Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Fashion Design Research @ Fashion & Textiles Museum

Yesterday evening I attended a lecture at the Fashion & Textiles Museum. It was based around Ezinma Mbonu's new book, Fashion Design Research, and she was joined by four other speakers: Erika Trotzig, Christine Yai, Tom Pike and Gemma March, who discussed how they began their research for a collection, and how they prefer to carry out and present their research.

Because it was almost like an informal discussion, it was interesting to learn that they all had different ways that they preferred to work, but there where common points that kept cropping up, that they were all in agreement with.

  • Inspiration can come from both a positive or a negative reaction you have to something. Quite often, if you question why you don't like something it can lead onto other things - making you more curious. Curiosity is key to researching, as it draws out ideas different to what you already know.
  • Research can never be too broad, but it is important to edit your research down into what will be relevant to your final collection. Think of your work like a funnel shape - with the research at the widest point and the final outcome at the narrowest point.  Sort your collated inspirational imagery, text, sketches, objects, etc. into key areas of shape, mood, colour, texture/fabrics, etc. onto a pin board. Anything left that doesn't quite fit should go (even if you love it - you can file it away to use in a different project).
  • From your research, you should have some initial ideas, but to generate more design ideas it is important to keep going back to your research and analyse it. Also look back on what you have done particularly well in past projects and question how you can evolve it. Research isn't separate to your design process, you need to keep going back to it and question it, draw from it, experiment with it. Discuss you ideas with tutors and peers, and make a note of the dialogue.
  • Dealing with a creative block: Do something different - take a walk, listen to music, talk to a stranger, go to the library and pick out random books, listen to the news.

When working this year, I will definitely make good use of my pinboard in the visual spider diagram way that was recommended in the talk. Be able to move the images and text about will help me to keep making connections and continue to edit my inspirations and research. Having the board in front of me all the time will help me to keep analysing my research and refer back to it during my design process. I must remember to take regular photos of my inboard too, to record the progression of my work and so I can look back on the changes I have made along the way.

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