Third year has been the best year for me by far. I’ve felt happier and more creative. My designs have developed, and my university work has felt so much easier, as if I finally found the way I design, the way I think and what style I like.
It all began in subject when I realised I loved using urban inspirations to design for the male market, due to the angular shapes and gritty subject matter, and I haven’t looked back, deciding to take this through to field. I love the moody colours, and even the bright ones, and I like that my designs are more masculine in nature; they seem to fit me better than what I’d created in the last two years. I’m a city girl, and I don’t know why I thought my designs would be influenced by anything else.
After determining what inspires me; black and white with a little 80’s thrown in there, I started looking on WGSN for the next trend to work with. I came across Youth Tonic, and therein, Slactivist Slogans, which is when I decided to put the theory of my dissertation into practice; using my craft as a medium for message. I’ve really enjoyed this topic and being able to design and create textiles that satisfy my love for creating with a deeper purpose.
Slactivist slogans is a transitional sub trend for autumn/winter 2018 inspired by bold graphics and political ideals. It has a bright colour scheme but it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t get in there some dark colours, so I included a dark grey and a dark purple. I am much more passionate about social ideals than political, especially when it comes to the welfare of people, and one group of people that really tug at my heart strings are the homeless. Living in a city I understand just how much money gets thrown away on useless things, I do it myself. I also understand how horrible it can be to be in a city, and I have a home and friends and people to protect me, the homeless don’t have those things. They are abused, ignored and treated as less than human because they are unfortunate enough not to have enough money to live on, let alone spend on unnecessities.
This is what I wanted to convey in my collection. That homeless people should not be treated as lepers because they’ve fallen into a difficult situation, or because they are living in a way that is contradictory to what ‘normal’ people consider living. Linking urban designs with homelessness wasn’t difficult, it was finding a design idea that was new and unusual that took a bit of time. I’ve seen a lot of collections/designs that are based on homeless people, and that was when I decided that I wanted to focus on what homeless people see, as opposed to looking at the homeless. I went to Cardiff city centre in the early morning, when most of the homeless have disappeared off the streets, and sat on the floor, and looked. The homeless people I see, more often than not, sit on the floor, which is a completely different perspective from almost everyone else who is in and out of the city centre each day. What I saw most of was the ground, and I started to look at the different markings and paint on the tiles, slabs, and manhole covers, and I found the inspiration for my designs.
The first few weeks of designing difficult. Instead of thinking about designs surfaces I was too focused on designing my garments. While I was still experimenting with hand dying and screen printing, I wasn’t playing with designs or having fun with them because I had tunnel vision which only let me see my finished products. After I realised what I was doing, my designing got easier. I started to play with fabric manipulation, and laser cutting, I went back to mark making and turning the shapes and marks I found on the floor into designs. When I got to printing, I had some trouble with choosing the right colours to print on top of my coloured fabric. I’m used to working with black and white but I was so inspired by the colour scheme of Youth Tonic that I wanted a collection full of bold bright colours that would snatch and hold people’s attention.
I love fabric dying. I hadn’t practiced any since my first year, and I honestly don’t know why. I adore mixing and creating colours and then manipulating natural fabrics into a colour that I envisaged. I love having control of my designs from that very first step. It means that I can create something which has a part of me in it, which is so much more powerful that if I’d bought fabric that was as close to my chosen colour as possible. Each and everyone one of my designs I created from start to finish. I methodically created each piece all the while thinking of how these samples, these ideas could impact the change I’m striving for with my collection.
All in all this year I’ve learnt what I am comfortable with; fabric dying, screen printing and creating visual aides, and what I need help with, which is to not overthink and make sure that while I invest my time into my work, that I find a balance between relaxing and creating, meaning I’m able to think clearly, enjoy what I am doing and get involved in every part of the creating process.
I’ve also learnt that it is important to ask for and to thoughtfully consider others opinions this year instead of going full steam ahead. I’ve found it useful to have a team (even if it’s a team of friends) to give opinions to help me view my work with a critical eye and through this feedback, and helping others, my creative output, and my work has greatly improved for the better.
I’m really pleased with my space for the degree show.
Fun fact about me – I have no sense of measurement what so ever. I cannot look at something and say how wide it is or how tall. It is completely beyond my capabilities.
That being said, I think I envisioned my layout really well. Last week it got to the point that I knew what I wanted to have in my space, but I couldn’t images how it would fit, because again, I have no sense of measurement, or spacial awareness.
My space looked small to me because I’d been sat there for most of this year and had managed to cramp it with the amount of work and junk I had on my table. Then everything was cleared and there was a ‘oh no, look how much space I have to fill’. However, like goldilocks and that damn porridge, it was actually just right. Everything has fit perfectly. There’s a good amount of white spaced mixed in with the display pieces and my work, and it just generally looks sick. Like really flipping cool. Like how did I pull off this level of coolness. Damn. I’m just so proud of how it looks and how I’ve made it to the end having made something I really loved, and loved every minute of making!
I’m really pleased.
You should come see it in person, it looks so much better. (Just saying)
Just some behind the scenes photos from the photoshoot –
This week was a a bit of mad dash. Although now that I think about it it was a very relaxed mad dash, more of a frantic stroll, but enough of that, let me tell you why. I came in on Monday, knowing that I need to have both of garments completed by the end of Wednesday because the photoshoot (in which the models are suppose to be wearing OUR GARMENTS!) was on Thursday, and it just so happened that I was first in the list to have my garments photographs.
With the weight of that hanging over my head, I laser-cut the two section for my one garment, and then created the hood outer with the laser-cut section trapped in. I know, sometimes I amazes even myself.
Tuesday, Beth fixed in the lining, and we pinned the larger laser-cut section to the jacket, and that when I got scissor happy and made that laser-cutting look extra fine. It was then time to trap that into the colour and attached the hood. Oh and at some point before the lining went in, I died some fabric bright yellow (yayayya!) for the pockets – which means Beth also put in the zips. Its all a bit of blur what happened that day but you know what? The jacket got completed!
Alternatively the lining could have gone in on Wednesday morning, I’m not sure anymore.
Thursday dawned bright and early, like really early! I don’t think I’ve seen that hour of the morning for a long time, just saying. It was quite a strange experience, not something I ever thought I would be doing. I felt a little out of place, everyone else was very professional while I was still be my normal self and watering what the flip id gotten myself into, however when my garments started getting photographed it got better. I was so cool to see the model wearing my clothes! and they looked so good, not that I’m blowing my own horn, but heck yes I am cause they were flipping awesome!
Thankfully my fellow amigo Paige was there on Friday to get my photographs so I’d be able to make my lookbook over the weekend, which I did! Bo-yah! It’s not a big book, only two sheets of paper but I thought I twas something nice to add into my press packs and have chilling in my display space. We’ll soon see if that was the right decision.
I wasn’t happy with Simon. I really liked the original idea about having massive pleats as a way to convey ones of my original images, but I just waste happy. I really didn’t like the lining (probably because it was digital printed) and I didn’t like that the pleat was separate from the jacket, and it would have been in ripstop – not that I don’t like ripstop. I’ve been thinking about it for the last few days and it needs a change, with a little friend therapy I managed to sort out my ideas, culminating in Simon 2.0.
Hand printed grey Ripstop lining and white placement print on the jacket outside, coming up from the bottom of the jacket (where as the print on the other jacket come from top down). I also plan to either print or embroider a patch with the collection name ’No Less Human’ or maybe just the initials, on it. I feel much better about this ideas, which is good because I’ve already printed both fabrics!
p.s. printing on Ripstop … Bane of my life! Firstly, printing large repeats from a smallish design, not fun. Secondly, printing onto ripstop, really not fun! it took all I had to get through the day, and not give up and throw it in the bin. Just saying.
More screen printing! I’ve pretty much done a repeat of that I did last week, dye then print, then stare at the samples, happy dance, and repeat.
This week I was working mostly with orange and purple fabrics and I was trying to pair up the colours in my palette in a way that wasn’t boring or didn’t have much of an impact. While a lot of my samples are brightly colours with bold prints, I did want some more subdued samples should we say, just to balance it out. After all, not everyone bright orange, with some brilliant white and bright red, crazy right?
With my screen printing I’m trying to bring in the idea of layer. Sow when thinking about my jackets, I wanted to amore sure they would be warm, which means that needed layer, and what the model would wear, quite a few layers and just in general, when its cold you wear layers. Homeless people have many layers because lets face it, on the street, it ain’t warm.
So these are the ideas I was trying to bring into my samples. I have 6 designs on my screen, some I printed just on there own, but others I started to mix and match until something new arrived on the scene. Something cool and colourful and layered.
It seems that I have an unending supply of fabric that needs to be dyed. That may have sounded like I was complaining but I’m really not, for some reason – maybe because I get to make the colours that I’ll be using? Or simply because I feel like a witch brewing her cauldron – I really love dying fabrics. And this time, I have denim!
After having made all the components for my jackets, I started to experiment with different materials; it may have seemed a bit late in the game but what the heck not! I’ve got time in which I can explore ideas for the other jackets I designed, but won’t be able to make, and I really love fabric dying, so I’m going to be doing some of that!
Cotton drill sateen, cotton sateen arian, serge wool, poly viscose hazelwood, (not forgetting down proof cotton and moleskin cotton) and now cotton denim! So many different fabrics, some for outers, some for lining, all beautiful!
I don’t know if I’ve gone of my original point of this post? Feels like it. Anyway, I successfully dyed bright and beautiful (and handmade!) colours, except for a mishap with some yellow and purple that made a lovely gross brown! And after all that dying and those beautiful colours, I put the sample on the radiator to dry, except the box radiator was taken so I used the older ones that are point at the top, well didn’t that just pretty much ruin my samples! The dye collected on the line of fabric that was draped over the top of the radiator, result in thick dark limes right across my samples pieces. Yay Courtney! Wait to think that one through.
However, I believe I may be able to salvage them with some amazingly lined up screen printing!