Go Behind The Scenes With Sustainable Designer Joshua James Small

by SHOWstudio on 8 April 2022

With support from Swarovski, Manolo Blahnik, and Slim Barrett, go behind the scenes with Joshua James Small's latest collection, exploring romance, life and death all in one.

With support from Swarovski, Manolo Blahnik, and Slim Barrett, go behind the scenes with Joshua James Small's latest collection, exploring romance, life and death all in one.

Certainty at the heart of the human experience; the confusing relations between love, life and death; communion and isolation; loyalty and betrayal – 'Romance in the Age of Uncertainty', Damien Hurst (2003) [Exhibition] The White Cube, London, 10 September – 19 October 2003

Titled You Are Human and Therefore You Are, Joshua James Small's 003 collection explores the everyday transitional states and emotions we are subjected to as humans. Centred around 'a woman in healing', Small's muse clutches her past while striding with anticipation as her story weaves through the chapters of others - looking and craving love. Brimming with emotions, some good, some not so, the collection's story makes subtle nods to Damien Hurst's interest in rebirth addressed in Romance in the Age of Uncertainty while borrowing tonal depth from artist Stephen Doherty's florals.

Read on to discover the collection's hazy BTS images and Joshua James Small in his own words.

Look 1: A solo image of Damilola just as we began shooting. I think Jade, the photographer, was just still setting up at this point.
Look 2: We shot on a Sunday morning in Dalston. It was incredibly peaceful in the studio, and you can see the sunlight cast across the entire studio floor.
Look 3.
Look 4: Look three and four show Shakira in between shooting this look. Both models were very patient as we worked through the day. This look sits comfortably alongside silhouettes made previously, however ended up being one of the most labour intensive pieces, as many panels of the dress were intricately hand beaded. The entire dress holds over 4000 hand sewn glass seed beads.
Look 5: Lighting was key. We wanted to move the story through narrative using light as a tool. Here Nathan holds a spotlight additional to the studio lighting to create distortions in the image.
Look 6: As each look was shot, I and the team would look through the series of shots, highlighting our respective favourites to put together a line-up that showcased a balance of everyone’s respective skillsets.
Look 7: I think this is my favourite BTS image. It shows the stillness of the looks waiting to be shot. You can see Maria hard at work in the left of the image, while Masa observes the current look being shot.
Look 8: A brief overview of looks as they sit lifeless on the rail. At the forefront sits a top embellished with thousands of hand sewn glass seed beads, finished with tiny Swarovski pearls. This piece is the result of hundreds of hours of work. Behind are the patchwork tailored denim jeans, which are entirely manufactured from upcycled charity shop denim.
look 9: Maria carries out last minute touches on Damilola’s make-up whist myself and Nathan place Damilola’s hands into the laced cuffs matching this look. Each cuff has 54 eyelets and around 10 metres of bamboo silk rouleau cord laced meticulously around each arm.
Look 10.
Look 11: It’s incredibly important that the team I work with are people that not only are talented, but individuals I trust and get along with well.
Look 12: Masa walks out of shot after last minute touch-up’s to Shakira’s hair. For Shakira’s hair specifically, we wanted something that had an element of freedom to it. It needed to be wispy and romantic, and a look that could be elevated as the looks escalated.
Look 13: This BTS perfectly showcases the cage in full. I had wanted to approach a more traditional larger silhouette for some time, and having produced a custom cage for ‘The Great’ last year, it prompted me to re- engage with the craft that goes into producing a well-made 18 th century style cage.
Look 14.
Look 15: The last look was shot at the end of the day, with intentionally limited studio lighting. These BTS images, while poorly lit, hold depth which carves out each gather upon the skirt.


Live Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion: Marni S/S 22

27 September 2021
Joshua James Small is joined by Jeanie Annan-Lewin, Harry Freegard and Patrick McDowell to discuss the Marni S/S 22 show.

An Interview With Sustainable Womenswear Designer Joshua James Small

19 February 2021
We sat down (virtually) with the London designer to discuss his most important collection to date.

Sustainable Designer Joshua James Small Launches Handbag Collection

26 March 2021
Luxury can, and must be sustainable, says the womenswear designer, who has just released a range of handbags made entirely from deadstock and ethically sourced fabrics.
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