A conversation with Lucinda Graham

First of all: Who is Lucinda? How would you describe yourself?

Lucinda is 100% authentic. I am forthcoming, fierce and never ashamed or afraid to stand out. I am deeply rooted in my identity to the point of it being unshakeable. Meaning that i can move and sway and bend with what life gives me, but my roots keep me planted, firm and secure. I would describe myself as a mother hen. A lot of people think that I am very intimidating and can be afraid to approach me, but despite my stature (I stand at 5,10”) and aesthetic, I am incredibly nurturing and there is nothing that I love more than giving out hugs and affirming others in who they are. Mothers are fierce and continually put their babies before themselves, and I try to live my life in a similar spirit, putting the needs of others and my community before my own. Life’s better that way don’t you think? Surrounded by loving community.

Is the Lucinda that we see online different from the one in the real world? Do you think that Instagram can shape the way we see ourselves and the others?

Totally. I made it my mission from my late teen years to keep the two sectors of my life, online and irl – completely authentic. My humour, my captions, what I post about (what I don’t post about!), my style, my make-up, everything. If I speak about something online, it is because I care about it off-line more. It’s incredibly easy to be sucked into instagram hype and to mold yourself to someone more palatable online. I see it all the time and I feel that struggle daily! Pre-internet our peers were who is around us; now our peers are the entire world with access to instagram, it can be totally exhausting and you can feel the weight of needing to ‘keep up’ or make your posts more ‘edgy’, but in that you can and will lose yourself. If not careful, we can begin to see ourselves through the same lense that we use to decide whether we like or dislike someone else’s post, and that’s when we start to hold oursleves against unbelievably high standards that no-one else is holding against us.. Over a long term this usually ends up in crippling anxiety, depression, body dismorphia and so on.

Why did you choose knitwear instead of other courses?

I wasn’t that keen on knitwear when I was studying it if I’m honest, but I knew that the principles of understanding how to operate knitwear machinery would help me and give me an edge as a post grad! You can do anything with a knitwear degree from sportswear through to traditional garments. As I;m not a very traditional kind of gal – it was my perogative to use traditional practices and just have a laugh and see what weird creations i could make!! Matty Bovan was also a huge inspiration of mine when trying to decide what to specialise in at uni. I love how he thinks so outside of the box of what a garment is and should be. Inthe same way, I figured that I could always move back to traditional fashion and pattern cutting, but I probably wouldn’t get the same opportunity to learn traditional knit skills.

Year 2067, we’re still on earth after a nuclear war that lasted 30 years. Humans are now replaced by robots and plastic is not allowed anymore on the planet. You survived in the resistance. They call you from the British Fashion Council 2.0 to re-create the fashion industry. What would you like to see in a hypothetical “new” fashion industry?

I LOVE THIS QUESTION!!! I love watching films where the plot looks at what humanity will be, but I am often really disheartened by their costumes. The fashion industry hasn’t changed that much since the industrial revolution, and we are yearning for garment revival.

First things first, everything would need to be completely circular. So, only created if the piece can be broken down and used as compost/energy or fuel. I think the industry would be completely vegan, with things like mushroom and funghi leather taking the forefront focus. Perhaps we would have the technology to increase growth rates meaning that mushrooms and other funghi could grow at a rapid rate, to make clothing faster, but also without any waste, so if there was a way of growing that was also a healthy eco system. I would also like to see the end of cotton production. I would propose hemp as its new replacement. It’s more durable, uses less water and needs no pesticides! It also grows incredibly fast, increasing the rate of production. I think that lothes would be fairly genderless, with utility as the center focus.

You talked about very personal topics on your social media channels, one amongst the others, the eczema. A lot of people in the comment were relieved about hearing an experience similar to theirs. How did you feel about opening up on a public place?

That was crazy!! I still can’t believe the response that the post got. Especially for a post that wasn’t planned or that considered. It took me weeks to respond to all the comments!!! I felt really anxious about it if im honest. It was like a sort of big reveal for me. Like you keep it covered for years, your whole life maybe, willing and waiting for when your condition will get better, and of course; it never does. It feels like you’re lying to yourself, that SOME DAY – you WILL have this incredible body, that you can flaunt and feel great about. But the reality is, that a day like that will probably never come. So what am I to do, sit around and wait until it is ‘acceptable’?? It felt very healing to share that post. To allow myself to share that post. Like this is what it is, here’s what I deal with almost every day. And I’m sick of hiding. I tended to not post as much about it because I was still so self concious and scared of making other people uncomfortable, as well as doing then occasional modelling work and I not wanting to scare anyone off !! I’m very lucky to have a following, and I think that people follow me because they want that healthy dose of reality that breaks up their “insta-perfect” feeds, and If by me, sharing my struggles on a public platform, validates someone else, then that’s great! And surely is much more valuable than me feeling like I need to conform to societies ideals for the rest of my life! It’s incredibly liberating.

Fast fashion, capitalism and hype culture are all related. Do you think that we need a new human renaissance? How it is possible to give again the right value to things in this era?

This is a GREAT term. We need to strip back our consumeristic ways – to stop and consider WHY we consume. Our gen is CLASS, but also very troubled, I see a lot of people flexin and showing off what they have, and then I look at Sudan and I’m like WOW. How are your yeezy’s and the latest Off-White drop going to really effect humanity? The answer is, that they won’t. It will be a blip on the radar. No-one will care when you’re dead about your flex. How did you influence and nurture the lives around you? Were you an ally? A good friend? An advocate, a champion? These are what we should aim for. To attribute the right value to materialistic goods we must remember what they are. Shoes cover my feet so that I can walk and transport myself. Clothes cover my naked body. It is so simple when you strip it back really. I’m not saying that you cannot and must not enjoy these things, but enjoy them in moderation. We need to recognise them for what they are and what more importantly, they are not. It comes back to the mother hen energy that I was describing earlier. Nurturing one another caring for our peers more than ourselves, and having a good moral compass. Hype culture is extremely pointless in my eyes, (when it operates on such a big scale! People consume so mindlessly these days… I guess all in all, its about putting real thought and intentionality inot what we wear and asking ourselves, do we need it? And what is this product/piece bringing into my life? Or am I just serving the capitalist regime?