After their workshop at the Gellideg Children’s Center in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, a number of the women who had taken part braved the wind and the rain to parade the streets in their finery. It was soon after Halloween, November 2016. They have been dressed in black, in extravagant hats, faces pale as the moon. Ice-bloodless curls, frozen using gel and the weather, snaked stiffly throughout their foreheads. A few boys skulked around on their bikes to watch the not-likely procession. When the ladies walked beyond, the lads broke into derisive laughter. The girls stopped in their tracks. “It’s known as fashion!” one shouted. “Look it up!” Right then, the photographer Clémentine Schneidermann “realized there had been something magical taking place.” She had organized the ladies’ dress workshop with Charlotte James, a creative director. The images the two girls took of that primary day out launched a collaboration lasting almost three years between Schneidermann, James, a collection of kids from the kid’s center, and the Coed Cae Interact membership close to Brynmawr. Now, a diffusion of their pics is to be exhibited in a set entitled It’s Called Ffasiwn (Welsh for style), in conjunction with a number of the costumes, at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol.
Every couple of weeks, Schneidermann, 27, and James, 29, might offer new workshops to the youngsters who attended the youth centers: Schneidermann on photography, for the children who preferred to be behind the camera; James on styling and customization for those who desired to version or paintings with garments. The workshops were so famous that summer schools followed. In the kid’s centers, the kids – nearly all ladies – spent hours stitching ruffles and sticking diamante onto secondhand reveals. One kid’s membership was a yellow subject, and some others purple. They painted vegetation onto standard tops and cast pompoms from fur. They braved the stitching system, swapped and swapped their pieces, and tucked and untucked tops to refine their appearance.