Space and Materiality Project #2: Body Extension

 

It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that water proof fabric was made by treating it with oil. This method was first invented by Charles Macintosh in the 1800’s. It was made by ‘sandwiching’ two pieces of material surrounded by rubber. During WW1, these coats were used for the soldiers in trenches to help them combat poor weather conditions. Inuits also invented ways to keep warm and dry- using seal and whale intestines. This allowed the body to sweat and breathe while staying protected and dry. In South America, people discovered that rubber on the outside of garments kept dry and were used for outer wear. Cultures in China had a different approach- using woven grass and leaves to make capes and hats. Today, raincoats are made in a variety of materials- like Gore-Tex, nylon polyester blends, natural or synthetic fibers to create skin like waterproof protection.

Sci-fi movies and media has had a profound impact on how we shape our future. The fashion of sci-fi has evolved from skinny, skimpy sleek outfits, to retro inspired designs from the 60’s and 70’s. The fashion represented today is usually technology based futuristic ideas and the growth of human intelligence. Science has changed the way we think about fashion and fabric- using web like fibers that connect them together to form a barrier on the skin.    

Medieval Armor was first made as plate armor in the Middle Ages in Europe. Once the development of weaponry advanced, so did the need to revise the armor that protected the fighters. The multi plate armor design was no longer efficient, and changed to take out as many different plates to make it more simplified and lighter. As time went on, the use of arm and leg armor was no longer a necessity, and simplified to iron and metal chest pieces and helmets. Today we have bullet proof vests which contain similar ideas but less flashy and protective.

http://fashion-history.lovetoknow.com/clothing-types-styles/history-raincoat

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/costume-and-culture/2013/aug/09/how-sci-fi-fashion-changed

 http://www.medievalwarfare.info/armour.htm

 

 

Project Reflection:

For this project I wanted to really push my abilities to create a whole piece with a specific look at aesthetic. I used mixed media of acrylic plexiglass, nuts and bolts, wire, thread and vinyl. My project first started out with research about rain/ outer wear about how humans protect their skin from natural weather and daily life. I was also interested in the history of sci-fi inspired fashion and incorporating the fits and style within the rain wear. Branching off of outer wear, I also looked into medieval armor and how the details of the armor could also be incorporated into my designs. My first three initial designs were more focused towards the history of rainwear fashion and my last design (feather and final design) was more openly inspired by all three concepts- using the idea of outer wear to cover the body and shield it with a protector, playing off sci-fi by creating wings to extend the use of arms to also wings, and detail value from the armor in the feather engraving and stitching on the vinyl connectors and shirt. This was my first real project was involved lots of trial and error and a changing design. My concept, once I began on actually creating the 3D part of the process changed into a more s&m inspired garment on top of the other sub culture influences. I first used black nails to connect the separate wing pieces, but ended up changing them out to silver nuts and bolts to match the silver wire that wraps around the arms and the silver rings that connect the ‘arm bone’ pieces to the wings and the collarbone piece. I also painted each feather with black ink to set into the acrylic engraving from the laser cutter to emphasize the texture on them. I then had to problem solve how this piece was going to fit on the body in the correct position I wanted it to lay. The first attempt was using sections of the acrylic on the back and used the silver rings to connect them together. Since the acrylic is not bendable, it did not allow the piece to fit exactly correct on the shoulders. I needed something more flexible- vinyl or leather. I got a pop of colour to contrast the all white garment with red shiny vinyl and stitched white X’s to sew it together for style and to feed into the s&m culture. I had enough of the red vinyl and created a matching tube top with the same stitching to make a complete top and look for my idea. This project made me step out of my comfort zone: using drills, lasers, and sewing to make a garment was new to me especially the new materials I incorporated into my design.

Design/ Art Statement:

My design focuses on the inspiration from the history of rainwear/ outer wear, sci-fi fashion, medieval armor and s&m fashion. The purpose of my garment is to transform the human arms to also wings to protect like a shield but to also cover the body with a futuristic style. The intent of my design was to incorporate all four cultures into my pieces and challenge myself by using unfamiliar techniques and materials to create a garment that is more sculptural rather than clothing. The all white acrylic is meant to mimic the bones and structural aspect of the human skeleton (protection and outerwear)  while the silver/ metal connectors are meant to match the medieval details of armor and the engraving in the feathers. The idea of flight plays with the sci-fi culture and mimicking a superhero aspect of costume.

I then had to problem solve how this piece was going to fit on the body in the correct position I wanted it to lay. The first attempt was using sections of the acrylic on the back and used the silver rings to connect them together. Since the acrylic is not bendable, it did not allow the piece to fit exactly correct on the shoulders. I needed something more flexible- vinyl or leather.I got a pop of colour to contrast the all white garment with red shiny vinyl and stitched white X’s to sew it together for style and to feed into the s&m culture. I had enough of the red vinyl and created a matching tube top with the same stitching to make a complete top and look for my idea.

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