Holiday spirit is all around us and with that comes a whole lot of festive, cheerful songs to put us in the mood. But what if, instead of just listening to your favourite winter tune you could wrap yourself with it? Yep, you read right. What if you could wear the melody of a song? Well, it turns out you can!
Meet Nadia-Anne Ricketts, the creative mind behind BeatWoven. The brand uses its skilfully coded audio technology as an instrument to translate and reveal the geometric patterns created by the beats and sounds in music. Simply by playing songs and sounds it visualises and orchestrates pattern formations that fuse harmoniously with textiles, particularly with the traditional craft technique of weaving. Through innovation, woven pattern and form is reinvented, fabric aesthetic is challenged and music, fashion and lifestyle are linked.
We caught up with Nadia to find out more about the connection between fashion, music and technology.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I had a previous career as a professinoal dancer which took me living and travelling abroad. I have danced since I was 3 years old, so music has been a big inspiration for me. I studied as a mature student in textiles at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, where the concept of BeatWoven was born back in 2008. Since graduating in 2009 I worked in fashion design for a couple of years before starting the BeatWoven studio in 2012 full time.
How did you come up with the idea of BeatWoven?
The idea was born from the very early moment I started weaving. Due to my background and understanding of music, I began to see mathematical connections straight away, and could see its potential of being able to fuse these two patterned worlds together.
What is the opportunity of mixing music, fashion and technology?
As technology is progressing I feel that we want to become closer to experiences and the senses. As consumers we want more personable experiences. Music is one of those universal languages and creative energies that we want to experience everyday because it moves us and brings back memories. I feel that translating musical patterns into woven fabric helps us become that one step closer to the song and the artist, which gives a new meaning to fabric.
Who is your ideal customer?
My ideal customer is a musician for whom I could create art pieces from their own music. I imagine these would be presented in their home or recording studio for example. Elton John would be an ideal customer, especially if I could tailor several matching suits for him to wear on stage.
Tell me more about your garments and the story behind them.
The garments I have created so far, have been couture-based, revolving around the story around the music. For example, one of the pieces was created by translating the song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds‘ by The Beatles. I collaborated with an amazing fashion designer Peter Griffiths and his label ‘Out The Wardrobe’, part of the Lee McQueen Foundation Sarabande Studios. We developed a garment that was cross gender, and didn’t have a front of a back. We wanted to play on the concept of fantasy and no boundaries, like the song.
How do people react when they realise the print they’re looking at reflects a certain song or a melody?
The majority of people absolutely love it because not everyone loves woven fabric, but everyone loves music! A handful of people go SO crazy for it they want to commission me for a few pieces. They are usually the massive music fans or musicians. Of course, there are some people who don’t quite get it, which is totally okay.
Of the tunes you have translated into fabrics which song has turned into the most interesting print?
The most amazing woven pattern we created was part of a collaboration I did with Demi, a DJ and music producer who runs his own record label Eyetone Records. We went into his studio and created a song especially to be woven, so the concept of creating pattern came from the sounds we were producing. It was a great project and one that created the most stunning patterns which couldn’t have been produced in any other way.
What’s next for you?
I am working on some very big collaborations for 2017, one with Warner Music and Harrods, and the other I can not say much about yet. Then I’m off to Design Days Dubai with the Crafts Council. The Arab art world seems to have taken interest in my work because the patterns we create are usually geometric, which is the backbone of their art culture.
I will also be working on developing my technology side with coders. I have had such an amazing last few years commercially that I hadn’t had time to develop the software further. But I have SO many ideas! So as the tech and fashion worlds are ever evolving I need to make sure to keep up.
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