From the beginning the project ‘A long farewell to all my greatness’ was an exploration of the designer’s cultural roots. The designer Melissanthi Spei grew up in Greece, but it was only after she left that she came to appreciate these roots. Now comes the time, after living in the United Kingdom for almost a decade, to acknowledge the fact that her roots have been blended with others and now she is becoming a hybrid between cultures that overlap and try to overrule one another.
The idea behind this project came long before Melissanthi Spei‘s previous project Beautiful Is Just Another Degree of Terrible and gestated in her subconscious for many years until it materialised in 2016. It felt like the right to time to finally bring it to reality.
The title, ‘A long farewell to all my greatness’ a quotation from Henry VIII, by British national symbol William Shakespeare, shows that this mixture of cultures gives hope for something new while never forgetting the past. This was formed through a series of five neckpieces and three headpieces in black and gold shades, creating a very regal effect.
Materials used are a combination of handcrafted religious trims and industrially made rayon fringing. Different manufacturing processes all come together with handmade techniques. This project has been created with lots of recycled and leftover materials and only a few key materials were sourced from scratch. The main reason for this was that there was that I had absolutely no budget for this, only the need to create and evolve. This for me was also proof that artists can be resourceful with the smallest amount of materials, equipment and space as possible while still producing a very successful outcome. Everything was made by hand stitch after hand stitch, loop after loop, with lots of patience and lots of love and belief in the purpose.
Melissanthi Spei is a graduate from MA Fashion Artefact at London College of Fashion. She previously studied Fashion Design for Industry at the School of Textiles and Design of Heriot Watt University and Art, Media and Design at University of Wales, Newport. Her greek heritage in combination with her creativity inspires her to create contemporary and sculptural garments. Part of her identity as a designer is to use industrial materials for something historical and old through the exploration of traditional arts and crafts and their projection to contemporary aesthetics. Her latest collection was presented among other graduates at Victoria House Basement during London Fashion Week and has been nominated as an Accessories Finalist for ITS International Talent Support 2013. She currently lives and works in London.