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Fashion (MA)

Molly Bowman

Molly is a maker, mover and muser from Leeds with a specialism in Fashion Knitwear. Her current work exists physically outside of fashion including video, painting and textiles, but concepts remain interwoven to the fashion sphere being closely tied to identity. 

She previously studied Fashion Knitwear and Knitted Textiles at Nottingham Trent University, where she gained a wide breadth of fashion design skills as well as technical knit specific skills. Her skills include design research, adobe suite including; illustrator, photoshop and InDesign, pattern making, knitting on dubieds and domestics as well as developing skills on Shima Seiki and Apex 3 systems. 

Molly has built on her preexisting skills within the Royal College of art by delving into the core of her artistic expression. Striving to carve out a place in an industry which she is aware is already full of innovation. Finding a place which resonates for her, designing carefully, instinctively and with purpose.

Unforeseen for Molly was the extraordinary community she has encountered and surrounded herself with this year – a community that has become the driving force behind her artistic evolution. In her creative practice, she delves fearlessly into the most vulnerable aspects of herself. Without this unwavering support, she would not have had the courage to claim this space for herself. 

Degree Details

School of DesignFashion (MA)KnitwearRCA2023 at Battersea and Kensington

RCA Battersea, Studio Building, Ground and First floors

Mannequin with fabric moulded round in front of bookcase.

Both the acts of making and moving have always underpinned my work and through my Master’s Studies I have undertaken crucial analysis to understand why. Upon self-reflection, I noticed a recurring pattern of engaging in making and moving activities, as well as a strong affinity for repetition. Even as a young child, my playgroup teacher observed my unwavering focus and commitment to repetitive tasks, unlike other easily distracted three-year-olds. In my design work, I often gravitate towards repetitive techniques such as pleating, smocking, and knitting. I find comfort and solace in rewatching films and programs, never tiring of the familiar narratives they offer.

My journey into understanding the links between movement and expression began with my BA Dissertation, which explored the empowering potential of physical activity for women and its connection to visual culture. I sensed that my dissertation research held the promise of something truly intriguing. 

Through exploration of the feminine ideal in my practical work and ‘Can Female physical activity ever be empowering without restriction? An exploration into the sexualisation of women’s bodies in Western culture.’  in my BA Dissertation the confines of traditional fashion norms constrained my ability to fully immerse myself in the project, fuelling my decision to pursue further education at the Royal College of Art.

Walking and running, the most primal and repetitive movements, have become my favourite activities. My work has always stemmed from the exploration of the complexities of Feminist practices, John Berger’s stating that ‘men act, and women appear,’ often frequents my mind, ultimately, he concludes that women become the surveyor and ultimately objectify themselves. (Berger, 1972) This combined with Foucault’s theories on freedom being an ontological condition of power, meaning that power only works to motivate us towards set of behaviours because we’re free to choose within a freedom of possibility, showing the constant parameters set for us in current society. (O’Farrell, 2002) Despite comparison being reflexive and not something humans can fight, there is an opportunity here to examine our reasons for acting and how this influence of what we do or think in specific situations.  

I firmly believe that gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves enables us to tap into our innate creativity, freeing us from the constraints of trend culture. Embracing sustainable design does not mean limiting creativity; rather, it means making purposefully, consciously, and with respect, thus, creating a synergy between artistic expression and environmental responsibility.

"Take space. Make room and take the space you deserve." (Overheard in a spin class)

"Taking up Space" is a body of work that emerges from the deepest vulnerabilities within me, a part of myself that I sensed was shared but struggled to effectively convey. This work delves into the inherent connection between movement and expression. The word "expression" derives from the Latin term meaning "to press out," thus contextualizing its historical association with movement. 

While our bodies serve as physical manifestations of who we are, self-expression extends beyond our corporeal forms into a vast expanse. The way we move physically affects how we inhabit and claim space, while the energy we emit through expression also influences our presence in that space. By reconnecting with our primal movements, can we tap into our Shakti and unlock our divine energy? Can we transcend our physical bodies by embracing our fundamental capacities? Through this exploration, I seek to learn how to live beyond the confines of our physical selves and discover the boundless possibilities that lie within us.  

The aim of this piece is to let go of the expectations set on myself and be completely present in the moment. Music composed Nick Panteli (, who interpreted my concept and research points through his own medium. I then responded back to this by painting, moving and making whilst listening.
Scan of book
Bio Energetics - Alexander Lowen

"The challenge to an artist is how to maintain performance without losing the feeling of spontaneity in his actions that gives life and pleasure to the activity" -Alex Lowen, 1975








Long exposed images of movement
pictures of body and crochet samples
Body Part Sculptures
Fabric moulded round body
Painting in response to sound
Making in response to sound
image of sewn shorts and smocked fabric
Drape on Body
textiles samples and movement photos
Scan of Book by Alex Lowen, Bioenergetics
Bio Energetics - Alexander Lowen
Automatic writing about concept and energy
Following attempts to understand and explore the concept, I regularly practiced automatic writing.
layered image, person moving fabric

"Together knitting and the meditative space it offers have provided me with a lifelong structure for learning." - Rachael Matthews, 2016

two knitted pleat samples
knitting samples and book scan
Collated Knit images
collated knit tech images
knitting samples and book scan

Its hard to describe the feeling when I run

Its hard to describe the feeling when I move

Its hard to describe the feeling when I make

The joy I feel when I see a finish piece

The excitement when it works and makes sense

The catharsis in the middle of a run

There’s a feeling deep inside my gut

Like everything clicks into place

The paths feel so different

What they have in common is repetitive motion


Stitch after stitch

Step after step

Something that comes instinctively, intuitively,

A time when things are peaceful and happy

A time when other things don’t matter, 

and some things make sense

In a way I understand who I am best

Somethings get lost in the daily cycle

Somethings come from deep within where I 

Start to understand myself

The repetitive motions make everything make sense

I don’t think it’s a feeling that can be described it’s a sensation that once experienced,

You’ll crave.

Robert and Stephanie Bowman (My amazing parents.)