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Louise Gray and Scott Kyle Ramsay, Split The Difference
From Split The DifferenceCourtesy of the artists

Fashion designer Louise Gray makes her art world debut

Rejecting fashion’s focus on commerce, sales, and money, Gray teams up with fellow designer Scott Ramsay Kyle for an audacious joint show

Since taking a hiatus from her eponymous line, Gray has recently found herself at home in the art world. Combined with embroiderer and fellow designer Scott Ramsay Kyle’s experience from projects such as Judy Blame’s RIOT Zine, the pair team up on a confessional and audacious exhibition that pays homage to their fashion backgrounds through use of beading and embroidery. Yet enters new territory by playing with opposition, self-portraiture, and the edges of perception.

Titled Split The Difference, the show is named after the process of creatively meeting half-way; division, sharing, and equality are all themes which also run throughout the exhibition. Key inspiration has been drawn from literature, with Scott using Aldous Huxley’s iconic work The Doors of Perception, while Gray focuses on the connection between writing, politics, and fashion throughout Caribbean-American poet and activist, June Jordan’s work

She explains, “I took the quote Telling the truth is to become beautiful, to begin to love yourself, value yourself. And that's political, in the most profound way, and ran with it as the backbone for the works I've made. I think I found in fashion, a lot ideas are taken and not created, but with writing and poetry you can see straight into the inner sphere”. These literary references tie together a stimulating body of work which unflinchingly explores ideas of personal identity, experience, and self-examination.

Sharing has been a centre-point for Gray in the last few years, having taught at London College of Fashion and the Royal College of Art – “I think through teaching you can begin to understand your own processes. I have always felt that with a solid understanding of how to design coupled with the idea of actually putting myself into the designs makes me able to approach any medium”, she says. Working with other creatives is also crucial. “You need it so much, it’s a necessity to have people you can bat your ideas off’. She adds that the medium of self-portraiture is a way to invite others into herself, to reflect and confess, but allow room for interpretation.

For Ramsay Kyle, the exhibition marks a shift. The pair met when they were both at foundation college in Glasgow, and they ended up following each other to the Glasgow School of Art and then to Central Saint Martins. He reveals that the show is “a new way forward for thinking and doing the work that we want to present now. We are both from a fashion background which at the moment is heavily focused on commerce, sales, money. As makers, we want to focus on ideas, on understanding the works that are personal to us, and to present these in a free space”.

Split The Difference runs until September 11 Haggerston’s The Archive Gallery in The Rose Lipman Building, Haggerston, east London. Click here for more details