Sunday, 18 January 2015

Pre-Collection Evaluation

I have really enjoyed this module as it gave me the opportunity to final write, and work to my own brief which meant I could utilise my personal archive of antique and vintage found objects as inspiration in conjunction with contemporary digital print design. I also decided to feed, some the research that I carried out for my dissertation, into this project. Which made it very personal to me, and I hope that that is reflected in my work overall. Making the decision to make my collection in a 16 rather than the standard size 10, reflects my personal perspective and questions the conventional viewpoint of the fashion industry. This is an issue that I studied during the Diversity Now! 2014 project that I worked on last year.

 At the beginning of the module I attended a talk on "Fashion Design Research' at the Fashion & Textiles museum in London. It was very useful, and helped me to get back into the frame of mind for studying again after the summer break. I tried to keep the tips that we were given in the course in mind throughout my sketchbook, by continuing to feed new research along each step, not just at the beginning of the project. I also use draping on the stand which I documented photographical, instead of sketching out ideas, as I find it easier to work in 30 when doing construction. As well as secondary research, I carried out a lot of independent research in this project, including visits to the V&A Clothworkers Centre, Warner Textiles Archive and Hodson Shop Collection. Here I studied, up close, garments and textiles that are not on permanent view to the public.

 For the first time I was able to create CAD repeat print designs and send them off to be printed digitally, as in previous modules, this was not part of the brief. It is something I have always been keen to do and develop, and (thinking about the future after I finish this course) digital print design is something I can do as a freelance job from home, and fit around my family commitments, and the only equipment I need is a Macbook and my collections of beautiful antique and vintage objects. I am happy with my final printed fabric lengths, but I feel that I could develop them so much more. Perhaps if I had focused on print design rather than construction as well, I would have had more time to develop them, but I suppose that that is the purpose of this module - to experiment and create starting points that we can develop more deeply for our FMP. Something I must remember is to print out more stages of the design process whilst on Photoshop, as I don"t feel that I have evidenced these stages enough in my sketchbook. When Jess Baily came to show us her FMP work from last year, she had an annotated digital print design file, and I think that that should be something I should collate for my FMP. 

It really surprised me how long it took me to draft, cut and construct my toile for my maxi-dress. I suppose I could have made it less complicated and more roughly, but I wanted to practise some of the techniques that I want to use in my FMP, and I felt like I was a little out of practise after the summer break (as I had spent a lot of time on the computer working on digital work for the Warner Textile Archive, and not sewing). Completing the toile, having the photo-shoot, and evaluating it, has helped me to consider how to design better in my FMP, but has also proved that my thinking behind the garment shape and design with regards to flattering a fuller figure was right. One key issue that I discovered was how much fabric my design used -- 6m, which is a lot. Considering it cost me just over £90 to have two metres of fabric digitally printed, times that by 3, then times that by at least 6! I will have to rethink this for FMP, either reducing fabric in maxi dresses, or using the digitally printed silk more sparingly.

 With regards to me keeping to my original brief, there has been some changes. I had planned to toile two outfits and produce 4 digitally printed fabric samples - but through the process this changed to one dress and 6 digitally printed fabric samples. I had also planned to practise some decorative darning methods, which I didn't manage to achieve. I can see that I under estimated the time that it would take me to make my toile and design my prints, as it is not that I haven't spent enough time working on this module. I have been committed to coming in to college at least 4 days a week and working at my desk and in the sewing workshop independently, as well as going on many field trips to carry out research.

 I hope that I have a presented my ideas and concepts to a professional standard, evidenced in my portfolio, exhibition layout and photo-shoot and final outcomes, and that I have been selected to compete for the Nicola Abbot award. Unfortunately, 5 days before hand-in my macbook crashed in between ordering a new hard drive (to replace broken one) and it arriving in the post, and all files on my hard drive have been lost - diagnosed by the mac technician. Not only did that mean that I lost my most of my work (I had some files on usb and some already printed out) but I also lost two days last week whilst I was in limbo, that should have been spent designing my portfolio and finishing my illustations. My technical flats on illustrator have been lost and I have not had the time to redo them before hand in, and my requestion for a deadline extension, was denied because technical faults are not considered. So that does mean that I hand in this module not as complete as I would like, or normally submit, which has been a disappointing end to an exciting module.

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