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Posted on April 3rd 2017

Artist Alix Bizet Helps Students Make Hoodie From Hair

Alix Bizet (2)

GCSE textile students had the opportunity to collaborate with artist Alix Bizet recently, who is currently the artist-in-residence at the Design Museum, London.

Alix Bizet (pictured below working with our students) is interested in mapping communities through hair - exploring how hair ‘matters’ both physically and metaphorically. She uses hair as a platform to talk about the diversity of individuals and "how it is essential to address the subject of democracy and an equality of all hair in society."

Hoodie made from hair

Hair provided the fabric for the collaboration with our students. Each student was asked to collect hair from their neighbourhoods, either from the home or from local hairdressers. Alix then led a workshop where students felted the hair together. These felted samples were then taken and constructed into a garment, a wearable hoodie. The hoodie is also fraught with social significance, especially for teenagers, and plays a part in constructing identities which, through this collaboration, were deconstructed.

Alix Bizet (8)

"Hair is a big deal to girls in school as it is one of the ways students express their individuality," said Laura Drinkwater, textile teacher, who was delighted with the project and how it started to challenge stereotypes. The project enabled students to discuss the impact of generalised beauty ideals, which are embedded through media imagery, and influence how students construct their identities.

Breaking down stereotypes

"Students seem to have an understanding of what ‘beautiful’ hair is (ie long, straight and western in style) even if their hair isn’t like that," said Ms Drinkwater. "One of the reasons the project became so important was that students were supported through different tasks to challenge and break down gender and cultural stereotypes."

Alix Bizet (3)

On March 23rd, the students went to the Design Museum in Kensington to see their finished work. It was a very poignant trip as the terrorist incident in Westminster, which had only happened the previous day, was heavy on all our minds. But as Calea-Jay, one of the students who took part in the project, highlighted: "This project opened my eyes to the diversity in my class … I like how people with different hair and different cultures came together to make an object."

Through creative projects such as this we can highlight the positive contribution we all make as part of our diverse community at HGAED.

Lara Carter and Clare Stanhope, Head of Art 

Hair by Hood is currently showing at the Design Museum, Kensington, London, and will transfer to the ID Gallery at HGAED in April. During the exhibition, Louise Rondel, a PhD candidate from Goldsmiths University will be extending the debate through a Debate Cake session, where she will be exploring the embodied effects of the beauty industry.