Bethan Charles

What a Beautiful Creature You Are

Fashion can be a great tool for empowerment of the individual. This project was made during the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic, and involves an exploration of Sixties fashion culture. Both the 1960s and the present day share fashion as a major cultural signifier and tool for self-expression, identity shaping and escapism. At a time when young people like myself feel that the world holds little hope or prospects for our generation, this body of work is about escaping from the current reality, back to a time perceived as more playful, free and empowering. This work aims to create a sense of fantasy away from the world as it is, in an attempt to channel the power and energy of this decade. 
  
I’ve constructed the images in a self-built studio environment to create fictional characters inspired by 1960s fashion pages. With the Covid pandemic context enforcing a necessary self-reliance, each photograph was fully crafted using myself as the model, stylist, and photographer with no one else present. This solitude has enabled me to think about ways in which I could shape my own identity, and gain confidence and self-love. Self-confidence, body issues and body dysmorphia are factors that weigh heavily on young people in public forums; in this project, in these times, I created a space that only I could enter encompassing both the current moment and a vibrant past.

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