On the 11th September, Week 2 of Ravensbourne, we embarked on design week - a perfect introduction to fashion week (15-19th September.) The week was set up as follows: Monday - a draping workshop, Wednesday - a drawing/illustration and analysis of garment workshop, and finally Friday - a paper manipulation workshop.
Draping was my group's first workshop. We were working with a variety of three different fabrics, all with different qualities and therefore creating three different outcomes. These fabrics consisted of cotton calico, muslin, and jersey. After we were blindly designated a material each, we then were given a list of adjectives: crunch, twist, gravity, grow and stretch, to choose from to transform our fabric into. These adjectives were initially our own choice, and then, were designated to us. Personally, this threw me right off-track, as a serial preparer ready for all outcomes... apart from those uncalculated - not being able to choose the word in which we then had to design from, was one of those I had failed to calculate.
The first word I chose was 'twist', using muslin. From this, I decided to focus of the front bodice of the mannequin, specifically on the bust area. I decided to focus in on this area as the natural form of a woman's body complimented the adjective, therefore helping with the flow of fabric. My first attempt at the task can be seen on the left and right images. I chose to start the bottom of the fabric twisting across the bodice, forming a circular ball of fabric at the right-hand side of the body. This creates a dramatic focal point and another element of twisting fabric. I then draped the rest of the fabric across the bust area, pulling the material in at the center of the decolletage, using some miscellaneous string I had found in my bag - the story of a designers life. Next, I decided to twist the left-hand side as excess fabric looked out of place and ruined the overall look of the piece. I then also pinned a few pieces of falling material in the center of the material to create little folds which added dimension and texture to the body. From the material I cinching with string, I then twisted and then covered the neck of the mannequin, securing with pins at the back of the mannequin.
Next, I was told to use the same adjective, but to manipulate the material in a completely different way. I decided to abandon the idea that I needed to create a conventional garment and therefore inherited the idea that fashion is art, instead of wearable clothes - an idea much, outside my comfort zone. Considering this, I only considered one singular part of the body; the bust. I first twisted the material in the center of the fabric, so one-half of the material is on top of the other, which can be seen in the pictures above. I then used this in a repetitive action across either side of the material, creating a circular form. I found that the outcome of this made the piece seen very flat and lacked any detailing, making the 'garment' seen dull and uninteresting. From this, I chose to pull lightly on the frayed edges that are very common in muslin cloths. By doing this, I was able to create small snags and gathering all across the material which can be seen in the images above. In addition to this, I decided to add some string into the design as seen in the first image. I thought that the string would add texture and further cinching in the material, however, due to the formation of the fabric and the fact that it was pinned together on the mannequin.
Next up was a change of word. This time around, I was given 'grow'. I initially was drawn to the idea of nature and the natural discourse in which plants grow. With this in mind, I used a similar idea as that seen in the prior images with the small bundle of fabric on the right-hand side of the body, I liked how the twisting effect resembled a floral shape, similar to a rose or something alike. This inspired me to create a growing flower vine-esk design, using two different sizes of 'flowers' in each corner of the design. In the right-hand side of the piece, I had twisted a small piece of material into a rose-shape and pinned in place. I then took the other side of the material and created a much larger rose-shape design. After this, I shaped the rest of the material to cover the bust and middle of the bodice, to create a more recognizable garment silhouette.
|Adaptation of 'Grow'|
Here is an adaption of the initial creation of the word grow. I decided to try and create a more commercial garment idea, using trends that had been very popular in the current months. I decided to expand on the lace detailing we have seen on the runway, as well as the high street. Although typically seen accompanied with eyelets. I decided, had this design idea made it into manufacturing, the lacing would be secured with a 0.5cm line of backstitching instead. This would ensure the garment was durable, as well as keeping it looking sleek and the securing tool invisible.
As a final task, we were told to consider one of the words that we had associated with the brief of the course; 'Revolt and Manifest', and use that lexis to create and manipulate the material. I decided to use the adjective, 'unconventional' as the theme of my project revolved around the revolting and manifesting of the gender discourse. I chose unconventional to reflect how difference can be celebrated and how the 21st century, in particular, has explored unconventional identities in the appearance and self-expression of ones-self through the use of clothing and make-up especially.
With this in mind, I was advised to listen to music that inspired the word or that reflected the same message of your theme. I decided to listen to Prince's 'Purple Rain'. Prince, who is known for being unapologetically unorthodox, inspired me to create an asymmetric silhouette. I think this was suitable to portray the context of unconventional due to the illusion of districting from parallel lines; often associated with linear lifestyles.
Overall, I am pleased with the progression seen throughout the day. The conditioning of working with uncomfortable material and context stretched my ability to adapted to environments and to understand alternative thinking styles. The initial pieces, were much more linear and conventional, easily seeing the form of a garment as knowing it, in comparison to the latter, which explored much more 'unconventional' and followed the mindset of a more maverick persona, essential to portraying the gender discourse.