Thomas Brookes recently showed his SS14 collection at Graduate Fashion Week in London. He graduated with a BA in Fashion Design from Bath Spa University.
Thomas Brookes’ graduate collection was significantly influenced by the works and practices of artists Ane Graff and Antoni Tápies. Following his father’s death, Brookes was forced to confront the hallmarks of his past life. He discovered long forgotten objects and mementoes in the attic of his family home, among them a box of motorcycle trophies. Brookes transposed the draped silhouettes of these trophies onto garments while divesting the objects of personal meaning.
Both Graff and Tápies work with the idea of emptiness, delving into the void to create something where there once was nothing. Brookes’ work shows a deep affinity with these two artists; their influence is most strongly felt in his print and fabric which work together to suffuse his pieces with a hollow sense of loss.
His interpretation of the motorcycle trophies is at once extremely literal and highly imaginative, personal yet universally pertinent. Thomas explained to Modeconnect: “My intention with the collection was to take these [motorcycle] trophies –objects of a highly personal significance– and to approach them in a way so as to subtract any personal connotation….While this collection initially stemmed from something really quite self-indulgent, I hoped to be able to distort this into something that is both aesthetically pleasing, and, readable to all, through the language of clothes.”
Tyre track patterns crafted from materials found in his father’s garage communicate the fragmentary nature of memory, as well as the power of death to reimagine the past. Mixing stiff with supple Thomas uses the contrast of double painted cotton and fluid satin and easily damaged, raw weave organic silk to give his pieces textural tension.
The natural collage style of sketchbooks lends itself well to Thomas’ work. The pages of his sketchbook, which is at once a photo album, a memory box and a scrapbook are covered with his careful line drawings. The black and white of ink and paper are bloodied by spatters of red, giving a sense of muted melancholy and a darkness which skulks in the shadows.