Your festival 2021 outfit has arrived! Meet the artist creating spellbinding headdresses

Emily Stuart reveals how personal style can boost wellbeing

Living in pyjamas since March, not having to do as many washing cycles as you’re wearing less clothes, and rocking bed hair like it’s the 90s… sound familiar?

While being perma-comfy is unarguably next to godliness, one artist says that we risk missing out on connecting with our true selves by doing so.

Emily Stuart believes the power of freedom starts within, by expressing our personalities through the medium of clothes that help define our identity.

Speaking exclusively to Uspire, Emily revealed why she feels fashion holds such force and how she broke the temptation herself of being snug as a bug in PJs 24/7 over lockdown.

[Credit: Sticky Pinz]

Emily explained: “I think personal style is so important. This doesn’t mean that it has to be particularly wacky or crazy, just that to have some intention behind what you wear can be instrumental in shifting your mood and helping you to express yourself.

“Dressing-up absolutely has its place, during lockdown, my husband and I made sure to dress-up every Friday and eat at the table for ‘date’ night – it really improved our evening.”

She continued: “I think as we get older, a lot of adults lose the basic joy of dressing-up and forget the feeling of freedom it can give you to pretend to be someone else, or even just a louder more colourful version of yourself for a few hours.

“Festivals are a great place to explore this, and a place where a lot of grown-ups let loose with their style. I know I have certainly mourned festivals this year.”

[Credit: Sticky Pinz]

Emily, a costume designer and supervisor across London’s vibrant theatre and opera scene, not only mourned festivals but her own award-winning career as the global pandemic hit.

Back in March, when the UK went into quarantine, our entertainment and hospitality industries were forced to close their doors, leaving the hustle and bustle of theatres and bars deathly quiet as shows came to an abrupt stop to control the spread of the virus.

However, despite the difficulties she faced, Emily credits the extraordinary events with gifting her a silver lining to follow a different path – which led her to open her new shop.

The proud owner of Sticky Pinz, Emily’s glorious Etsy store stocks eye-popping headdresses fit for any ball, festival, party, or, quite frankly, a night watching EastEnders with your other half.

[Credit: Sticky Pinz]

Emily told us: “Sticky Pinz started out of a need to stay creative during lockdown, I had a bunch of headbands leftover from a show I did in December and decided to start making headpieces using things I had lying around the studio.

“When all of my work suddenly stopped, it took me a while to realise that I was really missing this aspect of my life. I love the whole process, from deciding on a colour palette to gluing on gems and hand-painting glittery skulls.

“It’s super fun to use my hands and get messy and it’s very satisfying to have a beautiful object at the end of it too. It has certainly been very helpful for my mental health to have something to work towards and a sense of achievement at the end of the day.”

Fortunately, Emily already had plenty of inspiration in her home studio to kickstart her mission, having picked up an array of trinkets and knick-knacks over the years.  

[Credit: Emily Stuart]

With each headpiece taking one or two days to make, and the larger ones that require a wire frame up to three days, Emily has been able to mastermind quite a collection already.

Emily said: “I am a complete magpie and like many designers, my studio is full of useful and pretty things I hope to one day turn into a costume.

“My ideas come from the things I find; I had a load of vintage fake flowers I had picked up at a car-boot sale so the first few pieces I made were very floral.

“Nature has always been a huge inspiration for me, and I often use flowers in my costume design, so it made sense. Since then, I have been inspired by old Christmas decorations, bits of vintage ribbon, fans, pieces of broken jewellery and even cable ties!”

[Credit: Sticky Pinz]

She added: “I try to recycle things as much as possible and use things I already have but sometimes I do buy specific items; I am currently working with skulls and unicorn horns.

“I think because my job was so creative, I almost took for granted how important it was for me to be making and creating visual objects, because I was doing it all the time.”

Emily also attributes the unpredictability of 2020 with helping her explore ways of collaborating with other artists and pushing herself to work outside of her comfort zone.

In particular, she has joined forces with Jenny Lloyd, an Amsterdam-based artist and designer who is using Emily’s headdresses to create sensational collages that you can envisage hanging on the wall inside a fashion brand or in the homes of the rich and famous.

[Credit: Jenny Lloyd]

Emily concluded: “Although I desperately miss working in theatre and the wonderful collaborations that come with it, in my work as a costume designer, I had lost touch a bit with the practical elements of making.

“In this respect, it has been a blessing in some ways to get back to my craftier side.

“I have also started a wonderful collaboration with an artist friend of mine who has been using my pieces in her collages. This has been a lovely way for us to connect over lockdown and to allow my work to reach a wider and different audience.”

[Credit: Jenny Lloyd]

She added: “My business is very much in its infancy, and I will have to see if it is sustainable long-term, but I hope so.

“At the very least, it has reminded me of the pleasure I take in making beautiful objects and means I will have plenty of headdresses to wear next festival season.”

Watch this space for the catwalks of London Fashion Week 2021.

To grab a dazzling creation, click here: Sticky Pinz.

[Credit: Sticky Pinz]


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