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Julia Santilli

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Julia Santilli is a fashion practitioner living and working in London.

Material led with a background in pattern cutting, Julia's work is focused on silhouette, drape, and form. Textural references to landscape and food are drawn from her ancestral roots in the Californian desert and Southern Italy. 

From a Marxist Feminist perspective, dissecting the problematised view of fashion within the creative industries and the history of feminised craft, Julia balances a critical research and making practice, working in different environments to create garments, sculpture, and installations.

Investigating the primacy of fashion, and clothing as the mediator between ourselves and the external world. Using clothing to reconnect to nature, our primary material interaction.

Show Location: Battersea campus: Studio Building, Third floor

A fallen tree on dark green grass, wearing a red dress.

‘Surfacing’ is rooted in the feminine experience of wearing clothes in public and private space. 

Thinking of clothing as our primary material interaction, the mediator between ourselves and the external world, and how the understanding and knowledge of textile and garment making has been removed from public consciousness.  

An introspective investigation into a primal love of materials and textures, working with intuitive drawing and draping methods, using muscle memory and being guided by the hand.

Investigating the aesthetics of chance procedures, subjecting the work to high-risk, irreversible processes such as garment dyeing and boil washing.

Thinking through making and sculpting the fabric in different ways. Playing with dynamics of chaos and control, with power. With the submission of the maker and dominance of material. Allowing the material to take some control in the process.

A process of drawing with fabric, draping the material in a collaborative way highlights the freedom of immediacy. Seeing the result of each action taken with the fabric and the tools. Not thinking about reproducibility or even perfection, but capturing a moment.

Confronting things that have been made and rejected, employing a sustainable excavation, extractivist practice, drawing from an existing body of work and using these limitations. Working with the finite qualities of a beautiful piece of material.

Textile investigation exploiting low tech domestic tools, explores historical notions of feminised labour and craft, retracting erasure and revaluing the potential of simple enduring techniques. 

Thinking about the way garments interact, not only with the body, but also with the domestic space. 

Using red, symbolic of politicised women’s dress, power, and sexuality. An act of resistance.

Reconnecting to nature, taking the traditionally domestic and private activities of garment making, outside into public space. Into the commons. Leaning into femininity and instinctual making, embodying the elements in practice. Playing with the embodied and disembodied garments. Letting conversations take shape between the body, the garments, and the environments, as kinetic sculptural forms.