Meet: Tasha Sweeney is a fashion designer living and working in London. She graduated with an MA in Knitwear for Fashion from Central Saint Martins in 2021, where she received the MA Fashion Final Year Award from British Fashion Council. Her work examines the relationship between sportswear and femininity, creating hybrid garments with sportswear elements, and feminine details, while expressing her love of colour and texture.
Tasha Sweeney | WooSun Choi
"An attic’s worth of memorabilia has come alive and strolled into our athleisure age"
“For as long as bitter winds have buffeted the freezing stands of British football stadia, there have been hand-knitted ‘granny scarves’: in the early 1900s, when dark hats and overcoats filled the terraces, bright, striped scarves flaunted your tribe. Up until the 1960s, when colour photography began to boom and manufacturers cottoned on to a money-maker, the football scarf, synonymous with diehard fandom, was the product of the invisible labour and caring fingers of predominantly working-class mothers and grandmothers.
Fashion designer Tasha Sweeney grabs this history of gender and class relations by the scruff of the neck with her collection ‘Trackies and Trainees’, a blend of sports- and knitwear that shows you its seams. Threads hang loose making that invisible labour visible. Effortless silhouettes give shape to her lively collages of vintage sportswear, deadstock fabrics and knitted swatches. An attic’s worth of memorabilia has come alive and strolled into our athleisure age. From quasi-regal skivvy necklines to old football boots tied with laces emblazoned with Sweeney’s home team ‘Everton’, the collection is both a love letter to the Toffees and a celebration of what can happen when birds of a feather flock wherever” — @galesammi
"a blend of sports- and knitwear that shows you its seams"
Working on: "I'm currently trying to set up my own brand whilst also working freelance," Tasha told Plinth. "I'm planning on making one off pieces- made to order; I'm in the process of swatching and developing my collection for this, so hopefully I can post more about this very soon!"
Meet: WooSun Choi is a visual artist from Seoul, South Korea, currently based in Nottingham, UK. Working across oil painting, installation and sculpture, her practice revolves around various fictional characters who represent different aspects of herself, thus challenging received notions of self-portraiture.
“What do lumps mean to you?
In artist WooSun Choi’s practice, they have never looked so worrisome, embarrassing, ambiguous – yet propagative. Her interest spans series titled ‘Lumps of emotion’ (2018-20), ‘Fatty lumps’ (2018-20), ‘The lumps, and the things left behind’, where fleshy bodies appear as if their sculptor copped off halfway through creation. This is not to mention ‘Let’s play with a clear and sticky mass’, ‘Melting or melted masses’ – lava lamp arrangements that suggest our world is as pliable as it is unworkable.
"lava lamp arrangements that suggest our world is as pliable as it is unworkable"
Choi often renders eyes as white, wide-open circles – transforming those ‘windows to the soul’ into flashbanged apertures – or includes no eyes at all; certainly, she’s interested in those forces in the world that threaten to erase and distort our perceptions, bodies and emotions.
Choi’s palette would not look out of place on a list of Fortune 500’s top brand logos, with one key difference: pink does not figure in the most recognisable brand names, while Choi’s works are packed with Caucasian flesh tones. As a touchstone, Francis Bacon was another artist who subverted inherited concepts of what bodies and faces should look like; he did so against a rich palette, and for the overall effect, in his own words, of hitting ‘the nervous system more violently and poignantly’.
Now, come back from Bacon’s liturgical hues to the church of consumerism: Choi’s colours are bold, eye-catching, sometimes too bright (see ‘Fluorescent yellow shadow’ (2020)) and harsh so that you think to squint. It seems possible that her adipose figures have not so much ‘overindulged’ as been somehow engorged by their surroundings, tractor-beamed into their backgrounds much as we might be drawn to the golden arches of a McDonald’s drive-thru on the motorway. If Choi’s canvases hit ‘the nervous system’ à la Bacon, they do so subconsciously, often a long time after viewing, and in a similar way that logos cement subtle messages for a brand, until colour psychology becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As such, many nebulous impressions amass in the artist’s blubbery canvases; an emotional lump might sound like a strange concept at first, but it’s already there in the language, in the phrase ‘lump in the throat’ – a tight feeling because of strong emotion. This cluster of strong yet vague feelings is the lumpiness particular to Choi’s work: as my eye slides off rolls of flesh or metastasises on bold colour, I think no matter how alienating or unstable the world might seem, it is there to be moulded.” – @galesammi
"I experiment with the stereoscopic potential of each image"
Working on: "While walking down the street, certain landscapes or images seen in the news, on the Internet, newspaper articles, scenes in films, conversations with friends, all of these become motifs for my work," WooSun told Plinth. "I'm not actively looking for these moments, but if I happen to meet them in my daily life, I take note. I experiment with the stereoscopic potential of each image. In other words, I engage in exploring the sculptural quality of paintings and how they interact with the immediate space around them."