Afra x Tamara
Finding refuge and reclamation in new spaces
For third culture kid Afra, navigating life as a woman of colour in Australia found her questioning her place and how to feel valued in spaces that felt restricting and unwelcoming.
Sharing her journey with fashion designer Tamara, Taking up Space is both a celebration of women of colour and a rebellion against the limitations imposed on them to express their full selves and take back the space that belongs to them.
Afra Cader (she/her)
It has been my experience, that there are unspoken rules regarding places where women of colour are and aren’t welcome. There are too few spaces that are able to hold the complexity of those who are multi-cultural, and even lesser spaces that value it. I have seen how women of colour are affected by the limited spaces they feel welcomed and valued in, and when I started surfing, my initial experience of the ocean reflected this, being a place predominantly exclusive and privileged.
The ability to hold multiple perspectives, be bold, and take up space wherever we choose to go, and do it in a way that feels true to our human experience is at the centre of this artistic expression. I have found nature and the ocean a remarkable place to reclaim this.
The way the dress is modeled is a symbol of the sheer power women of colour have when they connect back to themselves and to the things that bring them joy. The colour of the dress is reflective of the sky during my sunsets surfs in Torquay.
Tamara Leacock (she/her)
This piece was informed by Afra’s story of healing and self-actualisation. We established the emotions, feelings, and desires for how this fashion piece was to communicate Afra’s presence in the world and what she hopes will inspire other women of colour in overcoming challenges of living in a world that can be prejudicial.
This plant-based, natural fibre garment portrays subtle ways of taking up space. The colours represent transitioning in energies across the electromagnetic spectrum. The cotton fabric is structured and voluminous but the gauze outer layer is lightweight enough to dance with the external environment.
MY VISIBLE MESSAGE
Dance in duality and get comfortable with sitting on the cusp of different cultures, values and communities.
There is a gift that comes from being able to appreciate and understand so many different cultures, and sitting at the intersection you get to choose the ones that are true to you. Growing up as a third culture kid where our place of birth, the place we grew up in and the places we now call home are increasingly different; we are born into a melting pot of the world – and we get to choose what we want in that pot. We don’t have to be defined by what others see, the colour of our skin, the texture of our hair or the economic development of our places of birth.
I felt so aligned with Afra’s journey towards healing, and learned that it is not only possible but essential to stand in your serenity and power, irrespective of the unpredictability of the external world – prejudice, personal challenges, mechanical challenges, socio-political constraints.
It was an honour to have been trusted to create a piece so intimately connected to her journey of healing and a journey that is so timely and relevant for so many at this time. I felt so inspired to explore internally my own stories of healing and wellness and to re-explore my connection to waters and the ethers.
It was a truly amazing experience to share my story with Tamara. From the moment we met, there was a connection, sparks of creativity and a shared experience. Tamara brought warmth, creativity and a sense of joy to the creative process. She has an amazing ability to bring elements of the natural world into her pieces and design. This was evident in the final piece she created.
Afra Cader (she/her)
Afra is a Social Impact Consultant and an Advocate for Youth. Afra grew up across the Middle East and Asia, and now calls Australia home. Afra believes in the power of storytelling, community and connection, and is an advocate for young people to not only embrace but celebrate the intersections of their culture.
Tamara Leacock (she/her)
Founded by New York born designer and stylist Tamara Leacock, REMUSE is a Melbourne-based clothing label and wearable art practice that seeks to create clothing that both models and compliments nature.
Inspired by biomimicry, artisan techniques and BIPOC futurism, and founded on the principles of diversity and low impact design, pieces are created from natural, organic, deadstock and reclaimed plant-based materials and hand dyed with both plant based and low impact fibre reactive dyes.