In the wake of yet another successful Fashion Revolution Day which took place a few weeks ago my brain began ticking away with thoughts of ethics in fashion and particularly production. As serendipity would have it I also stumbled across Caroline Rose Kaufman, born and raised in West Virginia with a penchant for handmade clothing which combines traditional techniques with story telling. It's also been very chilly lately so knitwear has been on my mind a lot lately but her pieces are exceptional in that knitwear has not been exclusively reserved for scarves, sweaters and beanies. Needless to say, I was intrigued with her work and have always been drawn to practitioners who see their creations as three dimensional artwork rather than a piece of clothing. To anyone from Australia her aesthetic is akin to that featured in Frankie magazine and from the outset I myself was won over by her photo shoot starring a woman of colour.
Although there are specific colours which Kaufman has experimented within this collection she is in no way limited by them, instead she has explored all avenues with a variety of techniques. On the contrary, her intricate knits celebrate handmade clothing in a way that echoes human experience. The shapes of her clothes allow room for growth and development in a way that is liberating but without being tactful. Her clothes hang loosely on the figures but are enshrined in beautifully hand painted iconography or hundreds of weaved threads. They are unlike garments sold through daytime television infomercials for the sole purpose of providing a solution to women with insecurities about their weight. This is in part because they were lovingly made by hand with commercial success of lesser importance. The little beetles or cacti which appear on several of the linen dresses remind me of journal pages shared through Tumblr which again has been reinforced by the handmade brown paper backdrop.
My personal favourite piece is the gorgeous and angelic peachy coloured dress with pom poms! I only tried to make pom poms once but instead of cute little well formed fuzz balls I was left with a mess of yarn of equal length. Since said incident I have never tried again fearing the same results but I have always been struck with a quiet respect for those who have mastered the tricky little things. Especially those who can make pom pom sculptures (especially Rachel Burke writer of I make it. You wear it) in the shape and design of little fruits. For whatever reason during fall and winter I have an insatiable appetite for soft floaty dresses which are impractical given the weather but I love wearing them with lots of layers. It's my way of countering the Melbourne subculture which is entrenched in all black, very little colour and smart business coats. Those mega-talented babes who have the technical guise to create pom poms could probably create their own dress, in addition to pom pom platform heels and flower crowns.
These gingham dresses remind me of school uniforms, but that influence in particular is subtle drowned out by thick knitwear, pom poms and sheer leggings. It also reminds me of an outfit my friend Kelly from Glitterous Clittoris posted to her instagram although her take on gingham was decidedly different! A commonality to both these aforementioned sources is the gingham hasn't been used ironically but documents the steady evolution from childish things. The shapes and silhouettes are far-removed from baggy dresses, inspiring a spring of admonishments from a motherly figure assuring us we would grow into them. These have been instead replaced by loosely hanging tops, silk slip dresses and plenty of mouth watering embellishments. To say nothing of those divine wooden soled sandals with leather straps harking back to the bohemian era. These archaic artifacts have been modernized by the exuberance of youth and the most dreamy spring colour palette.