I grew up in Soviet Ukraine, where all girls had to wear identical uniforms to school. The only way we could express individuality was through our white collar that we had to sew onto our uniform dresses. Collars were mandatory. We could choose our own fabric but it had to be white and had to be restricted to specific parameters. Jewelry and accessories were not allowed.
The collars were beautiful, and even within imposed limits there was a myriad of possibilities: satin, silk, lace, macramé… But I rebelled against being confined to a uniform. And those stressful Sunday nights when right before falling asleep I suddenly remembered my collar was dirty and I had to sew on a new clean one. I couldn't wait to graduate from school, so the uniform days would finally be over.
Fastforward 30+ years. When I think of my childhood and adolescence, I realize that out of all the dresses I owned, I miss the uniform and especially its collars the most. During childhood and adolescence, I regarded the uniform and collars as a means to constrain. What they came to represent to me over the years is completely different. Now they are an association with every precious experience I had when growing up, from forming my first friendship bonds at school, to having my first crush, to plotting mischief with my classmates, and to receiving my first love letter.
The Uniform body of work is the exploration of that multifaceted relationship: nostalgia, reflection, romance, constraint, rebellion, and… love.