Lyida introduces herself on her socials as a disabled queer doofus. We asked her to style some images for our latest A/W Space Oddity collection, where we touch upon feelings of alienation, uniqueness and exclusion from social spaces we grapple to be a part of.
The results were out of this world – pardon the pun. Bringing together ideas of a vintage space age and a glitzy, campy, totally unique, planet where everyone wears neon knits – we had Ziggy Stardust in our minds when we dyed these fibres.
Read on to find out more about Lydia's relationship with the craft world, self-image and space-centric childhood influences below.
Hi Lydia. How are you? So excited to be talking to you! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
I’m Lydia Morrow, but lots of people know me from my Insta handle ‘@whatlydiamade’! I’m a 27 year old, queer, neurodivergent, and physically disabled knitwear designer, stylist, and creative director. I started sharing what I made on instagram in art school, and 10 years later it’s grown into a really exciting platform where I basically still do the same thing! I struggle to focus on only one occupation so I jump around a lot and I’m always trying new disciplines.
Lydia, our latest Space Oddity collection really came alive in your photographs. Think David Bowie on a private spaceship to a neon planet far away. Can you tell me a little more about how you styled these photographs?
For these photographs I was working with more of a character in mind than a vision. I was thinking about this kid who is maybe just a little ‘too old’ for the toys and comics they treasure, so feeling isolated and a little alienated, they build themselves a beautiful fantasy world. For me, being able to make things has always been a coping mechanism and a way to find the world I wanted when it didn’t exist around me.
I wanted to capture that odd space between longing and inspiration. Vintage sci-fi toys and magazines are some of my biggest influences aesthetically, I feel like as a kid I burned them into my brain and I can’t get them out. My husband and I have a big collection of cool random vintage and reproduction books and ephemera so the inspo for this shoot was all around me!
I’ve also always been interested in the aesthetic of a minimal, sculptural and pared back product and design photography, especially for minimal, classic products, but I feel it’s always missing a little fun! So for this I tried to put the two together and I think it gives a really otherworldly feeling.
I know that you love working with vibrant colourways. Can you tell me some more about your personal style?
I was raised by an artist/photographer mum and a punk musician/writer dad. They both brought so much exciting vision to my childhood and stylistically they were very picky- our whole family was always wearing black for as long as I can remember! At the time I never had any problem with it, and preferred dark colours as well, but I think when I started seriously exploring colour as an adult this
gave me a kind of unique excitement and fresh perspective. After having my son I decided to dress however I wanted and it turns out it was colourfully! This has
extended to everything in my life and I now love surrounding myself with all the colour I can get my hands on. Recently I have been really interested in working with brighter colours and clashing patterns and enjoying the edge that creates!
What about the Space Oddity collection inspires you?
As always, Qing’s colourways are so playful and fun, but with Space Oddity I really enjoy the incorporation of the more neutral and natural colours that to me reference the fading colours of my vintage toys, and the feeling of older times. It’s still a playful collection, but with a strikes up in me a feelings of longing and nostalgia.
From your point of view, what makes for an exciting knitting project? We love to experiment with loads of exciting colourways at Qing Fibre ranging from vintage, more classic neutrals to crazy, neon variations. Tell us what makes you tick.
Honestly I’m still working on figuring this out for myself but my main, enduring passion is and always has been colourwork! I gravitate towards anything that feels like a departure from the aesthetics of what knitting is ‘supposed to be’, so personally I steer clear of neutrals, and towards brights, away from cables, and towards intarsia, I love when knits can incorporate a feeling of aesthetics or worlds colliding, I especially love sheer knits! What an oxymoron!
I’m still searching for my perfect sheer knit though. The thing is, as soon as I discount a technique, colour, or style, I see someone use it SO well and I’m like dang it I have to try it again now haha!
We wanted to express feelings of uniqueness and independence in the Space Oddity collection, but also moments of alienation – feeling far away from the everyday. As an independent designer, what challenges do you face? Do you think they are reflected in your work?
I’ve never really felt normal, or fully a part of anything, especially aesthetically. I’m always asking myself ‘what subculture am I a part of?’ and I get a little insecure about not being *cool enough* and a little strange. As an adult I’ve realised I have ADHD and am also likely autistic, this has definitely given me a little clarity for why I feel like this and I’m trying to learn to embrace just being the maximum of myself. It can be hard when things like my disabilities or my weight cause people to exclude me from the spaces I want to be a part of, but I try to lift others up with the same or intersecting marginalizations with me! I am learning that people like what they like and we should not judge or be judged based on it!
I get a little worried about not being very professional and not having a well thought through approach to my designs, releases, and pitches for work, but I’ve decided to just try to tune out the nagging voices and work in my own way. I hope the way these things are reflected in my work is just in an unflinching commitment to not shrinking away from my weird bits and always openly advocating for myself.
I have been incredibly fortunate in how many folks have supported me and my work so I’m just hoping for exciting things ahead! I hope to have more projects in future where I’m entrusted with a team and a budget to explore my vision.
Above is an image of Lydia in her home, adorned in beautiful pink, red, cream and yellowish knits. Lydia reports on Instagram that often, when asked for portraits for interviews, she feels like they do not portray what I am trying to do or achieve with my art. Instead, this beautiful, vibrant portrait, Lydia exclaims, demonstrates the: isolated, sedentary, domestic act of my art-making in a sort of editorial/painterly/cinematic light.
We really enjoyed catching up with Lydia and hearing about her personal influences and experiences as an independent knitwear-designer and creative director. When dyeing these fibres for the Space Oddity collection, we wanted these colourways to inspire a feeling of uniqueness and excitement in you guys! So, this collaboration allowed these whacky, space inspired fibres to truly come to life.