Rachel Colless Photographer stylist London Berlin Australia Fashion photography Styling London punk scene Vivian Westwood Judy Blame Vintage fashion Wearable art Photography exhibition Berlin exhibition Human interactions Diversity in art Cultural influences Underground fashion Grunge style Creative expression
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December 4, 2023
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In the Bathroom: Telling Stories with Rachel Colless

We met with the multifaceted artist Rachel Colless in Berlin, we delved into her intriguing journey from the sun-kissed shores of Australia to the bustling streets of London to end up in a bathroom project in Berlin. Rachel is a stylist known for her unique, custom pieces and a photographer with a keen eye for capturing the essence of the moment. She shares her story with us, revealing insights into her creative process, inspirations, and personal style.

Rachel reminisces about her upbringing in Australia and how a deep, internal pull drew her towards London, a city she had never visited but felt a profound connection with. Influenced by London's iconic punk scene, she found inspiration in the likes of Vivian Westwood and Judy Blame, blending various genres to forge a distinct, deconstructed style that echoes throughout her work.

“The exhibition I did in London was a little bit more about my obsession with what happens in a bathroom because, you know, in a bar, in a club, there's so many things that happen when you're in a bathroom.” Rachel Colless

She started roaming in the realms of photography and styling pretty early, with a fascination for vintage fashion and an education in fashion school in Sydney. Opting for styling over design, she found joy in storytelling through clothes, treating each outfit as a piece of wearable art. Her move to London catalyzed her pursuit of photography, reignited by the thoughtful gift of a film camera from a friend. This later led to her first exhibition, "The Bathroom Diaries," a candid exploration of the multifaceted experiences within the confines of a bathroom. 

“There's also something about when you're in the bathroom, it's so ritualistic when you're having your moment in there brushing your teeth or taking a shower or whatever it is that you do.” Rachel Colless

She describes her London exhibition as an observation of the myriad of human interactions that occur in the seemingly mundane setting of a bathroom. This idea evolved in her Berlin exhibition, where she photographed 30 individuals naked on a toilet, stripping away distractions to reveal the raw, unadulterated essence of being. This project highlighted the beauty in diversity, confidence, and the natural state of humans. 2023 marked the release of her first book, "Just Be”, a collection of her favorite photographs over the last six years, capturing the people, places, and experiences that have shaped her vision. The book is more than a display of her work; it's a contribution to the community, supporting local charities in Berlin aiding women and trans women on the streets. 

“I'm an old lover of the old school, the sixties and seventies rock and roll.” Rachel Colless

Rachel works at Hallelujah, a thrift custom shop which reflects her personal style, described as an 'Earthy Pixie Punker.' She finds joy in reworking denim, giving old materials new life, akin to a phoenix rising from the ashes. This creative process involves painting, distressing, and studding, transforming each piece into a unique work of art. Her style and work are heavily influenced by her love for the underground, grunge, and punk scenes. Her experiences living in different cultures, particularly in Australia and London, have profoundly impacted her creative expression. She sees fashion, art, and music as interdependent, each influencing the other.

Rachel Collessss' artistic journey is a testament to the power of self-expression and the importance of cultural influences in shaping one's creative identity. Her work, whether in styling, photography, or her personal style, reflects a deep connection to her surroundings and an innate ability to capture and express the diverse tapestry of human experience. She shared her excitement about her future projects and her continual exploration of the unique interplay between fashion, photography, and the stories we all carry within us.

Dive into Rachel's projects here if you want to see more!

Image courtesy of Rachell Colless


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