At the start of the semester, my definition of fashion explained that fashion is something that connects all people. Now having taken this course I’ve realized that my original statement is true but just one piece of the puzzle that is “fashion”. Fashion goes beyond just a symbol that connects others. As Susan Kaiser says “it is ongoing and changes each person’s visual and material interpretations of who he or she is becoming” (1). Fashion is about the individual, society, global economy, and art. Each person expresses their version of fashion with how they fashion themselves; this is expressed in personal subject positions. Ones gender, religion, occupation, sexuality, hobbies, and more all influence their daily dress practices which in turn effects the fashion system as a whole. Daily dress practices effect the industry with what consumers are purchasing and what consumers are purchasing effects what designers are putting into the industry. Fashion is a system. It is something deeply personal as to how each person expresses themselves. In addition to the personal aspect there is a global economy surrounding fashion. Designers play off the mind of the consumer to create trends that people want to follow. In the high fashion world, it is about the art and creating a name for oneself. Overall, fashion is something that connects all people together, but this connection comes with a global economic system, personal expression, and an intersectionality between each of those. There is also an intersectionality between personal subject positions. Fashion is the individual, the global, the psychological, and the economic.
At the “50 Years of the Museum at FIT” exhibition this piece is showcased in the section about “Gothic: Dark Glamour”. This look by Alexander Mcqueen is showcasing the gothic style with the feminine form. The short skirt, the volume in the shoulders, and the romantic neckline are all to highlight the feminine body. The presentation of the look and the fishnet leggings are to showcase the stereotype of women as a femme fatal. Showcasing the woman as a vampire, a creature that sucks the blood of humans, shows the beautiful woman as deadly. The color black color and the tights are to make the woman have a particular style of sex appeal. It is playing off both a fiction character of the vampire and the stereotype where women’s looks “could kill”. Mcqueen himself, and the current brand are always trying to make a powerful statement. In this look, I feel as though there is a strong statement of gender as it is highlighting a known theme. Throughout literature and film the archetypal character of femme fatal is wildly know across many cultures. Knowing this look is talking about that character type it is am easy way to make a statement about gender and get a reaction by a broad number of people. The woman here is walking out of her coffin in a look that could kill. The look showcasing the ultra feminine and sexy aesthetic highlights the female gender. This is a stereotype of a typically sultry and dark girl.
In my dress practice interview I discovered a lot about my subject’s daily routines and why he dresses the way he does. A major theme in his dress practice is dressing due to social influence. As Entwistle says “dress is a ubiquitous aspect of our social embodiment, a basic fact of social life” (134). One major social aspect is the influence of popular culture as he is very influenced by streetwear brands. Seen in picture two he is wearing his Adidas shoes that he wears almost every single day. Also, he is very influenced by his friends. His group of friends are all into the alternative music scene and some are artists. His style has become very in tune with these subcultures of people. I learned that every single day he has to cuff his jeans. It is something that makes him feel comfortable and he does not feel complete without cuffing his jeans. This is something that used to make him self conscious but now with the support of his friends going along with the subculture it something he does everyday. He adopted cuffing his jeans as a daily part of his dress practice. His daily dress practice does not differ from mine very much, except I will sometimes put on a skirt or a dress. He as a male does not feel comfortable in these items and would not wear them. Other than that we have a similar styling of clothing. We will both rock out in a flannel and a cuffed pair of jeans everyday. This interview has made me realize that when people feel comfortable in their clothing and socially accepted they will have a better connection between clothing and the body. When they feel like they look good on the outside they will feel good on the inside.
Entwistle, Joanne, and Ellie Lee. Real Bodies: A Sociological Introduction. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2002.
This is a cover shoot for Vogue Magazine. Shown here presumably is a man and a woman both wearing a similar suit. This cover shoot for Vogue is showcasing both men and women can wear the same types of garments. Susan Kaiser explains, “gender is actually not who we are; it is what we do or perform as we participate in an embodied way with cultural discourses” (123). The gender performance being shown here is both a man and a woman being seen wearing clothing that is culturally excepted as menswear. The suit historically has been known to be worn strictly by men, and the appropriated by women. I find that showing the “masculine” garments on both men and women is Vogue’s attempt to showcase a more accepting attitude towards gender fluidity. I still find this add to be very gendered. Yes the woman is wearing similar, if not the same garments as the man, but she is positioned behind him making it harder for you to see that she is wearing the same clothing. This add still is highlighting the fact that culturally suits are for men. I would find that this add would say more to gender neutrality and fluidity if the woman was posed as an equal to the man in the same garment. The gender performance being showcased in this Vogue cover is suits are for men, but women can wear them too.
Christopher Bredward listed many aphorisms explaining fashion studies and fashion itself. One that was particularly intriguing was the third aphorism where he explains that fashion is visible in material forms. In order to study these material forms, scholars should look through history and actually hold the materials in their hands much like an archeologist would do at a dig. I agree to a certain extent that fashion is seen in material forms and I think it is very important for people investigating fashion to hold garments in their hands. How are you going to understand why something is warn relating to a particular emotion or attitude if you do not touch the garment? Some garments people where to be comforted, but if you do not investigate how that garment is made or the fabrication you will never understand the emotional connection to the garment. On the other hand, I don’t believe that fashion is only materials that can be studied through touch. I believe fashion goes beyond dress and physical garment into a general way in which one carries oneself. Another aphorism I would particularly interesting was the eighth aphorism explaining that fashion is a very personal experience, and the way people dress or fashion themselves can showcase the personality of the wearer. Also, it can highlight old memories or present an intended future. I agree that the way a person fashion’s oneself can showcase their current emotional status, highlight aspects of their personality, provide a comforting nostalgia, or showcase a future attitude. Fashion and dress is something that can be internally and externally investigated. One can look at fashion within themselves and the things they wear, or they can look at fashion on a larger scale looking at societal fashion as a whole.
This image is my grandparents wedding photo. They got married in 1946 in South Africa where both of were born and raised. In South Africa, weddings are not a huge production and my grandparents did not have a lot of funds so my grandmother wore this lovely suit to her wedding. The designer is unknown but I felt it was very indicative of the time period. This is right around the time that Chanel would re-open her fashion house. The style and length of skirt also show the timing and overall styling of the look show the European influence into South Africa. My grandmother is decent from England and France so when England came into Africa they brought the western styles with them.
I chose this image because I was very intrigued with the ideas it brings up. It shows the spread of western dress into places like South Africa. It also conveys the new type of woman who would wear a suit to her wedding. The menswear inspired suit is what she decided was her wedding attire. I love the entire styling of the look with the shoes and the hat. I have an emotional connection to this image because my grandmother is the woman who taught me how to be extremely kind but also to not take any nonsense from anyone. She was such an empowering person in my life and this image shows just that. She took the mens style and wore it as her own. This image was something that spoke to me because I enjoy the styling of the look itself, the representation of empowering women, and the idea of the spread of fashion.
I want to research the time period of late 40s or early 50s because it enjoy the aesthetic. This image shows that even if the woman is a homemaker it does not mean she cannot look or be empowered. In my own design work, I intend to make women feel empowered. I also enjoy menswear influence show in her suit. I have a strong personal connection to this look because it is both stylish and a reminder that clothing can reach all ends of the earth. This is the image I very much would like to work with for my final paper.
This image is my other set of grandparents on their wedding day. They got married in 1955 in New Hampshire, USA. They met at work where my grandmother was a lab technician. This look here is a more decorated bridal ensemble. The silhouette is very indicative of the time period and the lace and the buttons add a richness to the design. She wore a traditional veil because they were both devote catholics married in the catholic church. The designer is unknown but the design of the dress illustrates the time period very well.
I enjoy this photo because it again is an image of love and my grandmother looks so incredibly beautiful. Aesthitically, I find her dress and this photo to be very pleasing. The softness of the lace, the decoration of the buttons, and the fullness of the skirt are all gorgeous. I have a strong emotional connection to this image because my mother’s mom seen here was one of my favorite people to ever live. She was just happy that I existed in this world, and she would love when I would give her fashion advice. This image is beautiful and showed the time period that I find very intriguing from a female perspective.
My design aesthetic is meant to empower woman. This image was taken during the 1950s when there was a lot of changes in the role of the female. My grandmother put herself through university and worked as a scientist and when she got married she still worked and took care of four children. As delicate as this dress is it shows her power underneath. She is wearing the voluminous dress; the dress is not wearing her.
This project was one that truly kept my interest from start to finish. I am very interested in sustainable fashion design so learning this method of designing is very important to me. When I first thought of how to make a garment “no waste” meaning you use every piece of fabric you buy, my mind jumped to lingerie. I was thinking about the pattern pieces and the shapes the patterns of lingerie would be and most of the pieces are either rectangles or triangles. I figured that would be a good jumping off point. I started with a collection of sketches and chose one of my favorite designs. I decided to commit to making a lingerie set using one yard of fabric. This amount of fabric ended up being one of my main hurdles because there was so much of it to use. If I were to do this assignment over again I would find somewhere that would sell me half of the amount of fabric I purchased. With the extra fabric I went on a problem solving journey. My final look ended up being a two piece lingerie set, bra and panties, a shall or skirt and a textured headband, shown in my hair in the final photos. Overall, I highly enjoyed this process of working and it really pushed me to think outside of the box with my design work. At one point I even used scraps of fabric inside another strap so every single last bit of fabric was used in creation of this look. I am very happy with the outcome, and I will keep this process in mind when designing in the future.
My exploration of negative body space started with the idea of not quite being enough. The negative body space I chose to explore was the space around someone not being able to touch their toes. Most of my friends can’t touch their toes and this seemingly meaningless funny topic of conversation turned into an artistic process for me. I started with the shape of the paper maquette which was a very literal interpretation of the space around someone not being able to touch their toes. After I chose the material, felt, and was inspired by Robert Morris’s use of gravity and chance I explored the form further. I kept my pattern of the person not being able to touch their toes, but turned it into an organic shape showing growth. Gravity will allow a human to touch their toes and gravity will allow felt to make organic shapes. Both just need a little bit of support. Through this process I realized that the felt wasn’t strong enough to be self sustaining, so I added wire to act as the bones of the sculpture. As humans we rely on our bones to keep us up, and that is just what this piece needed, some bones. With the wire the sculpture is now a self sustaining exploration of negative body space and organic shape.
I started my process of designing my tote bag by remembering the times when bags have been uncomfortable or unpleasant to look at. When designing my tote bag I kept in mind that I love a good pop of color in a bag, and I need it to be able to hold anything. My mood board is a colorful mash up of inspiration from Erin Robertson and Commes Des Garcon. I was truly inspired by the interesting ruffled shapes and the beautiful bright colors. I started to sketch bag designs with the shapes seen in the mood board. I started with six sketches to fully explore some of the possible bag shapes. I re-drew and further thought out three designs, and decided on my favorite one. This tote bag will be a tote bag, backpack hybrid. It will have a draw string at the top to be able to create the lovely ruffled shapes seen in my mood board, and the straps could either be a shoulder length tote bag or be tightened and worn as a backpack. The hardware I chose for the bad is also inspired by the glamour of Erin and Garcon’s design work.
Following the design stage I started by making my pattern and a paper prototype to reveal any issues with the pattern. My pattern revealed the piece I created to be the draw string was half as long as I needed it to be when cutting I adjusted by folding the fabric over twice.
Proceeding I cut out my fabric and assembled it following the steps written out in the pictures above. The final bag is a convertible shoulder tote bag and backpack. It has a double inside pocket perfectly fitted for a laptop or sketchbook, and can be used for any occasion. The purple color and glitter hardware is inspired by my mood board. Additionally, the shape of the tote especially the top ruffle created when the draw string is pulled is inspired by the ruffles and shapes seen in my mood board. This project taught me a variety of new skills and the importance of pressing your seams. As for the cosmetic bag, I used tabs of fake leather to close up the zipper ends and boxed the bottom of the bag two inches in order to create more volume.