Gareth Wrighton’s Etsy wishlist

“This is for my cat Elsa, so she can assert dominance over the other cats in our area.”

Gareth Wrighton first found his way onto Etsy when he was in his teens. I just remem­ber it being the go-to place for hip­py jew­ellery,” he explains. But when Brad Troemel was sell­ing his pad­locked hard-shell tacos on there around 2012, that was hon­est­ly every­thing to me. I remem­ber find­ing April Winchell’s book Regret­sy: Where DIY Meets WTF and that fed a lot into my dis­ser­ta­tion at Cen­tral Saint Mar­tins, which was based on online craft­ing communities”.

Wrighton’s AW19 col­lec­tion cen­tres around Amer­i­cana after failed free-love, coin­cid­ing with the 50th anniver­sary of the Alta­mont Free Con­cert – hyper­bol­ic and full of con­tra­dic­tions”. While the open­ing knit was inspired by a bucol­ic Col­orado land­scape (“it doesn’t exist; it is a vir­tu­al ren­der­ing”) and a Cal­i­forn­ian for­est ablaze from wild­fire, anoth­er ref­er­ences footage from the Chelsea Man­ning Wik­ileaks case. It was the Col­lat­er­al Mur­der’ footage that showed US sol­diers laugh­ing while fir­ing at Iraqi jour­nal­ists and chil­dren,” explains Wrighton. Chelsea is the Dis­obe­di­ent Per­sona; an Amer­i­can whistle­blow­er in the age of mass apa­thy and indif­fer­ence. We stan. Anoth­er dis­obe­di­ent per­sona is Bob Dylan, whose elec­tric Stra­to­cast­er I wrapped to the body through anoth­er silk mohair cardi­gan. It is a trib­ute to him going elec­tric at New­port 1965.”

Dis­obe­di­ent Per­sona” is a red thread in Wrighton’s work, along­side vir­tu­al unre­al­i­ty”, and popped culture”. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recy­cle, Rihan­na,” he explains. Pop is intrin­si­cal­ly linked to over­con­sump­tion and decay. I look a lot to nation­al dress and mas­quer­ade cos­tumes, how hum­ble detri­tus are ele­vat­ed, by hand, into the most beau­ti­ful one-off cos­tumes. I love clash­ing these tan­gi­ble crafty tech­niques with the intan­gi­bil­i­ty of dig­i­tal medi­ums. For exam­ple, I’ll hand-knit a beau­ti­ful jumper, but it can only be worn with­in a video game. All of the warm inti­ma­cy of a knit­ted gar­ment is lost through the cold dis­con­nect of a touchscreen.”

It’s Wrighton’s knack for sub­vert­ing real­i­ty – and his love of banal­i­ty – that makes his work unique. I’m always think­ing about what objects will out­live us after the apoc­a­lypse, what will future civil­i­sa­tions find and wor­ship, what relics will they deem beau­ti­ful and embell­ish into their clothes and wear as jew­ellery,” he explains. The ser­vice dog leash­es that lined my smok­ing trousers for AW19 are a banal object that I have no rea­son to have been drawn to oth­er than the fact that it’s just a bit extra and sil­ly. But when I wear my Ther­a­py Dog leash trousers I walk to the beat of The Stooges; I Wan­na Be Your Dog.”

Here, Wrighton shares the top items book­marked to buy on his Etsy list.

1. Jason Voorhees unmasked portrait

As a fibre artist I respond so much to vivid imagery cre­at­ed with a restrict­ed colour palette and this is such a heart­felt ren­der­ing of a hor­ror icon. Jason’s gaze is real­ly sen­si­tive and it becomes a real­ly sad object and I love it more for that. I’m obsessed with Per­ler art.”

2. Bey­on­cé-inspired over­sized sweater

A knit of Bey­on­cé that belongs in the same con­ver­sa­tion as the Jason bead art. I’d wear this over my Sandy’ baby­doll dress with a pair of sec­ond-hand Asics, and a smile.”

3. Xanadu rug

A Xanadu-inspired latch hook rug. Look at how they’ve achieved the rain­bow gra­di­ent! It’s just so good! And it’s free ship­ping to the UK.”

4. Lucky red Samu­rai cat

This is for my cat Elsa so she can assert dom­i­nance over the oth­er cats in our area.”

5. Dead by Day­light bun­ny mask

A faith­ful­ly recre­at­ed piece of video game cos­tum­ing. Worn with a grey suit, tac­ti­cal assault vest and over­sized hold-all (think Val Kilmer in Heat) for a spunky back-to-school moment.”

6. Eye mask

I’ve always want­ed to pull off a com­plete white-out super­hero eye look. Have a bleached messy up-do and fin­ish with a Stun­na Boss Nude Liq­uid Lip by Fen­ty Beauty.”

7. Video games glass

I love objects that just take me there. It’s anoth­er real­ly sad object.”

8. Effie Trin­ket-inspired but­ter­fly dress

For cos­play­ing as if you’re in Sarah Burton’s first show at McQueen. Or wear with my AW19 GOD-LESS AMER­I­CA base­ball cap, com­plete with Taxi­dermy Par­rot­let and Aimee Mullins’ hand-carved wood­en pros­thet­ic heels for a Moth­ra Nature cock­tail occasion.

9. Sil­i­cone baby girl

This, but mod­ded with a sil­i­cone phone case formed into the back.”


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