Collars in formation (2021)

Hand incised, perforated carbon paper, carbon residue. Perspex stand

120 x 7 cm

R 301 875

Collars in formation is a column of detachable collars, each scratched out of black carbon paper. Each collar is subtly different, with a slightly distinctive cut or a variation in stitching. Some of the collars have been fastened with buttons sourced from my late father’s possessions, while others are clasped with genuine collar or cuff studs sourced from other private collections.

While researching the designs for these collars, one pattern I was drawn to was the rounded ‘Club’ style that had its birthplace in the esteemed crucible of British leaders, Eton College.

Adam Lehman, in his article ‘Style Defined: Club Collar’, wrote: “Back in the late 19th Century – much like today, actually – Eton College was THE school of young British up-and-comers. From royalty to celebrity, the sharpest young men of the Western world yearned to call Eton’s campus home. As such, those that got in felt distinguished and somewhat above the fray and wanted the world to know.” 1

While making this work, I was struck by how limited choices of clothing might confine and define our self-expression. By choosing a specific collar from this selection, would the individuality of the wearer be accepted by his peers – each of them in turn – similarly collared? Or would his choice be regarded as inappropriate? How does a desire to belong, coexist with a desire to be free?

  1. Lehman, A. 2016. Style Defined: Club Collar. (Online). He Spoke Style. LLC

Collars_in_formation_textwidth 1296

[Photographs by University of Johannesburg]