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Art Works: Saffron Bramley-Astle

30 June 17 words: Saffron Bramley-Astle
photos: Sydnie Reynolds

The Nottingham Trent University graduate on her Ziggy Stardust Tribute Costume...

Photo: Sydnie Reynolds

I’m a costume designer and maker. I created this piece as a reaction to the death of the great David Bowie, and as part of my final-year projects for my costume design and making degree course at Nottingham Trent University. Inspired by the legacy he had on both fashion and music, the project acknowledges his bold use of avant-garde costume, immortalised most vividly in his Ziggy Stardust character.

15,000 individually attached plastic drinking straws adorn a jumpsuit evocative of Bowie’s iconic costumes. Sewn one by one, each straw shifts with every movement of the body. Once attached, the straws were then hand-cut to shape, and melted to create the costume’s bold silhouette, texture and form.

While trying to find a project that I could lend this interesting look to, the world was shook by the death of David Bowie. As a lifelong admirer of not only his music but also his performance aesthetic, I wanted to show my appreciation of the mark he left on the world of fashion, music and performance.

I focused on iconic elements recognisable of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust character to recreate his classic one-legged jumpsuit, as well as his striking orange mullet, while retaining my own personal design style through texture and silhouette. I designed it in early 2016, and the piece was produced on and off between November and February 2017, at Nottingham Trent University.

People are often shocked that it was possible to create something like this with straws. Most people think I’m mad for attempting such a technically difficult project that has such an unpredictable outcome, but the thrill, for me, is in challenging myself both mentally and technically.

As someone who’s always been captivated by film and performance, I found myself increasingly intrigued by the important role costume has in character development. The passion I have for these kinds of details has driven me to pursue a career in costume for the TV, theatre and film industry.

Given the time and money, I would love to further delve into the world of creating costumes from unconventional materials, as well as experiment with the possibilities of using straws in other costumes to create similar bold and dramatic pieces.

Catch Saffron Bramley-Astle’s work at the NTU Costume Design and Making Degree Show, Saturday 3 - Saturday 10 June.

Saffron Bramley-Astle website

Nottingham Trent University website

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