Fresh from graduating from IED Barcelona with an honours undergraduate degree, Beatriz Ferrer stunned with her intellectual graduate collection “Oil Slick” which was inspired by the 2010 catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A considered collection, Beatriz used her strength at manipulating fabric to convey the agony the tremendous damage oil pollution causes to the environment, while recognising the beauty that is involved in overcoming catastrophes. Here, Beatriz takes us on the journey behind “Oil Slick”.

Image: Beatriz Ferrer

Two years ago I was walking the streets of Barcelona after a rainy day and I saw a small oil spill near a mechanics workshop. The patterns the oil made as it interacted with the lingering puddles, made me stop. Mesmerised, I took a picture.

I didn’t think much about this experience until recently when I had to choose a concept for my graduate collection. Remembering the hypnotic feeling, I found the photo and decided that this would be the inspiration behind my collection. I wanted to simulate what I saw with textile manipulations so everyone could observe and understand the relationship between oil and water too.

At the beginning of my investigation, I explored different ways of perceiving beauty in ugliness before focussing on the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill which is considered the worst US environmental disaster and is one of the largest oil spills in history.

The Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill truly represents the main concept of the collection because there is a certain beauty in oil spills that fascinates me even though it is also controversial due to the horrible consequences on the environment. The Deepwater Horizon catastrophe demonstrated the destructive evolution of oil pollution in water: the initial stages when the oil makes contact with the water, the release of the copper color which slowly transforms into gold, until the end when the oil has finally evaporated leaving behind different mixtures of a rainbow color palette mostly seen from the surface.

Image: Beatriz Ferrer

To manifest the evolution of oil’s relationship with water in my textiles, I used many different techniques, such as marble paint, water-colours, acrylics, foil and bleach. The inspiration of the silhouettes comes from the mixture of the concept. The moment where color, fabrics and a selection of varied textures are mixed all together to create a messy but controlled and pure silhouette. Pleats are also used to create volume and oversized shapes which represents the profoundness of the problem.

My final graduate collection “Oil Slick” is a womenswear collection focused on the exploration of oil, how it spreads on the sea surface with iridescent and metallic effects. Overall, this collection shows a glimpse of the agony and the mess that the tremendous damages of oil pollution can cause in water but also recognises the beauty in chaos and the resilience to overcome catastrophes.

Image: Beatriz Ferrer