Yvette Estelle Jeffrey graduated with a 1st Class Honors in 3D Design at Grays School of Art, Aberdeen. After a successful exhibition at New Designers London 2013, she is returning to Grays as a Graduate in Residence to expand my collection and broaden my range of practical skills.
‘The inspiration behind this collection was the African fetish doll, frequently called “nail fetishes”. They are created and blessed to protect communities and individuals from evil spirits. Generally, they are wooden carvings covered with a variety of objects such as metal blades, feathers, fabrics and most commonly, nails. To us, nails are used every day to build and hang objects, their purpose is to join and fasten, and to be hidden. When used on the figurines they are symbolic and hold great spiritual and metaphorical power. The contradiction of our use in materials and theirs is very intriguing and became the key feature in my designs. The simple shape of the nail was incorporated with unique methods of sewing and construction. I had never really sewn before this project and had to teach myself many new techniques in both hand and machine stitching. With the fetish dolls being such strong and powerful icons, I felt it was important to create a collection that was suitable for both the male and female body.
My work and interest in design has always been inspired by couture fashion and theatrical costume. The collaboration of Shaun Leane and Alexander McQueen was and always will be my aspiration. I create body adornment and decorative accessories, I would love to find someone I could create a strong professional bond with and collaborate in such a way that our work complimented each other and, in a way, needed each other. Exhibition and methods of display are very important to me. Most of my pieces are not for everyday wear, therefore I feel that they need a unique and interesting way to be viewed. The wall mannequins were handmade and mounted on specially handcrafted frames. The idea behind it was to portray a tongue-in-cheek reference to mounting animal heads on a wall as a trophy.’
‘I like to push the boundaries of fashion and body adornment. I strive for my work to be “aesthetically misleading” but overall, impressive. My strength is in using unusual materials and objects to create textures, forms and patterns in a non-traditional way. I am always looking into trying new things and expanding my work into other areas, like with my degree show collection of large couture fashion pieces; smaller accessories and printed T-shirts, all inspired by the spiritual and highly decorated figurines known as African fetish dolls.’