Final Reflection Paper (Integrative Studio Fashion 2)

Final Reflection Paper

My topic of research in both studio and seminar focused on World War II Navy uniforms and how they influenced women’s fashion in the post-war era. I looked closely at the Navy WAVES uniforms, which were for the women who assisted the Navy during World War II. I discovered that the style of this uniform was mimicked in women’s office work wear in the post-war era, specifically because of its underlying meaning, which made women appear professional and strong.

The research that I did in seminar had a strong impact on the way I thought about and approached my designs in studio. Normally when designing, I look at photos for inspiration, and then I begin to sketch. Although visuals are helpful, my extensive research in seminar made me realize that reading scholarly sources and taking notes is not exclusively important to writing papers. Doing both of those things can make an individual a better designer as well. For example, I read an article that described not only the elements of the Navy uniform, but also the purpose and meaning of each element. My research in seminar helped me develop deeper meanings for my designs in studio. Historical information can give art purpose, and create layers of meaning, which ultimately makes designs more impressive.

In the future, I plan to use many of the seminar research skills I gained this semester in my studio process. First, when I decide on a topic, I will begin my process by reading one or two articles, which will help me validate if my topic is good or not. Next, when I gather visuals, instead of simply viewing the photo for inspiration, I will find the source of that visual. This will ensure that I understand the context of it, which could lead to crucial information to reflect on before I begin sketching.

With hindsight, there is one thing I would change about my project. And that is, I would’ve discussed specific designers that were influenced by the World War II Navy uniforms in the post-war era. Although I elaborated on how many women wore this style during that era, I would’ve liked to discuss who was producing this style, and why they did. I wonder if designers felt, like many women who wore the style, that this image did hold certain meanings, which were strength, order, and professionalism. This discussion could’ve been yet another interesting link between the two time periods I researched.

Maintaining a healthy balance between work and play is a lifelong challenge that begins from the delicate time of childhood. Discipline, hard work and success are best complimented by play, laughter and friendship. As a Fashion Design major with a focus in childrenswear, I have discovered that my smartest ideas have spawned from my silliest moments. Living in New York City has given me endless opportunities to seek adventure and fun. I take those experiences into the studio at Parsons School of Design and try to create something new and exciting. I design garments that are multi-functional for a child. Rompers that double as sports practice attire, or dresses that double as art smocks are garments that encourage children to succeed in their areas of interest, while providing functionality for their busy schedules. Recently, I took this concept a step further and began to design school attire that incorporates crafty features that allow children to play with their clothes. Tops you can paint on, vests you can weave together, and jackets with patches you can take on and off give a child a fun activity that allows them to express themselves. Using classic silhouettes and clean lines, combined with non-traditional materials and bold color pops, I try to give recognizable staple pieces something new and unique. I don’t research ideas; I let them come to me naturally. I often go to toy stores, playgrounds, and bookstores and let my inner child run free. Usually, I will stumble across something that sparks a new idea. Next, I begin to design. My 2D designs are guided by my 3D discoveries. I can’t draw a garment until I know how and if it will work. To begin, I create tons of swatches to test combinations of fabrics and attachments. Next, I test different crafts and transformative ideas. Once I know what works, I begin to draw my designs in Illustrator. I use simple silhouettes, which serve as a canvas for the more intricate features. The challenge is to create something that is simple, smart, and durable, while still appearing chic and stylish. In a society where kids are pressured with increasingly heavier loads of homework and unrealistic standards for success, it is very difficult for so many to find a healthy balance between work and play, which is crucial. If I could create something that gives them the ability to play and boost their confidence, then I would feel like I made a difference. Going forward, I will continue to build on this concept and expand my knowledge of craft and wearable tech. Working more directly with children during my process will allow me to connect with their ideas and opinions. In order to design for a kid, sometimes I have to think like one. One day, I hope to start my own line and share my vision with the world. I believe everyone should spend their lives smiling, not stressing. As Mary Poppins said, “in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun and the job’s a game!”

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