Collection: Unit 7: Skins

Unit 7 Reflection

5th February

To help with come up my initial two themes, I decided to think about my favourite practitioners and what the base their work around. Grayson Perrys work is definitely something that inspires me as I love his bold uses of colour and pattern as well as quirky stories behind it. A lot of his work is based on British society and how class plays a role in modern day life. Thought this would be a really interesting route to start researching on and I immediately started thinking of British cultures and more importantly our fashion/lifestyle subcultures that play a massive role on style nowadays. In 2014 I was lucky enough to of found out about an exhibition called Return of the Rudeboys' which showcased the subculture through a series of portrait, installations and set pieces with a soundtrack made up from the subjects personal favourite. Finding more images from this exhibition massively inspired me to start research on other popular subcultures happening throughout Britain.

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23rd February

The research analysis workshop was helpful as it showed me where I was going with my research and also how to use my research to further progress my project without limiting myself too much. Everyone brought in 10 research images and then mixed them all together, with everyone else's. We then divided the images into grouped themes. This task made me realise how I can expand my own research and how it could be related to other areas of my study. 

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29th February

Today I had my hand in for my referral work at 10:30, which consisted of 6 designs sheets. I spent the rest of the morning working in the library completing further research and printing out my brief for the progress tutorial I had later in the day.

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8th March

The afternoons workshop today was with Chris Roberts looking at narrative within design. At first I really struggled with getting my head round the idea of a narrative within design, although I design based for an audience or trying to get a point across, it wasn't something I had thought in depth about. We got into small groups and were given an object (product design based) and had to answer the series of questions below. At the end of the workshop I had a much better understanding of narrative within design although I do think it varied within Jewellery design as you can often have many different narratives.

When is narrative present?

Is the narrative internal to the object or external to the object?  

Why is narrative used, to what effect?

What type of narrative is present?

 Who creates the narrative and who is the audience of this narrative? 

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15th March

Following the discussion with my tutor I decided to take a new approach of research within my work. I was told to look at James Longs work as a starting point which turned out to be the most helpful. His SS13 collection was seemingly influenced by Mods and Skinhead fashion with Harrington style jackets, check prints and polo shirts collars.

"British menswear designer James long established his brand in 2008 after graduating from the Royal College of Art.The brands covetable leather, innovative knitwear, directional denim and unique interpretation on casual men’s fashion has gained a international following and stockist list including Browns, Harvey Nichols HK, LNCC, H Lorenzo."

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11th April

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6th April

Today I purchased the denim I will use for my final design, initially I had intended to use vintage sourced jeans that I had bleached. The other denim I had proved to be too thick for the use and it was a lot harder to work with as well as not sitting as well on the body. Ive changed my design to experiment with an interchangeable collar that would allow customisation and for the wearer to play around with the overall look of the shirt. This may also mean I will be able to use my other denim. Today I was also able to source the correct colour thread and 15cm zip as well as iron on interface to strengthen the colour.

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19th April

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Skins-   Britain contains such a wide range of self expression within style and subcultures, varying from the timeless mods and skins, to a newer crowd of fashion conscious youths. I investigated these themes of identity and the sense of belonging throughout the ages and in turn how this has had an impact on the fashion community. Setting out to recreate the iconic design of the polo shirt, pioneered worldwide by the likes of Fred Perry and Lacoste. I explored an array of media such as denim, paint and plastic acrylic in order to create the ideal selection of colour, texture and pattern and establish this new ‘accessory to a lifestyle’.

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23rd April

Evaluation

If I was able to start my project again I would try and have a more grounded idea of what type of outcome I wanted to produce i.e. jewellery, accessory or footwear. My designs changed quite frequently over the project after talking to tutors and receiving feedback, as well as making my own decisions on what I thought was working successfully or not. This worked in my favour towards the end of the end of the project as I was able to relate these initial ideas into one another and construct something I hope that will be engaging to an audience, making them want to discover more about the British subcultures that I was inspired by.

Now that I've been able to create my intended outcome at a standard I’m really pleased with, I would love to go back and focus more on the pattern of the bleach on the denim and learn how to digitally manipulate it using photoshop. It would of been really interesting to of been able to print a digital pattern using tools available online onto a wider range of materials, starting to look at a variety of medias with contrasting characteristics. For example using printed silk as the main body, in contrast with the raw distressed denim, would be a striking mix.

Personally it was important that I was designing for a woman within my project. Within the 60s denim had finally become a staple in woman’s wardrobes and jeans were an icon of rebellion adopted equally by both men and women. Subculture fashion is all about personal style and stepping outside of the box with dressing and I wanted to get across this empowerment of style, especially for women, from my designs. Choosing a female model that didn't follow standard popular trends and that was able to confidently express themselves was an important factor for me with my shoot. I wanted to get across this sense of empowerment and strength that was the starting point in my design work. Because of this I would like to think my shoot was a success.

My weakness within the project was time management because I tend to leave my work quite last minute, although I was still able to get everything made if I had stuck to my time schedule I could of finished much earlier. During unit 7 I would have to say my strength was most likely my research as it was a topic that really interests me, this meant before I had even finalised between my two themes I had produced quite a large amount of content on my workflow research page.

Looking back at the project I’m pleased I was able to get across a wide range of research of Britains many fashion identities and hopefully I will encourage people to want to learn more about the history of Skinheads, much further than the preconceived thoughts of their violence and racism which was very rarely the case.

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6th February

Today we got the chance to present our two theme to the tutors, to help us pick one and finalise it. I had done the majority of my research on British subcultures and was pretty confident that it was the theme I wanted to choose, knowing we have a month to complete research, it was the theme I had most interest in. I also have lots of links to the theme such as family I can talk to and a massive interest in Britains changing fashion subcultures. Im part of an online community that often discusses new fashion trends etc as well as sharing new clothes and outfits and I looking forward to seeing how much this has changed in the recent years.

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8th February

Proposed Research Resources and Bibliography

Derek Ridgers (14th July 2014). Skinheads 1979 - 1984. London: Omnibus Press

Leonie Cooper. (2015). The skinhead revolution is coming. Available: http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/21347/1/the-skinhead-revolution-is-coming.

 Dean Chalkey (2015) http://www.returnoftherudeboy.com

Westwood, V (2016). Vivienne Westwood. London: Picador; Reprints edition.

Hebdige, D (1979). Subculture: The Meaning of Style . London: Routledge.

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7th March

Today in lesson we started to look at the body placement for our designs. We spent the morning drawing front and side elevations which I have done previously in college except from an architecture point of view. We then moved onto fashion illustration which we had looked at briefly last week. Im trying to become more confident with the scale on these and not depending on using a ruler to get accurate measures.

We also looked at how we could give them a stylised personal touch that would identify our individual drawing styles, I found that I tended to use longer slim faces within my drawings and decided to exaggerate this feature for my illustrations. Through practice I got more and more comfortable with drawing quick illustrations and this in turn will help within my sketch book when I need to demonstrate designs quickly and straight onto the body.

After we had covered the basics of fashion illustrations we progressed to making some collage images. I tried to focus on mine being quite unisex, with a feminine face but short cropped hair and military edge to the outfit and setting, which is my most recent research on identity and uniform. I really liked the fun playful image it created and will definitely continue to use this collaging technique in the future with my designs.

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Easter Break

After looking at the SS13 work of James Long and more currently the CSM x Fred Perry competition which featured such a variety of material and print exploration in a range of colours and patterns, I wanted to experiment with colour within my work. I bought a selection of coloured fabric paints in orange, blue and purple (to mix and get an indigo colour). Using tape I masked off stripes on my bleached denim samples I had previously made and painted within it to create nice, clean straight lines. Im really happy with my choice of colour selection for the stripes as the contrast between the bleached denim works so well. The indigo colour I mixed was because I see it as a very powerful colour, which is often linked to royalty. This works perfectly with my research on britishness because of our monarchy and the association I want to make within this project about our britishness. 

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21st April

Today we had the photography day

Personally it was important that I was designing for a woman within my project. Within the 60s denim had finally become a staple in woman’s wardrobes and jeans were an icon of rebellion adopted equally by both men and women. Subculture fashion is all about personal style and stepping outside of the box with dressing and I wanted to get across this empowerment of style, especially for women, from my designs. Choosing a female model that didn't follow standard popular trends and that was able to confidently express themselves was an important factor for me with my shoot. I wanted to get across this sense of empowerment and strength that was the starting point in my design work. Because of this I would like to think my shoot was a success.

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Research week

Today following my prior research in the week I visited The National Portrait Gallery to view the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition, which was celebrating the variety of both contemporary and traditional approaches to a photographic portrait. Pieter Hugos portraiture work partially caught my eye at the exhibition and I noted his name to do some further research. Themes of identity and belonging have dominated Hugo's portrait photography which primarily engage with both documentary and art traditions with a focus on African communities.

After the National Portrait Gallery I decided to visit the UAL Fashion Space gallery because I had heard it was exhibitioning 'Mad About The Boy' which proved to be massively interesting as it covered such wide aspects of male youth particular rebellion and within that subculture lifestyle. "Mad About The Boy explores fashion’s obsession with youth, focusing on the way ideas of the teenage boy are constructed through specific collections and fashion images. Sparked by the success of designers like Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent, Raf Simons and Gosha Rubchinskiy – all of whom seem to share a fixation with youth culture – the exhibition sets out to examine the tropes and parallels within fashion’s treatment of youth, unpicking the many notions of the young male that feature in fashion’s imagination, from outsider to sexual fantasy to reveller. "

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10th March

Today we were put into pairs and asked to look at each others proposals and using only this information coming up with a design for our partners. This could of been a really helpful activity with lots of positive outcomes but unfortunately my partner must not of understood the workshop as she didn't come up with any ideas for me. Despite that it still helped me learn to come up with quick ideas much quicker and made me realise I didn't have to spend loads of time doing it.

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11th March

Todays workshop provided really valuable within my idea development, it meant I was able to explore scale and size working straight onto the body with accurate measurements. I photographed it all so I could develop designs from them as well uploading to my research so I can look back and see the regression of my project from my initial drawings. So far I'm still unsure what form the the final outcome will be, as I want it to have a strong material exploration element.

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One to one notes

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14th March

Today I spoke to my tutor about how my project was progressing because I've become slightly stuck on where to next take it and I was worried about loosing my initial thought process. I decided to strip my designs back to my first research and go back to looking at the real sense of britishness and pride we have as a country and this was portrayed by the largely growing groups of skinhead and there new subcultures.

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21st March

Today we followed a workshop based on 'The Six Thinking Hats'. This provided so helpful within generating new ideas and further developing existing ones, much like the SCAMPER workshop. I was able to explore some different body placements as well as coming up with new conceptual designs moving more onto the body in the form of clothing, after looking at James Longs' work and got to think about how material exploration could become a large part within my design. The activity made me think about how I could incorporate denim and plaid/checks more within my designs.

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7th April

Today I set out to make a prototype of my shirt using a similar weight cotton in order to work out how it would sit on the body. After my research on Marques Almeida denim I decided to have an open seam on the back of the shirt that I wouldn't hem, so it could fray when I washed it. I wanted to create that fun edgy vibe to the shirt so it would stand out.

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