Sourena has been compelled to visit his immediate past and the historical past in order to make sense of the present. His designs signal towards greater social anxieties as well as to specific historical events. The collection has been inspired by the photographic reference of the arrests of Suffragette protesters. For Sourena these references represent spectral encounters, where women occupy the space of being and non-being and are physically subjugated and controlled. During the design development, Sourena observed these spectral events of the past being played out in contemporary events in Tehran, manifested through the #GirlsOfRevolutionStreet protest movement. Two garments became highlighted for Sourena, the early 20th Century trench coat seen in photographs of suffragettes, and the late 20th Century ‘Manteau’ worn by Iranian women. At the same time, he was inspired by the visual artist Prue Stent and choreographer/dancer Martha Graham. Sourena saw similar parallels representing resistance and freedom in their work. The collection reflects the pervasive presence of the past in the new millennium, a metafiction, a retro-futurism. The collection defines a moment of capture, resistance and liberation. Whilst the collection drawers on distinctive cultural traditions of the headscarf and trench coat, there is no clear single cultural distinction. The choice of fabrics emphasises fluidity and freedom and while taking the shape of the wearer, reveals femininity and empowerment.
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