Halina Edwards

My practice focuses on learning about parts of history that often go unheard of or undiscussed, to then present the history through the storytelling of clothes. My aim is to make people curious about learning about a world that's unfamiliar to their own, as I believe It's a really interesting way to make people a bit more educated on matters they were never aware of. With my textiles background, I explore handcrafted techniques and modern technologies to create a new vocabulary of fashion design.

My collection is about Asafo flags. Asafo flags were made in the early 18th century - late 19th century by the Fante people of Ghana. During this colonisation period, the Asafo people began adopting European and British military practices such as naming and numbering their states and companies and fighting under a flag. Many of the flags all had the Union Jack on them until Ghana claimed independence in 1957. Although childlike in their appearance, the flags are an act of resilience in a way, as the flags depict metaphors to scare off the opposition and to show that they were not to be messed with. The background colour of the flags signifies the company each flag is represented under. Now, the flags are very collectable outside of Ghana and are used mainly in peaceful celebrations and festivals in the country.

A festival the flags are commonly shown at is Oguaa Fetu Afahye festival which is celebrated by the chiefs and peoples of Cape Coast in Ghana, on the first Saturday in the month of September, annually. Inspired by the bright colours festival wearers wear, I also looked at the traditional and common dress of the wearers who celebrate this festival. Akan war wear is often worn as a traditional dress at this festival, particularly the 'batakari'. The batakari is a cotton smock with amulets attached to the garment, thought to protect the wearer from injury. Inspired by this, I have worked with fabrics such as wool to manipulate it by shrinking and moulding objects into it - experimenting the lengths in which the manipulation of this fabric can go.

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