Arts + Culture » Visual Art

Ben by nature

Teenage designer Ben Waye uses handmade textiles inspired by nature to create singular works.


Waye’s clothes are futuristic and natural. - BEN WAYE
  • Ben Waye
  • Waye’s clothes are futuristic and natural.

Flipping through Ben Waye’s sketchbooks feels like bringing an image into focus—the NSCAD student’s fashion designs come together slowly, from colour palettes, material samples and collages into stunning completed looks.

Waye, 19, says his first two years at NSCAD have been a whirlwind. Since moving to Halifax from Mirimachi in 2016, he has grown his chops as a designer, shown pieces in the NSCAD Wearable Art Show and even travelled to New York City to work with sisters Chloe and Parris Gordon of the label Beaufille, after impressing them with his work at the end of his first year.

The pieces Waye showed at the Wearable Art Show featured handmade textiles, an element that has become something of a signature element in his collections. His recent work has included a textile made by haphazardly stitching together bits of scrap yarn—the end result feels at once futuristic and natural, inspired by both fine arts and his childhood in northern New Brunswick.

“The Wearable Art Show was my first time showcasing work,” he says. “It was cool way to reuse these materials by making a new, almost natural fabric out of recycled, old scraps that would have otherwise gone into the garbage. Nature is a big thing for me—I grew up in a very natural environment, so I’m really attracted to natural shapes.”

While his work carries a distinct sense of identity, Waye’s looking forward to forging a more singular identity as he progresses. “My friends can see something in a room and immediately know that it’s Ben Waye’s work,” he says with a laugh, “but I feel like I’m still learning that for myself. The more and more I do, the vision gets clearer and clearer. But of course, I feel like it’s still changing. For me to say that I have a clear vision right now would feel like a lie—as an artist, I’m changing all of the time.”

Add a comment

Remember, it's entirely possible to disagree without spiralling into a thread of negativity and personal attacks. We have the right to remove (and you have the right to report) any comments that go against our policy.