TORONTO -- A U.K. textile artist has created a family of fleshy, fabric bodysuits, which -- despite other interpretations -- she simply calls “joyous, confident beings.”

“I don’t really know where they fit because they’re not sort of sculptural or fashion – they sort of fit in between,” Daisy May Collingridge told in a phone interview.

And because she’s spent the past five years making the bodysuits in her down time, she’s even named them and imagines they each have their own personalities.

“Burt, Hilary, Clive, Dave, Lippy” are affectionately named “The Squishys,” – a title that she says “relates to the way people behave around them, they are so tactile, people always want to touch and feel or 'squish.' I have also referred to them as 'flesh suits' though that sounds less cheerful.”

“I make them because I find them beautiful. The images I create have always been what I think (are) quite joyful,” Collingridge said. “So when I put them on I find them quite empowering.”

She likens putting on the suits to wearing a mask: “I love making them.”

Collingridge, who’s designed clothing for singer Bjork, runs an Instagram page dedicated to her bodysuits.

She estimates that each of the suits – made of various types of knit fabric called jersey -- took around three months to make. Their look is achieved by stretching the jersey over soft, thick wadding; or stitching the jersey onto clothing such as pants or shorts.

Collingridge, a fashion design graduate of the Central Saint Martins in London, U.K., has always been drawn to the human form, anatomy and biology. She’s fascinated by “how different bodies are even though we’re made of the same components.”

But this collection is an extension of her earlier work in graduate school.


Feeling like... #energy #explodinghead #offtrack #feet #dance #mattressmen #blues #pinks #squish #ohgodwheredoistart

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The suits are each a combination of one technique called “free machine quilting,” which involves a patchwork of different quilting fabrics, and another technique using different stuffing materials to sculpt the round shapes.

And as her work has progressed, she’s created different textures and weighted the suits down with various objects such as beanbag beans, sand or more wadding.

“That’s when the idea of movement came in because all of those things swing and the jersey allows them to kind of bounce a bit more and respond to the movement of the wearer,” Collingridge said.

Some publications claim the creations are statements on embracing body positivity. Others wonder if they were inspired by the travelling Body Worlds exhibition involving dissected human bodies and animals preserved in a process called plastination.

And while Collingridge welcomes different interpretations, none of them were really her intention but they may have subconsciously played a role in her designs.

“It’s fascinating to hear how other people interpret my work,” she said. “Who am I to dictate … how someone will read it?”


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