Explicit Tinder messages inspire university student from Leighton Buzzard’s fashion collection

A 22-year-old student, who received explicit Tinder messages, has used her dating app experiences as inspiration for her fashion textiles collection.

By Megan Hillery
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 3:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th May 2022, 5:02 pm

The barrage of unwanted messages arriving in Molly Anne Barchard’s app inbox has included comments on her appearance and unsolicited sexual advances.

She has taken some of the worst and bizarre messages and printed them on a full-length bodysuit, trousers, top and gilet.

Molly, from Leighton Buzzard, who is in the third year of her Textiles for Fashion course at the University of Northampton, said: “Some of the messages can be funny but some are just plain nasty and I really wish I knew why people take the time and effort to send them.

Molly Anne Barchard, 22, pictured with her full length bodysuit displaying some of the explicit messages she has received on Tinder.

“Unfortunately, dating apps make people focus on appearance, rather than personality, so you get people judging you on a photo. So, it’s often all about looks and that puts so much pressure on women. Nobody needs to be told they need bigger boobs, or have somebody sexualise you before even meeting you.”

Molly added: “I want to highlight what feels like to be a single woman in today’s modern world of app dating.

“In an era where we celebrate how far we’ve come terms of equality, we really haven’t come that far at all when women like myself are getting these types of unwanted messages.”

Despite her experiences, Molly says she has not been put off from dating apps.

Molly Anne Barchard's full length bodysuit displaying some of the explicit messages she has received on Tinder.

She said: “They can be a great way of meeting people. You just have to wade through some awful things to find somebody who is normal and you click with.”

Senior lecturer in fashion, Jane Mills, added: “I’ve been impressed with how Molly’s turned a negative experience into a positive, by hand screen printing the messages she’s received.

“I am both proud and impressed that, in the realisation of her final year collection, Molly has demonstrated a willingness to take on and communicate an important and challenging issue that impacts so many women.

"Through the medium of her printed textiles, Molly has created an effective and unflinching insight that focuses on a contemporary issue that blights the use of social media and its use in dating in the 21st century.”