Graduate Fashion Week 2018 really was a talent fair – and not only on stage. Of all the stands showcasing various artists and designers, one caught our eye straight away: Laura Jade Foster is a young artist, photographer and editor who’s known for her bright and boldly surreal aesthetic. Her recent work – ‘Am I your Miss England?’ – picks apart the concept of beauty forced onto us by beauty pageants and instead highlights the beauty of the body types we’re missing as a result. We were lucky enough to grab Laura and her model Meg (of Fat Chicks Unite) for a quick chat.
The magazine you started during university is called “Trash” – why the name?
To be honest, I’m just obsessed with absolutely pointless pop culture. Rubbish pop culture. Plus it’s not too long.
Why did you choose to study Fashion Communication at Northumbria and where are you from originally?
I’m from Leeds, good old Yorkshire! Northumbria is quite high in the rankings, but generally I used to be obsessed with fashion writer Erica Bowles and she did that course. I always liked this subject but never realized there was a course for it – only around 7 universities did this course.
What’s the difference between Fashion Communication and courses like fashion design or marketing?
It’s a lot broader than other courses because we get to do PR, photography, and we’ve also done styling and copywriting. We’ve done everything, really, but in final year you have to focus on something in particular, and I chose photography and editorials (obviously).
Are you going to continue with photography and “Trash”?
Yes, that’s what I’m hoping to do! It is self funded, but I do want to continue with it beyond my degree. I just love creating stories, like storytelling. I feel like there is not enough of it in fashion, and there’s just not enough thought or theme behind what there is.
You chose snakes as a theme for one of your recent shoots, and I hear things got a little interesting?
I wanted to use two snakes to put on the model’s head – but it was snake mating season so we couldn’t put the male and female together as she’d bite his head off! We decided not to risk it and used the male snake (Cornelius) first. Cornelius was a bit horny and he did a certain thing on the suit… lets just say it, Snake Cum. After that we put the female snake on the model and it’s actually one of the images in Trash – where the snake is sort of biting into the suit.
Has Trash always been in print?
The first issue was smaller and it was printed on 100 gsm, but I decided to go bigger on the second one because I like seeing things very big and visual. I want to change the format every issue, so the next one can be DVD or on a rubber duck. Sort of like Buffalo Zine where every issue has a different form and content.
How did you come up with an idea for your shoot ‘Miss England’?
On my course I didn’t see much diversity. It’s sad because a lot of works are brilliant but they are just the same, I wanted to shoot something with new angles and edges. I wanted to use a range of different people because it’s more interesting and also because that’s what I would want to see myself. I didn’t want to use Meg (the model) as novelty, which a lot of people would consider her. It’s not fair. I actually met her at a party and we got on straight away, I really liked her work (Fat Chicks Unite) and we have similar interests and ideologies. At first I was a bit scared to ask, like, ‘Meg, would you want to pose in your underwear?’ but she said ‘Yes!’ straight away with so much enthusiasm!
Would you say that’s the main message of the shoot – to show her as a reality, not a novelty?
Yes, I believe in that, but I’m also very obsessed with symmetry of the face and beauty pageants and I wanted to flip that stagnant idea on it’s head. I’ve read a lot about Miss World and Miss England contests and they have so many rules – you can’t be pregnant or have ever been, you can’t be engaged or over certain height or weight. I read that and just thought ‘what the hell?’. They say that they are promoting diversity, but they’re not, women still have to fit into their parameters to win. It’s 2018, catch up!
Are you going to work with male models as well for this project?
Yes, I actually have and plan on doing more. It’s pretty random but I used to babysit this boy, he has a really interesting face and he just had a shoot with Petra Collins for Gucci a week before I had a shoot with him. Petra is also a huge inspiration of mine.
What other people or things inspire you?
I think it’s called hands of God. Watching videos and photography with hand movements. It actually started with an episode of America’s Next Top Model where they went to Thailand and learnt all those dances and moves. Other than that? Meg! She is my biggest inspiration. Also just looking through Instagram – the problem is we consume so much that we no longer know where it comes from. I wish I could reference some works specifically but it’s often just a random Instagram post in my head and I can’t.
Meg, would you like to work with Laura again?
Yes, absolutely! When the images came out I didn’t expect them to look like that. During the shoot I had a tiara and feathers around me and it was so crazy, I was like ‘what’s going on?’ I’d never modelled for something like this.
Did you feel comfortable doing the shoot?
Oh yes! I did a bit of nude modelling before and Laura was super chill. We’ve only met once before the photoshoot but we knew each other quite well and I was excited about this – especially when she brought out like 12 necklaces and feathers!
Would you collaborate with Laura for Fat Chicks Unite as well?
I would love to!
Words by Masha Morozova