Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Diversity Now 2014 self evaluation

I was very excited when I heard the brief for this project, the lecture that Caryn Franklin gave at the beginning of the module was extremely inspiring and really helped to get the ball rolling on the project. As a size 18 myself I was really pleased that I would have the freedom to design a garment other than an industry standard size 10. 

I chose my friend Lesley as my muse because, I have always admired her style and the way she dresses. She is not afraid to wear something a bit quirky and individual, and sources most of her wardrobe from charity shops, car boot sales, eBay and vintage inspired online shops like Collectif. However, Lesley is 48, and a size 18, and the area that she has problems with when buying clothes is her stomach. For example if a dress fits her round the waist, it is often too big at the bust, and vise-versa. So the problem I had was to design a garment that would flatter her body shape. Because her measurements sat between a standard size 18 and 20, I would also have to do several fittings with Lesley to make sure that the dress was fitting in the all the right places whilst looking good on. I felt I chose a very good muse to work with closely, as she lives not to far from me, I was able to arrange fittings easily after the initial interview I had with her to base my research on.

Lesley’s love for 1940s and 50s fashion drove my initial research, but I need to design a garment with a shape that flattered Lesley. Because of her stomach area, I would have to draw attention to cinching in her smallest area, under her bust, to create the feminine silhouette so prevalent of the era. I decided to work on a 1940s inspired dress that was shaped by ruching fabric. It was a complicated design idea that would push my knowledge of modelling on a stand.
I really enjoyed using this method of construction in this module, as it gave me more freedom to experiment with draping as I went along, almost sculpting - but with fabric. Draping on the stand also helped me to ‘discover’ what the pattern of the dress was - from doing, rather than thinking technically how to draw it out. Using a bias cut helped to give the dress a better drape and provided a slight amount of stretch to a traditionally non-stretch fabric like tweed, which I was keen to use. After I was happy with position of the folds of fabric, I took this ‘draft pattern’ to Lesley’s to check for fit. I discovered that although the stand  was padded to Lesley’s measurements, her shape was slightly different to the stand, but I was able to make alterations to the draft whilst Lesley modelled it for me. I used fittings with Lesley several times over this module, and this helped me to develop my final garment into a dress that fitted Lesley well, so that she was comfortable, but that also flattered her figure.

Another issue I had to work around was Lesley’s eczema. Although she was keen for me to use tweed in the final design, tweed is traditionally made from wool, that can be itchy or irritating to the skin. I decided that I would need to fully line the dress in silk or cotton, to overcome the problem, although this would involve more work, but it would also give me an opportunity to learn a new skill, as I had never lined a garment before. After some research into tweed fabrics I eventually settled on a silk and wool mix tweed, it had a beautiful softness and a lot more drape than a traditional harris tweed, which worked well with my drapey dress design. Using a soft, fine, mustard coloured wool- mix suiting in a similar weight to the tweed,  helped to highlight the details of the dress with a contrasting flash of colour.

The illustrator class was a great addition to support the module, another new skill to practise and develop. I have learned how to draw out garment designs and create patterns to fill them with, but because my final collection was quite asymmetric and involved a lot of gathering, I spent a long time trying to recreate my garment design in illustrator at home, but it never looked very professional, I hope that I will be able to develop my skills in illustrator as I progress on the course, as I have done with photoshop. I therefore decided to draw my final collection line up and technical flats by hand, but used photoshop to add colour and texture to present them in a more professional way.

It was quite challenging to make a garment that fits someone in all the right places, compared to constructing a garment from standard size blocks and mannequins. Womens’ body shapes vary so much even within their own dress size bracket, and so it is important to learn how to design clothes to flatter those different shapes and make fashion easily accessible and enjoyable for everyone. As a size 18 myself, I strongly believe clothes should make women look amazing, no matter what their size or shape. After reading an article a couple of years ago about a student at Graduate Fashion Week that had won an award for their plus sized final collection, it made me start to think about whether it was something I should consider for my final collection. Although it would be more challenging than designing standard size 10 garments, I think the fashion industry needs to address the issue that size 10 is not the standard size of our nations women anymore, and as fashion students, and the next generation of designers, I 
think it is definitely something we should take heed of for the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment