INTERVIEW: Bryony Knight – NOMeansNO

The fashion design graduate, in conversation with writer Suhani Lotlikar, shares details of her collection and vision for the future – including the sexual abuse experience which inspired the designs.

Originally from London, Bryony Knight is a 2021 fashion design graduate from Arts University Bournemouth. She is here to walk us through the development stages of her brand ‘Amplifly’. With her unapologetic vision to redefine beauty standards, Bryony is passionate about her culture and the power of fashion. Her graduate collection ‘NOmeansNO’ embodies all that she hopes the industry will work towards. I had the opportunity to virtually sit down with Bryony to talk about her inspiration, brand identity, future plans, and much more.

Bryony had just handed in her final work and attended Graduate Fashion Week. Here’s what she had to say…

… On graduating:

“I am feeling amazing, so happy to have completed my collection. I’m eagerly looking forward to going back home soon. I mean, I love this place, but I am looking forward to what London has to offer. Three years at the uni have been such a process and now it is time to go out and explore the industry. I am looking forward to getting some industry experience.”

… About the inspiration for her collection:

“The inspiration for my collection was the concept of ‘no means no’. That is the title of the collection. So, NOmeansNO is a collection created to empower women, to give them the strength to say no and to be heard. Their voices should be heard loud and clear. That is something I wanted to portray throughout my collection. So I wanted to allow myself to use my creativity to empower other women in a similar position to me.

“This year I am personally going through a sexual abuse case myself which is going to court. And this is very traumatic to me, this happened to me halfway through my final year. As I was creating my collection, I thought I really, really needed to do something about this problem. It’s like a pandemic, the men are not listening. I really need to do something about it. So that’s why I came up with the idea of this collection. So, halfway through the year I switched up my plan. And I made sure I hit my goals which was to create a collection which would empower other women in a situation similar to myself. I was very lucky to have a lot of support but I am very aware that there are a lot of women out there who don’t. And I feel like having an armour, a coat of armour to feel strong to vulnerable women such as myself.”

… On the process of designing the prints and choosing fabrics

“All the prints for the collection were created by myself, digitally. I used fabrics such as elastane, Lycra, and other stretch fabrics. I used Portland, it’s like denim. I wanted to use these fabrics to create a collection that adapted to all body types. I wanted to show the curves and appreciate them. So I used all of these to print digitally onto. I used Photoshop and InDesign to create these files. I wanted to boldly put out there a conversation starter about situations in which ‘no means no’ applies. Many of us have experienced moments where we wanted to say no means no, but it’s difficult. And yes, for women especially, it happens a lot, but also for other people, we all experience these moments. I just wanted to put it out there with the print.”

… On the purpose of her first collection

“The real aim of my collection was to create a change in this world and for women to feel like they have a voice, a collective voice that would be listened to. I realise that art is something that may be listened to easier than words. People love to visualize and understand things that way rather than listening to words. So I thought that would be a great way to communicate what I felt. As you can see the photoshoot turned out to be good as well. My friends helped and supported me a lot. Initially I had many people telling me, friends and family too, that I should not do this collection. But I decided no, I need to do it as this is something I believe in. So I pushed myself and did it anyway.”

… On the role of inclusivity and representation in her collection

“You can see in the photographs that the collection was made for different types of women; different body types and sizes. Even different backgrounds and colours. It includes all kinds of women, even transwomen. I wanted to create something that many women could relate to. The idea was to create a brand at retail level so it is accessible to the masses with the craftsmanship of a luxury brand. My friends helped me alot in the process. It has helped me feel more confident and strong about my own self too.”

… On her vision for Amplifly

“I want to keep designing but I also want to gain some experience. I want to bring in my vision for the future which really should have been the present, to the brand. Some things such as size inclusivity and breaking stereotypes, challenging euro-centric beauty standards should be done. That is what I want to do with the brand. I want to keep representing and designing for all kinds of women.”

… On her plans for the future

“Plans for the future are to continue to expand my brand, continue to grow. I plan to travel so that I can explore other cultures and problems around the world. So I can discuss them through the means of fashion. I plan to get more experience so that I can push myself to get to heights and look at other issues around the world and to communication, talk about them through the means of fashion. There area couple brands I would like to work with to gain some experience.”

… On advice for the next generation

“Stay true to yourself. Don’t allow anyone to tell you that your art isn’t beautiful. If it’s beautiful to you, that is enough. That’s true art to me.”

Graduate designers such as Bryony Knight, willing to take on the challenge of redefining and realising the purpose of fashion itself, are a wave to look out for.

You can read more of Suhani’s work on and on Instagram by following @suhani_lotlikar

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