Sophie has always considered herself a writer, and has started a successful career in the industry with her work being published across several magazines, yet she has always possessed a passion for poetry. As a big advocate for sustainable fashion too, Sophie has always wanted to blend poetry with ethical fashion. An unknown relationship which certainly holds a niche within the fashion industry.
After receiving a collection of second-hand brass letter stamps, Sophie experimented and discovered the beauty in hand-printing words straight onto fabrics using the positioning, colour, and density of the letters as her template. This was the genesis of Sophie’s debut collection, ‘Worn Words’, which we are thrilled to have exhibited on the Student and Graduate Runway Show at last season’s YFW.
Sophie’s earlier collections were all about block colour whereas her new fashion line explores the different techniques in translating words onto fabrics, whether it’s through sewing or through trialling different typefaces. This is epitomised through Sophie’s dynamic use of a monochrome palette and a deconstructed, utilitarian style which starkly showcases Sophie’s drive towards sustainability and her own visual self-expression through words she’s crafted. The knitwear was inspired by some iconic 90s pieces like Raf Simons’ Spiderwear Sweater from his 1998 AW Radioactivity collection, and the kind of distressed knit that came from Vivienne Westwood around the same time.
While the process is time-consuming, Sophie believes it’s worth it as all the items are individually sourced and printed. She gets the same thrill from finding a perfect piece of clothing in a charity shop as she does from creating a piece of artwork, and to combine these faucets of her life and have people interested in the things she’s made is incredible.
At the Student & Graduate Runway Show, words from one of Sophie’s poems introduced the collection as it took to the stage.
I was shot torn and raggedy,
strung up on a branch like a warning sign.
Last Wednesday I choked on a loose tooth
and never even saw it coming.
The techno base kicked in, and the show was on.
Sophie Norton didn’t just show a collection, she shared an experience. The audience felt her poetry, and followed the direction the music was taking them. They read the poetry on the clothing like scripture, and applauded the modern, yet grunge, clothing that walked the runway.
When Sophie talks about her goals for the collection she states, “I hope people can engage with my ideas and think, ‘yeah, poetry is pretty cool’.” And we certainly do.
The up and coming designer’s wants people to buy more pre-owned goods, and support independent creators. The subject matter of the poetry that she uses in printing can be provocative, and she wants people to stop and read the words as well as appreciate the designs, and hopefully think differently. Keen to collaborate with other artists on future creative projects, Sophie recognises that ‘Worn Words’ is still very new, and whilst Sophie has found a new passion for seeing how poetry can be translated into new mediums, she wants to see how her current collection evolves from the runway and hopefully into a commercial brand.
Written by Emily Smith.