Michael Gurhy is a designer that primarily focuses on the figure and psychological portraits based on “fantasy and memory” and are also relate-able to high fashion.
“Recurring themes within the work include vulnerability, mortality, sexuality, the uncanny and the transcendental. Animals such as deer, birds, foxes and wolves become symbolic messengers. There is a sacred and celestial component within the work that is both gentle and violent, destruction is linked with creation exorcising the old and paving the way for new cycles”.
1. Why did you choose to become a sustainable fashion brand?
Concerns around sustainability and exploitation have always been of interest to me regarding the brands that I choose to buy from. It was important to me that my collection reflected those same values. At some point there was a stereotype that sustainable fashion was somehow dull or lacking and I really believe with we have overcome that hurdle. Conscious fashion is definitely the future!
You graduated with a MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins. Did you always know this is what you wanted to do? Describe your experience when choosing your direction as a designer.
Actually I did always know what I wanted to do. Conceptual Art is something that I have always been inspired by and I never had any doubts that I was going anywhere but Art college. During my MA I was based in the same building as the CSM Fashion Department and that really inspired me. I think in many ways the lines between the lines between the Art and Fashion world gets blurred and that’s an exciting space for me.
You use a lot of symbolism in your work. Why is that?
I grew up in Ireland where symbolism and superstition went hand in hand. For me symbols represent storytelling and can be an immediate way to deepen a narrative or convey an emotion without having to be too literal. We live in a world of signs and symbols so I think subconsciously it is a language that we are receptive to.
What advice do you have for young or up and coming designers?
Be authentic and make meaningful connections with people, I don’t just mean that on a personal level but also professionally. Stay curious, inspiration can often come from the most unlikely places. I would also say to stick to your vision and learn to trust your own instincts. Be conscious of where you are and where you want to go with your business and design. When you feel stuck or lost along the way check back into your goals and do something, however small, to move you in that direction.