Grad Guide 2020: Tarryn Tippens

Tarryn Tippens, also known as Bambi, is a 21-year-old Cape Peninsula University of Technology fashion design graduate, textile artist and environmentalist. She is the co-founder of the brand Metopia, in which her dual passions for the environment and design come together through practices and processes such as eco dyeing and printing, working with sustainably sourced natural fibers, and repurposing wherever possible. Tippens describes her approach as a designer as “holistic”, and aims to create clothing that lends itself to an experience, promoting wellness and healing. For our annual Grad Guide, we spoke with her to learn more.

Tarryn Tippens

Where and what did you study? What was your experience like?

I studied fashion design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. My experience was interesting, for the most part it was fun, challenging at times but mainly enjoyable. It was a very hands on experience which I enjoy as I love practical work. Due to Covid-19 I spent most of my third year of studying and working remotely, although my lecturers were so kind, considerate and helpful throughout this time which made it a lot easier to achieve my goals and meet deadlines.

What inspired you to pursue a path in fashion?

My mom. Throughout my life, I’ve seen her design clothes for clients for many different occasions. I always thought she was so skilled and that I wish I could sew like her, I still feel this way to be honest. I never really considered myself to be artistic until my last few years of high school, I started exploring design and once I tapped into that I realised it came to me with such ease, and since then I never looked back. I enjoy putting things together and making a vision in my head come to life and I found I did that best through clothing. That’s what made me choose fashion.

Tell us about your graduate collection in terms of m inspiration, style, concept and construction.

My collection is centered around sustainability and wellness. My practice revolves around healing materials and plant matter and how to access them and use them in a sustainable way. I believe that clothing should be a healing component and that is the message I try to convey through my work. I do this by incorporating crystal healing and high frequency natural dye techniques as well as hemp material, as it benefits the skin and is sourced sustainably. My collection was inspired by the core principles of sustainability: environmental, social, cultural and economic. The construction and style was inspired by nature and natural forms, therefore including lots of organic and free flowing lines. “The Home Hub” was also a term that I constantly found myself referring to, creating pieces that are comfortable enough to wear around the house but that are also suitable as streetwear.

How would you describe your approach or philosophy as a fashion designer?

At the moment it’s all about human-centered design and sustainability. Designing with intention is and always will be what’s important to me. My approach as a designer is holistic and I want my designs to be an experience, one which promotes wellness and healing.

Who would you most like to collaborate with in the local fashion industry?

Lukhanyo Mdingi. I’ve looked up to this brand for a few years now, and a I can truly appreciate the craftsmanship that it is. I enjoy design that makes me feel excited yet calm at the same time, and that what this label does.

What are your plans for 2021?

I aim to further my crystal healing practice as well as continue my study of natural dyes and eco printing. I recently started a brand with my partner called Metopia, we focus on repurposing, natural dyes, eco prints and hemp fibers and just making sustainability cool in general. I hope that people begin to take an interest in what we do. My goal is also to hopefully do some commissioned work for a well known brand or company and show more people the beauty of eco-printing, natural dyes and sustainability. Although all I really want is to stay healthy.

Follow bambi.com_ on Instagram.

Grad Guide is an annual series from Between 10and5, profiling some of South Africa’s most exciting creative graduates across the fields of fashion, art, photography and design. Find the full 2020 Grad Guide here.

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