt much more about a darker side of the fashion industry. There is a huge amount of textile waste. Too much is produced too cheaply by third world factory workers to satisfy a want for fast and disposable fashion. Quality and fair trade are overlooked for the sake of an up-to-the-minute trend.” Her collection was sourced from the Oxfam warehouse where she literally grabbed pieces that she thought had potential, overseen by V V Brown. “I did a lot of deconstruction and reconstruction; cutting away from garments or adding detailing. It was very much a case of simply looking at the original and deciding how it could be adapted so someone would want to wear it again.” A percentage of the price from DWO items goes to the Oxfam cause.
Larkin has every intention of continuing along the lines of up-cycling and working with unplanned materials to create more of a challenge than drawing up a design and creating it off the paper. “It is an important reminder to us all of how wasteful we are; most of us will have items in our wardrobe that we don’t wear, but the possibilities of reinvention are endless! My plans for the future are not set in stone but I would definitely like to be involved in sustainable, eco-fashion in some way or another.”
For past and present DWO collections, click here.