Exile: Norm Wright’s Lockdown adventure

In Uncategorized by Nicky

A Toronto-based hairdresser Norm Wright (@colordude11) put time in enforced lockdown to extraordinary effect. Created this year, his Exile collection is a finalist in the AIPP Trophy awards 2020-2021 and we’re thrilled for him. Norm reveals his creative adventure with Tribu-te magazine. It’s worth a read. This is his journey in Norm’s words:

In 2019, creating my Intrepid collection (above) was the first time I attempted to design the wardrobe myself; that experience gave me the courage and understanding to tackle my next challenge… 3d printing. Inspired by the brilliant designs of Iris van Herpen, I purchased a home printer, downloaded the recommended software and began this journey. Starting small, I printed an elephant, a tugboat and Groot. It gave me a basic understanding of how the machine works, and the courage to tackle something more challenging for the Exile collection:

Exile: Nautilus

Nautilus by Norm Wright

Nautilus proved the most challenging of the three looks I went onto to create. Each nautilus fossil had to be designed first on my laptop. You have to factor in in extraction speed, nozzle temperature, bed temperature, material type and travel time. The corset needed 15 nautilus fossils, each fossil takes 27 hours to print, and because of the hollow nature of this particular design, the curvature involved, and its lack of support, you don’t know if it succeeded until the 24th hour. I failed 21 times!  My first month on Exile was cloaked in failure. But I soldiered on.

3D printing

I started researching focus groups on Facebook for the brand and model of my printer, started asking questions and immediately got answers. It changed everything – this was when I met a brilliant engineer, designer, friend and genius in my opinion, Paul Hankin. Interestingly, Paul lives in the UK, and we’ve never met face to face, but he believes in what I’m doing, so he walked me through the complexities of the journey I was embarking on. 

Exile: Goddess & Atmos Sphere

The following two dresses created for Goddess and Atmos Sphere, are the digital representation of a soundwave. My drawings were made to scale, cut out into dress form with measurements attached, then Paul pulsed the soundwave through the drawings (see below):

The challenge was that every dress on earth has a basic measurement in length of around 58 inches, and a width of around 44 inches. The diameter of my printer bed is 9.4 inches, this meant that we had to compartmentalize each dress into 9.4 inch pieces, then secure them together afterwards. Each dress had 200 pieces, each piece took 1.5 hours to print, and 30% into the print I paused it, secured a thin swatch of tulle over the print, press resume and the polymer fuses directly into the fabric, this creates a base that is suitable for sewing afterwards. Then I had to learn how to sew…. For the record, I hate sewing. Period. 

The hairwork

The hair was equally as challenging for this collection as the clothes.
Nautilus: The nautilus was made with tongue depressors, finely ground afro hair, and spray adhesive.Very tedious, very lengthy, and VERY MESSY. spray, layer, mould, repeat. This hairstyle took 10 hours. 
The Goddess: For this hairstyle I had to create a ceramic mould in a shape that resembled a Nike swoosh. Once this was dry I mixed fibre-optic cable with white synthetic hair ground and epoxy resin and poured it into the mould. Once dry, I  removed it and repeated the process five more times. I then glued the pieces into a shape that I thought signified hope, looking forward, and pointed to the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Hair by Norm Wright

Atmos Sphere: I know that in hair circles I’m known for the geometry attached to my afro cutting, and with this look I had every intention of creating something angular, something different. This set involves 800 Bobby pins, a full 24 hours of drying time, and a shitload of patience. After the set is dry,I removed the bobby pins and start brushing. After each round of brushing, I apply a light mist of hairspray, let it dry, then brush again. Once it has reached its best height, I start by making it perfectly round with my clippers. This is usually the time when the direction I go in presents itself. Only this time I was obsessed with creating a perfect circle, risky, I know, this was meant for the avant garde category of the competition circuit, but once it was round, it was the roundest I had ever achieved so I couldn’t bring myself to cut into it. 

In a time where we all lost hope, this challenge, and this collection helped me cling onto mine 


Hair: Norm Wright • Wardrobe: Norm Wright and Paul Hankin (@hondcrx19) • Makeup: Marika D’Auteuil (@lapetitevengeance) • Prosthetic makeup Rachelle Guinard (@getgoregeous) • Photography: Natasha Gerschon (@natashagerschon) • Models: @shalandaspencer  @iamwilliow 



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