Some designers and makers specialise in clothes for men, and others in clothes for women. But where do those who do not identify with these strict binary ideas of gender go? Step forward Prinx Lydia they/them.
Prinx Lydia they/them, a clothing and costume designer, and maker from London has squarely focused their creative eye on the non-binary world.
“I disassemble the language of clothing for people living outside the normative binary world, whilst also making steps to expose and celebrate non-binary expression that still translates to normative audiences.”
Kozzii interviewed Prinx this Summer, delving into their work and inspiration, getting to the bottom of what makes them tick as a creative.
So with no further ado…Prinx Lydia they/them.
How would you describe your work and process?
Craft is a big part of my work at the moment and that’s usually where I start. I use innovation and trial and error to create my designs and looks. I work a lot with queer performance artists, drag artists and also in dance and theatre, creating drama and bringing fashion and expression to the stage.
ake steps to expose and celebrate non-binary expression that still translates to normative audiences. Craft is a big part of my work at the moment and that’s usually where I started. I use innovation and trial and error to create my designs and looks. I work a lot with queer performance artists, drag artists and also in dance and theatre, creating drama and bringing fashion and expression to the stage.
How did you get into your line of work?
I spent the first 10 years of my career as a costume maker rather than a designer. I come from a fine art background and so after 10 years working on and developing my craft I was looking for a more creative outlet so that’s when I moved into design, making my own clothes and styling…I work predominantly with queer people now as I think the theatre industry as a whole still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to integration, acceptance and body positivity of trans and othered people working in theatre.
What is the most interesting job you’ve worked on?
I really enjoyed working on my last piece. It was a piece called The Surface, choreographed by Simon Vincenzi and it was a commissioned work at The Place, with London Contemporary Dance School as part of this year’s graduation. It is quite unique what I do as a designer-maker as I not only work on the design but I also create it and make each piece that is seen on stage.
I have a huge arsenal of craft based skills and this informs my design and vice versa… For this piece I patterned everything, worked in a variety of fabrics from silk chiffon and organza to power mesh and foam, made everything to fit all of the performers as they all switched costumes and I hand dyed and painted all of the costumes so that they appeared to be human skin, all the skin tones were taken from the dancers in the piece. The feeling was supposed to be an alternate reality, a bit uncomfortable, unexplained and eerie… It is available to watch on YouTube – the Surface Nights is the chanel.
Which of your designs is closest to your heart?
I’m not too sure really, I designed a piece for the Arcola Theatre, The X. I am a member of the Arcola Queer collective and I have designed a few of their shows. The X was special because it was the first time that I have worked with my partner (Rubyyy Jones) in this way, she was directing the piece and I designed it.
We work a lot together as I make all of her costumes for stage but this was the first time that we worked with a larger company of people as the creative heads. It was so refreshing working with this company as everyone was LGBTQIA and it is a really special experience working with a full queer company. The design for this piece was inspired by queer Street fashion, BDSM and non-binary identity, I had a lot of fun with this design process and felt I had a lot of freedom as Rubyyy and I were very much on the same page for the vision of the design.
Who is the person or project you’d most like to work with/on?
I’m not too sure about that, I’m not really one for celebrity or anything like that, but I’d have a lot of fun designing a pop, campfun music video or something! I would love to work with more dancers and dance companies, I love working in cabaret and live art also and I am passionate about queer visibility, creating dynamic design and collaboration. Basically, my dream client is someone who is creative, has vision and isn’t scared to try something new or a little different.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from life, the current projects that I am working on, the research I do, the textiles and materials that I find, nature and the body.
Favourite aspect of the job?
I love the varied nature of the work and all the people I get to meet. I have met some wonderful people doing what I do. I run a queer tailoring pop-up shop for clothing alterations at the Open Barbers near Old Street and I really enjoy feeling a part of the community, it’s in its early days so it’s a very relaxed service at the moment but it’s a nice change from the hyped up theatre world, so there is an added layer of diversity to what I do and how I work.