Pulling & Parting by Erin Corrian-Alexis

Meet London born and raised Aquarius, Erin Corrian-Alexis. Recently graduating from University with a first in Footwear Design and Innovation, Erin is set to make her mark in the fashion world as a designer and all around creative. As part of her end of year project, Erin created a footwear collection ‘Pulling & Parting’, celebrating her ethnic background and her personal journey embracing natural hair. Erin and director, Otis Dominique, filmed a short together to accompany her collection, filled with beautifully hued scenes and soundtracked to Jamilah Barry’s delicate and sublime vocals, the short perfectly fits the feeling presented by Erin’s unique approach to footwear. Erin’s collection ties in her appreciation for natural hair and passion for creation. You can stream the visual below.

How did ‘Pulling & Parting’ come about? 

“I had always been aware that final year was my chance to create something I really felt connected to. Throughout my 5 year uni course, the way I was speaking and thinking and what I cared about changed, and I wanted to explore that through design, my best outlet of communication. I began with a focus on the African diaspora which led me to look at Black Britishness and then more closely at Black British Styling.”

What does embracing natural hair mean to you? 

“Embracing my natural hair means confidence, necessity too - when I decided to stop chemically straightening it, it was because I just couldn’t go on watching my hair become thinner and more lifeless every time I applied heat.”

What made you think about your natural hair journey that lead you towards the inspiration behind your collection?  

“I had thought about my final project a lot during my placement year in Rotterdam. It's a super multicultural place but I was surprised by how prevalent the natural hair movement was in a city where every advertisement showed a blonde white girl. I was also pretty lonely there and experimenting with hair styles because of how much time I had. I was designing a lot too. One thing led to another and I put similar styles onto a shoe and realised I was on to something in terms of function and changeability.”

How do you reflect your identity through fashion and in particular your footwear? 

“Fashion has everything to do with identity. What you are wearing is the first thing you person tell a person about yourself. I enjoy observing what fashion can do for the confidence a person presents. People will even treat you differently depending on what you’re wearing, which is shitty.

Through my footwear I want to show innovation and newness, and create beautiful pieces that reflect a time but are timeless.”

Where do you draw inspiration from as an artist? 

“Conversations with friends. I’m inspired by what people are willing to share and what they are not.”

What would you like your audience to take away from your short film? 

“Hmmm.. Firstly, I want the audience to get the project and understand why it deserves a second look - the shoes are functional and change in each scene, they also come with a care kit and instructions for styling. So many parts of the film tie into my research too, the shoot set was literally built in the studio with an old photograph by Dennis Morris as the inspiration. 

The film’s special to me for so many reasons. I am so thankful for the Director, Otis Dominique, and our D.O.P, Joel Honeywell, for going above and beyond to beautifully communicate the project.”

We’re only just getting a peak into Erin’s career as a footwear designer and artist, so there’s a lot to unravel throughout time, you can follow Erin on Twitter and Insta’ @ErinCAlexis to keep up with everything to come.