Saturday, 18 November 2017

Illustration Week

For illustration week I wanted to focus my attention on conceptual and abstract art to convey garments. My aim was to understand, explore and refine illustration to advance my own fashion drawings in my own work.

Initially, I created a concept board for inspiration and direction for when illustrating myself. I decided to look at the work of already established illustrators whose work has been showcased at the Floral Street Illustration pop-up shop 'SHOWstudio' during October and November 2017. Their style and unique finished outcomes are something I brought into my own illustrations: unfinished, collage, and fine line work that I also incorporated into my concept board. 

Using work from a previous illustration workshop focusing on life fashion drawing, I created a design board. Following the inspiration from my concept board, I chose drawings were I had used continuous lines, pops of colour, and those unfinished. I then photographed these images, cropping them and enlarging certain parts to single out specific techniques which I can expand upon in my final presentation.

In my presentation board to showcase my final illustration, I used a variety of illustration techniques which the inspiration can be seen in both inspiration boards. I wanted to keep the faces of both of my illustrations the face to keep a sense of cohesion and fluidity. Alternatively, I explore completely contrasting techniques from the garments and bodies. Inspired by the acetate illustration I had originally put on my concept board and inspired by the incomplete and colour pop illustration on ***, I used a glue gun to create an invisible outline. I then used sharpies to add the colour. For the other illustration, I used ink to translate a very minimalist outfit: high neck, short-sleeved and panelled skirt. 

I think the outcome of my final illustrations could have been improved with more exploration and expand on these drawings also. The constructive criticism I received also reflects my own opinion of the board. Such criticisms include "you could incorporate more detail from the garments like creases and crimps in the clothing which would help convey the fashion aspect of the fashion drawing." Using this feedback, I think I will still keep the models but instead add more focused illustrations on either tracing paper or acetate. This will add texture as well as detail to work.

Final Project Outcome

To embody the internal struggle individuals face when discovering their identity was the small task I took during my exploration project titled 'Revolt and Manifest'. I particularly focused my attention on the revolting of the social construct of gender identity, but also expanded my research into the manifestation of binaries on men as well as women. I think the final outcome of my design, concept and photoshoot were portrayed well and my approach to the oppression of gender in an alternative and innovative way was thought-provoking and emotive - focusing on toxic masculinity rather than the feminist movement.

To present my final photo shoot, I separated the three parts of my storyline into three separate boards:

The first board of my photo shoot explores the social constructs of gender stereotypes. I think this was the most suitable way of presenting the concept as the design, as well as the images were chosen, are striking in their composition. I wanted to single out the finer detail of my design as well as single out the story. I initially did this by removing the background of the first image seen. By removing the background I was able to highlight the bars of the reversed crinoline cage and therefore the metaphor of binaries imposed on men. Additionally, I had my model expressing frustration and anger towards these constructs through facial expressions and the hand placement. To further express that this concept effects all men (and women) I wanted the bar to cover his eyes. This removed the personability of the model and therefore emphasising that this is a wider issue. I think this was the most effective image as the overall look is very confrontation and uncomfortable, creating the exact mood and tone that I wanted in order to make my piece memorable and provoke.

The second board explored the revolt. The focus of this board was to highlight the breaking of old fashioned, traditional and backwards 'rules' of society. I incorporated the use of a smoke bomb to represent the demystifying of my gender binaries - an idea and typography used in my initial concept boards at the beginning of this project. Moreover, to really extenuate the sense of revolting, I had my model place his arm outside of the cage. This really highlighted the breaking free and rebellion of the shoot, as well as showing off the garment in a much clearer way. Furthermore, the garment is more exposed, emphasised the fact that the cage was trapping the 'feminine' side of identity due to the typically feminine blouse design.

For my final board, I focused on the liberation of the revolt against social constructs. To convey this, I wanted to physically remove the crinoline cage from the model, leaving him without constraints on confinement. I think this was the most successful way to end my concept, theme and storyline, keeping the focus clear and flowing well. 

Overall, I am pleased with the final outcome of this project and the feedback I received when pre-presenting to peers. "The subject and topic of your concept are really clear throughout" was the most common feedback which I am very pleased about as portraying the concept is the most important part of these photographs, as well as the overall final outcome of my garments. Nevertheless, when given constructive criticism, I was told that "using typography was more distracting and a bit meh in the overall look of the piece. I think you could have portrayed the fragility of masculinity through an alternative textiles method - repeat pattern perhaps." With this in mind, I would like to focus on a more textiles based theme in my next project, to really explore more advanced techniques including CAD software. I think by doing this, my work will look more creative and be more captivating.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017


My final outcome from the brief of 'Revolt and Manifest' revolved around the theme of gender identity and the revolting against social constructs surrounding self-expression - and self-perception as a secondary impact. I explored the theme of toxic masculinity the most within my original concept. 
The garments that I made reflect this theme and brief as I showcased visually the confines of society through the trapped feminity identity of a male using a crinoline cage made from duct tape and yellow stainless steel - durable and resistant materials. I presented the femininity following the research into the Victorian and Edwardian eras - most feminine in my opinion. I also had my model (a male) in makeup to present the idea that men can wear makeup without having to follow the typically feminine traits: transvestite, gay or queer.

I have made typically 1920s style trousers in a commonly found fabric in that era; woolen twill
I added fragile tape across the cuff of the trousers to represent the toxicity of masculinity through a satire approach to provoke the audience.

I liked the angle of this image, however, the detail captures was limited due to how close the shot was.

This image really showcases the main story of this concept - trapped within societies constructs and having to fit yourself into gender binaries - male or female. Additionally, the detail captured through the angle of the shot really highlights that the feminine side of males has to be encapsulated and is rejected by society as 'normal'. The lace and mother of pearl-like buttons really represent femininity the best, along with the pure silk blouse commonly seen on my concept boards of typically feminine fashion.

I wanted to really highlight the colour chosen in my brief -yellow-through the used of a smoke bomb. This helped narrate the images to highlight that in the 21st century, the aim was the demystify the gender binary - a keyword used on my concept board.

Overall, the trial shoot was successful in knowing how to improve the story of the project and in understanding the most successful angles in order to shoot the final sequence afterward. I think the least successful shots failed to show off the garment in full or in detail, and/or were blurry. The most successful shots were those that captured wither blank and really emotive facial expressions as well as those that were using the smoke bombs which not only showed off the colour chosen (yellow) but also represented the revolt of gender binaries.

Sunday, 22 October 2017


Using a toile helps to recognise mistakes and ill-fitting in the pattern you're using to create your garment - whether that is shop bought or self-made. My toile was based off a shop bought pattern that was a few sizes too small for my model. The toiling stage was therefore crucial in order to perfect my final piece.

During the creation of my toile, I first had to adjust the sizing. I started by adding on 4cm all around the pattern piece and then adding a 1cm seam allowance on top of that. To ensure this would be accurate I did this process on a piece of card to create a new pattern, to then accurately cut out the fabric for toiling; calico. I think this process was the most important and also went very successfully seeing as the toile ended up fitting my model perfectly and also means that when it comes to using my proper fabric, there will be a much lower risk of anything going wrong; costing money and time.

Original flared shape 

Next, I had to refigure the flare at the bottom of the trousers. The trousers for this pattern had a more feminine flare that would typically be seen on a lady. As I was intending on making a very conventional pair of 1920s inspired trousers - a time where men were very powerful and possed a lot of ownership over women - it was important to fix this. I focused on the outer side of the trouser as the central pieces were pretty accurate for the style I wanted to make. I then pinned the fabric, folding excess inside the seam I had made using a sewing machine. This, therefore, made a much more accurate shiloutte and the perfect style to replicate 1920 mens trousers. I then used the machine to resew the new seam whist cutting off the excess fabric. After this, I unpicked and resized the pattern t fit the new style.

Refigured fit

I think this whole process of toiling was very successful as it highlighted any problems with the pattern and allowed time to refigure and reshape the style in order to fit its purpose.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Accessories Week | 09/11/17

During accessories our brief was to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary; using pegs, pens, and pompoms and turning them into contemporary art. 
Initially bringing in a bag full of bits and bobs was daunting due to the initial uselessness, and a rather unimpressive precedent these items carried, however, after spending time conceptualising ideas soon work prevailed.

My eye immediately was drawn to the colour pallet that I had decided to focus my theme around; yellow and black. With this in mind, I chose gold wire, pens, labels and journal stickers.
The first activity entailed an exploration of these materials to create a final image in which we would create accessories from. Additionally, the final form chosen could then also be photocopied and then used as a repeat pattern to also add to the accessories.

I tried to keep my colour pallet, while still not restricting myself with materials, for example, experimenting with measuring tapes and wooden pegs. The most successful structures included 2D and 3D elements e.g. using labels, pegs and the wire once wrapped up.

Final accessory:

Overall, I think the week's workshop was successful due to the type and amount of accessories I was able to make and also be also to use for my final piece if appropriate. However, I am going to build upon the products made such as adding text to the choker as well as recreating the prop using white material and also white paint - inspired by the styling workshop previously done.