Slow fashion for the intentionally wild
Circe's Circle is the one-woman outsider fashion project of sound, video, and textiles artist Jasmine Pender.
Circe's Circle grew out of my frustration at not being able to see my friends and family in 2020. Frustrated at being separated from my favourite people, and being somewhat inept at maintaining regular correspondence, I started sending out Dutch Wax plague masks as a way of making tactile connections with my loved ones.
Sundays in South London are full of Dutch Wax fabric. West African women dressed in exquisite head-to-toe ensembles on their way to church bearing tupperwears stuffed with food to share. I have always enjoyed the defiance of this glorious procession, its protest against drabness and its communal peacocking.
When I started making plague masks, Dutch Wax was the perfect fabric to use. The prints felt totemic and it pleased me to create a mini tribe of technicolour plague rats, doing the pandemic in our own way: if we have to wear masks then we might as well make a feature out of it.
Circe's Circle also happened because I can't find what I want to wear in the shops. I've been making costumes for my cello, voice and video art project Rotten Bliss for years. You'd be amazed how hard it is to find a gorgeous dress that you can play cello in with minimal likelihood of wardrobe malfunctions. And don't get me started on pockets. I've never been willing to compromise on wearability so in the end I decided to stop moaning about it and start making my own damn clothes.
Circe's Circle is thoroughly a product of 2020. Without the possibility of performing in shared space environments, I have found myself compelled to focus my energies on creating wearable textiles as a form of expression and communication. In these weird times where everything around us is moving in a strange blur of slow-motion forward-wind glitch, I find I wish to focus on what I can hold in my hands. I can't hold a song in my hands but I can clothe you in colours and shapes that might stir something inside you. That's what I've always most wanted for my music: to transform the people who hear it. To take them somewhere nice, or somewhere interesting, and leave them improved by the experience.
I want Circe's Circle to be your go-to stop for clothes that bring out something a bit wild in you. Your friendly neighbourhood outsider outfitter.
Come on in and have a look, see what you can stir up.