Fashion focusses on fertility stigma

9 June 2023

Phoebe O’Gorman’s creations draw on personal experience

Personal experience and the stigma surrounding fertility were the inspiration for a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) fashion design student’s final collection.

Phoebe O'Gorman, who was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and needed an oophorectomy, has created a range of distinctive clothing using wool and jersey to celebrate all people who identify as womxn, an inclusive word which avoids the suggestion of sexism.

The 22-year-old, from Waddington, said: “The project documents my own personal journey, and draws upon the stigma surrounding fertility, hormones, and attitudes to womxn in pain.

“My primary sketches led to ongoing experimentation with organic contours and sculptures around the body, representing a form of protection from the idea that womxn’s health is taboo.”

Entitled ‘My Wild Womxn’, the collection experiments with oversized proportions, combining heavy textiles for layering over curvaceous silhouettes to accentuating the form. Fine knitwear and detachable crochet allow to interchange across all seasons, offering longevity.

Phoebe said: “The collection is rich in two-tone hues from the same colour palette, inspired by soft sculptural furniture and interiors. Each outfits’ colour combination is harmonious and remains timeless as my customer believes investing in statement pieces and appreciates the story behind each garment.”

"The project documents my own personal journey, and draws upon the stigma surrounding fertility, hormones, and attitudes to womxn in pain"

Phoebe O'Gorman

Phoebe’s creations will take to the runway of London Graduate Fashion Week where she has been nominated for The Vivienne Westwood Foundation x GFF Competition. A poster showcasing her designs are part of UCLan’s free Degree Show.

The former St Augustine RC High School and St Mary’s College pupil, whose course included a sandwich year placement at Dooley and Rostron Tailors, added: “I really liked having the ability to be as creative as possible, which sounds strange as you would assume every fashion course is creative however not every university grant this much creative freedom.

“The relationship I had with my tutors was immense, the constant support and their office doors always being open to chat about my work, employment opportunities and or competitions was vital to my success.”

UCLan’s free Degree Show 2023, which runs until 26 June, is open from 10am to 5pm weekdays and is taking place across three buildings on the Preston Campus. Design, fashion and media undergraduates’ work will be exhibited in Victoria Building. In Hanover Building the creations from fine art, photography and foundation level art, design and media students will be displayed while the final year projects of architecture students can be seen in the Engineering Innovation Centre.

Phoebe is now looking ahead to the future, with dreams of working in Madrid or Paris and eventually starting her own label.

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Phoebe O'Gorman Degree Show 202301 / 02

Phoebe O'Gorman modelling one of her creations
Phoebe O'Gorman modelling one of her creations