Tuesday 11 July 2017

Jo Cope at FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017

The Language of Feet in the Walk of Life by Jo Cope

Meet Jo Cope, a talent conceptual fashion designer for  the UK. She graduated in 2017 from a Master’s in Fashion Artefacts at The London College of Fashion. She is a founding member of DAP, a London-based design and performance lab. She has been commissioned to design an Aerodynamic Dress for the British Grand Prix by Silverstone Race track and has been funded by the Arts Council to create a solo installation for the Leicester Museum. She exhibits in the National Centre for Crafts, creating concept shoes for the Shoe Museum’s permanent collection. She is currently working with curator Liza Snook from the Virtual Shoe Museum NL and is about to embark on a collaboration which will culminate in a fashion performance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre London in November 2017.

Jo Cope took part at Fashion Makes Sense LAB exhibition during the 9th edition of FASHIONCLASH Festival in Maastricht. She presented her project 'The Language of Feet in the Walk of Life', just one of the project from her striking portfolio. Find more about Jo Cope's work: www.jocope.com

"The inspiration is life, things personally experienced or observed; the relationship with the self, relationships with others, concepts which include: self-loss, self-abandonment, co-dependency, self-discovery, experiences with the internal self through imagination. The research included the act of walking, and how we can become our own action and body language where I focused on reading the feet in social situations. 
The feet are an interesting part of the body because we are often very unaware of their subtle but powerful projection. In the situation of desire the feet point directly towards the object of interest, in the opposite situation the body may continue to point politely forwards but at least one of the feet will be pointing towards the exit. I am materialising the negative or unseen spaces in situations that relate to human cognition, foot and shoe"

What do you try to communicate with your project?
The idea is that shoes can be deep autonomous objects that can visually communicate something other than the literal function or aesthetics. Each conceptual shoe represents and projects experiences that relate to the concept of ‘Self’. The relationship we have throughout life with our internal and external being and how relationships with others can impact, collide and overlap with our own state of being.

What do you want to communicate with your work in general?
I want to use a known object of fashion that we have a physical connection with to express deeper emotional life experiences. I also want to challenge our visual preconceptions of fashion asking questions like ‘What is a bag?’ and readdressing how they could be reconstructed from a conceptual perspective.

Does fashion make sense to you?
Fashion in the context of art makes sense as an evolving form which offers ongoing exploration in understanding the self and in helping me to create connections with others through shared experience.

What are your thoughts on the senses in relation to the human body?
The senses are one of the things that make us more sensitive as human beings, connecting us to experiences in an intimate way. The sense of the self and the relationship and development of the inner being and how that might be projected outwardly is explored in some of my work.

Do you think that fashion can contribute to a better world / better well-being, and what do you do to make a difference?
Fashion is a universal object that we can all relate to and in that it can be used as a social, political and personal commentary and voice. When working as a lecturer and workshop leader I use fashion to build confidence in others and help them to understand that we can rid ourselves of preconceptions and operate in a way that is free and truthful to our own ways of seeing.

How would you define fashion?
In literal terms: clothing is a social conditioning and a superficial body covering that allows us to play with our identity. For me it is a wonderful canvas, a projector of the inner self, an evolving interpreter of the world, the outer human layer.

What fascinates/inspires you and why?
Human beings, the cycle of life, repetitive shared behaviors, love, relationships, everything we experience whilst on the earth, abstraction of the literal, symbolic interpretation, conceptual art. Because art is a great means of expressing, learning and communicating ideas that are the closest to me. I am fascinated by taking something known such as a shoe and leading it into new version of itself by analyzing the deeper aspect of what it really is through its conceptualization. Abstracting, conceptualizing and creating metaphors is what interests me.

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