How Greenspace helped Sinéad O'Dwyer bring body-positivity to the fashion industry
Creative agency Greenspace is behind a new brand strategy and visual identity for Sinéad O'Dwyer, the designer on a mission to bring body positivity to the fashion industry and highlight the importance of both supporting emerging talent and ensuring inclusivity.
As part of the rollout, O'Dwyer is premiering two short films that give an insight into her evolving vision. The first, titled Domiciliary and directed by Sharna Osborne, is a lo-fi meditation on her SS22 collection, featuring "eroticism and domesticity". The second is a short documentary, For The Love of Every Body, which goes into detail about Greenspace's brand identity and strategy for the fashion designer.
Dublin-born and now based in London, O'Dwyer graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2018. Since then, she has been working on changing the representation of women in fashion. In her earlier work, she crafted silicone pieces using fibreglass moulds cast directly from women's bodies – they could be viewed as the second skin, clothes, or even wearable sculptures.
Of late, the designer has continued to experiment with materials and techniques, including pleating, tailoring, stretchy materials and innovative garment construction. Her pieces are created to mould to the body, support and hold it – rather than change it. Through her collections, she hopes to create a new language of beauty and acceptance, and a tactile, sensual, and pleasurable experience available to everyone regardless of their size.
With this in mind, Greenspace set out a strategy and fresh vision to tell O'Dwyer's brand story. The resulting work goes beyond simply packaging the fashion designer's creative output, instead, it understands what it means to be an emerging designer in the rapidly shifting world of fashion.
"Sinéad is a collaborative artist, so to understand her work it was important for us to speak to her partners, peers and colleagues. We had hours of interviews which informed the strategy," explains Greenspace strategist Shohada Akthar. "Our campaign, For The Love of Every Body, celebrates all shapes and sizes, and is a reflection of the cultural significance behind O'Dwyer's pieces and the change she represents in the industry."
Greenspace also hoped to reflect the dual nature of the designer's work, which exists both in the realms of art and fashion. "How I work is looking at a specific form, a specific person's body and then I capture that through lifecasting," says O'Dwyer. "I definitely approach my practice very much as an artist – more so than a person developing a collection, because with each piece I try to subvert its original meaning."
Custom typography was created especially for the new brand, one that is influenced by the fluid and organic shape of the body. "After the initial conversations and sketching, we landed on an identity that is driven by typography," says Greenspace design director Luke Mcilveen.
"We drew a wordmark based on the Suisse Int'l Condensed typeface and consequently a custom typeface informed by ever-changing body form, and the materials Sinéad works with daily, such as silicone casting. The alternate characters in the face are very organic, and always fluctuating, celebrating bodies of all shapes and sizes. We worked together with cutting-edge foundry Swiss Typefaces to help refine the typestyle, and the technicalities, creating bespoke font Suisse Every Body. SwissTypefaces also coded a cut which auto-selected glyphs at random, so type statements are always different."
Treating this project as a collaborative opportunity, Greenspace also commissioned O'Dwyer's long-term friend and collaborator Anastasiia Fedorova to write a text creatively reflecting on the designer's vision. Fedorova focuses on queer perspectives, sexuality and embodied experiences and the ways they translate into culture.
"The text is like a journey," Fedorova says. "It's about letting go and diving in to emerge on the other side. The fragments are experiences, thoughts, cultural reflections on existing in a femme body, on the pain, pleasure, knowledge and self-exploration. I love that the piece I wrote was then incorporated in the material culture surrounding the brand – it's printed on packaging tissue paper and swing tags. I love that the text gets a new life in the real world and that people would be able to choose how to engage with it."
All the elements come together across the identity, website and packaging. Offcuts of the brand's actual product material are used to create translucent silicone swing tags embossed with graphic details and fragments of the brand's narrative. "It creates a sense of texture and consistency, and adds to the perception of the brand as a continuous story rather than a set of garments – and becomes an experience of being part of Sinéad O'Dwyer's world," adds Luke.