Three days before the UK locked down in March, the otherworldly figure of
A designer, photographer, stylist, hairdresser, make-up artist or performance artist? It turned out to be Clay Grandison, a second-year fashion communication student at
“I’ve thrived being on my own,” she says. In the flight from college, she “grabbed some old crap” and start- ed travelling through visual roles nuanced with cultural resonances – a creative thread tying together ancient mythologies of female power, and her vision of a future realm. “I’m interested in spirituality, myth and science fiction. Before lockdown, I was researching goddesses, courtesans – moments from old religion, from Africa and all over the world.”
As she tells it, her dressing-up sounds like entering a kind of creative trance, inhabiting personae where hybridised meanings surface while she deconstructs and reconstructs garments and manipulates wigs – “Black women’s culture” – into delicate headpieces drawn from Himba hairstyles.
It’s not fashion, or art, that she’s aiming to place herself in, but the possibility of harnessing the digital realm that only her generation can foresee. “I was a weird kid who wanted to dress up as a hero. Sci-fi is my whole life. Black people are the largest consumers of sci-fi. My father drew for comics and I’ve gone to every Marvel convention with him. My grandmother, who’s Jamaican and who was involved with the whole Caribbean artistic community, she took me along to every exhibition.”
Against the background of
Photography by Clay Grandison. Taken from Issue 65 of 10 Magazine – FAMILY, FOREVER, LOVE – available to purchase