Quanta Cory, talking us through her unconventional, up-cycled and 80's retro inspired collection

Tell us about yourself

I always knew I wanted to go into the Fashion or Creative Industry ever since I started secondary school. I have a background in both Textiles and Art, which I did both at GSCE and A level before pursuing a degree In Fashion & Textiles.

One thing that really inspires me is the use of different and unconventional materials, such as old technology which I used in my final project at university. I have always been attracted to strange materials as such.

As a Designer of graduating class 2020, what do you see as the challenges and opportunities to the future of your career?

As a graduating designer of 2020 there are both challenges and opportunities in the upcoming months. I made the decision to stay on and do a masters at university to help broaden my skills and open up new opposites and experiences before I enter the Creative Industry.

Your latest collection Electric Gold sparked our attention for your incorporation of old technology and use of recycled materials. What was your inspiration for this and why did you choose to focus on Retro?

My collection is a celebration of retro 1980s technology. I used unique, unlikely materials repurposed for this collection, along with recycled rich velvets and tightly woven denims which are heavily associated with this era and bring with them a nostalgic quality. The combination of metallic foils, bold bright vinyl prints and EL wire lights bring a modern twist to the garments. Silhouettes taken from the 80s, such as the classic high-necked shell suit and wide legged flares alongside oversized sleeves and recycled computer parts adding personality to the collection. The colour palette relies heavily on the fact that ALL fabric is recycled; resulting in mix-matched colour juxtapositions, a combination of rich reds, deep blues, subtle pinks and contrasting bottle greens. The main fabrics are closely accompanied by colours associated with circuit boards, also present as highlight colours. The garments are carefree and fun, reflecting the positivity of the 1980s through the use of carefully misplaced and layered foil and vinyl prints, representing the complexity of circuit boards.

The main idea behind the collection is to celebrate the old technology, without it we would not be able to communicate and stay in touch with others in the way we do today.

I leaned towards using recycled cassette tapes and CDs in my work as I believe music is one of the biggest medias that can bring everyone together and unite us as one. Sustainability is also an important focus in the industry, hence why all the denim and velvet used was up-cycled from old garments. I enjoy working with unconventional materials which is why I added the old technology, computer parts, floppy disks, cassette tapes and CDs to give my collection an interesting and exciting twist.

There are coloured EL wires running through some of the garment’s seams (on the flares on outfit one, the 3D sleeved jacket one outfit two and the plastic half belt skirt on outfit three). These have also been programmed to flash, in order to draw attention to the garments as well as incorporate the 80s disco feel to the collection. The shape and colour of these lights were taken from arcades, which I used as my location shoot for my final looks.

When coming up with a name for my collection I wanted something a little different. The name of my collection “Electric Gold” is actually the meaning behind my first and middle name: Quanta, meaning energy, movement and electricity and Aurelia, meaning golden. I did this as I wanted my collection to be personal to me and having a unique name made me think it was a nice way to add this touch, while remaining relevant to my collection (electric linked to the old technology and lights and gold linked to the foil I used as my textiles prints).

Some of the unlikely materials you have used in Electric Gold would be consider "un-sustainable" for example CDs, Cassettes and Wires. Hence you face the challenge between a sustainable garment in its production process and unsustainable in its execution.

All the unlikely materials were purchased from charity shops or given to me directly by people who were simply going to throw them out. These technologies aren’t used as much today as they have been in the past and people are looking to get rid of them, so instead of sending them to a landfill I decided to use the ones I managed to get a hold of in my work. I was even given part of an old computer which I ended up using almost every single part of, the inside circuit boards where trapped between old CD pockets and bigger metal pieces I bent into shoulder shapes and covered them in zip ties for look 2.

Would you say your approach is a conceptual design where you challenge the use of unconventional materials, or are they wearable? And if they are wearable, how does the use of unlikely materials affect the usability of your pieces?

The work I produce Is more walking art than everyday wear. I use my work to convey a point or issue rather than produce ready to wear garments. I believe work which takes chances on different or strange materials are more exciting and intriguing to the viewer and makes them want to know more about the Inspiration behind the garment.

We are always told we need to stand out if we want to make It In this industry, so why not go crazy with materials you use to create something so different It cannot be Ignored.

Will recycled materials always be core to your brand? If so, how do you imagine you'll source materials? What about stores - will you have physical stores, or will you be a digital brand?

I want my garments to have a meaning behind it so anything that I do produce will most likely be one off pieces.

Before corona kicked off and we still had access to our universities facilities I was planning on incorporating virtual reality technology in my work. I wanted to create a fashion film to showcase my work which would have been made on VR to give the viewer a more exciting, interesting and modern experience on how we view clothes. I managed to play around with it a bit before, but this is something I may look at using more in my master’s course as I believe the future of fashion is technology.