Emily Dickinson’s project tells the story of dad travelling the world in his early 20s with the RAF. Her dad left the UK in 1984 for his second tour of duty, travelling to the British Overseas Territory of Ascension Island, between West Africa and Brazil. A volcanic island on the South Atlantic equator, Ascension Island was and still is an oasis paradise.
Dickinson’s project focuses on sports and outerwear. She took inspiration from her dad’s flying suit and baggy clothes. Her final collection is four full 3D menswear outfits which are the conclusion of her conceptual research and fit into the fashion calendar AW24.
Inspiring her project, Dickinson’s dad supported refuelling C130 Hercules Tanker aircraft as they travelled to the Falkland Islands following the Falkland’s War. Her father’s highlight was as captain of The Ascension Frigate, named after the seabird which would constantly attack its catch.
Although he spent much time hiking and exploring local wildlife, he also found it isolating and difficult. Separated aged 22 from his family over 4,000 miles away, Ascension could not have been more different from West Yorkshire. Life and work revolved around the turnaround of operational aircraft.
On RAF Wideawake, the servicemen and women lived in tin ‘bashers’, temporary tin sheds mounted on blocks of concrete. The only mode of transport across the barren landscape was service vehicles, usually land rovers. Despite often difficult times, he looks back at photos with fond memories with comrades who remained friends for life.