MATERIAL MATTERS // INNOVATION FOR INDUSTRY

IMG_1515“I start from the fabrics and I aim to create fashion that is neutral in such a way that each person can add his or her own personality to it. It’s about fashion that doesn’t overwhelm your own personality.” – Dries Van Noten

Fabrics can evoke a mood, a style, a feeling…..in a constant six month cycle, designers are forever searching for the ‘new’. What sets designers apart is not only the way they cut but their approach to fabric and colour and how this influences their design process from the early stages to the final product. Designers at a luxury level develop many of their own fabrics which further give the house a unique brand identity.
Fabrics for tailoring are often beautifully subtle, high quality and challenge the conventional. Current examples of modern yet classic tailoring can be seen in Celine, Givenchy and Jill Sander A/W 2015 collections.

Throughout my exploration of fabric manipulation and innovation I aimed to create a collection for Autumn/Winter 2016 incorporating my strongest fabrics from my experimentation. The collection should consist of 6 outfits, predominantly tailored pieces. In terms of market research I aim to target my collection within the realms of  luxury design house level (Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Celine, Calvin Klein etc.), whilst aiming my pieces at a stylish and style conscious working woman.

IMG_1424Inspiration for my collection and textiles was drawn from a number of different directions. I was predominantly inspired by Ibiza and the bohemian style that it is iconic for. This further inspired an interest for the origins of bohemian trends and in-depth research into original national dress.

I focused on experimental knitwear and weaving for my textile innovation. I worked on the knit machine, using the ‘E-wrap’ technique, to create some tactile and interesting fabrics – visually associating with my bohemian inspiration in terms of spontaneity and intentional ‘messyness’.

 

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COMPLETION OF YEAR 2 // Final Design Book Submission

To conclude the year I was asked to put together a complete digital design book presented all of the design projects I had completed over the year. I found that creating a design book allowed me to improve and render many of my skills as a designer including innovative fashion illustration, presentation skills, technical Adobe suite skills, as well as broaden my understanding of brand development and personal brand identity.

When creating an aesthetic for my design book I wanted to maintain a clean, minimal look allowing the designs to speak for themselves.

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Structuring Silhouette

‘The hardest thing is Fashion is not to be known for a logo but to be known for a silhouette’ – Giambattista Valli

front cover!

Fascinated by the juxtaposition of the corseted silhouettes of the early 18th century and the kimono inspired fashions from the early 19th, I have designed a collection with a dominating focus on silhouette and structure. My personal inspiration came from a book about 20th century furniture design entitled ‘DESIGN OF THE 20TH CENTURY’ BY Charlotte & Peter Fiell. I was inspired by the modern and unusual forms of the objects, and additionally the textures and materials. Despite the mis-mash of inspirations I believe they all played a contribution to a coherent collection of bold silhouettes.

full line up

I completed this project through the process of a design book which I have published on issuu.com (https://issuu.com/pollyrosethomas)

ARCHITECTS OF THE BODY: The Contemporary Classic

“Minimal styles do not need to be restrictive, and should in fact, be liberating. They should create an interest in the spaces of absence. The vocabulary of minimalism is similar to that of the architecture: “curvilinear”, “planar”, “modular”. The starkness of minimal design is not a rejection but instead an opportunity to understand and celebrate purity of form.” – Fransisco Costa 

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Minimalist fashion is synonymous with many ideals; ideals of modernism, balance, and restraint. Minimalism as an art movement came about during the 60s and influenced the realms of architecture, fine art, interiors and fashion. This resulted in an ‘abandonment’ of ostentation, and a search for ‘purity’ of design. In current terms, the concepts of Minimalism remain as relevant as ever; established designers (Calvin Klein), young brands (The Row), as well as high-street names (COS) producing clothing with an emphasis on simplicity and modernity. For this project I considered the beauty in the simplicity of minimalist design. Whilst exploring volume within garment creation. I developed a concept and designed a dress for Spring/Summer 2015 inspired by modern architecture and minimalist design.

I began by researching a researching a number of notable architects including Zaha Hadid, Oscar Niemeyer, Renzo Piano and I.M. Pei.

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These architectural artworks inspired me to produce a number of abstract drawings, focusing on shape, form and volume.

IMG_0213I also looked at the work of sculptor Naum Gabo who was primarily inspired by linear architecture. I was particularly taken by his use of grids and straight lines juxtaposed with curves and spheres.

I was inspired by designers such as – Helmut Lang, Hussein Chalayan, Rei Kawakubo, Raf Simons, Jil Sander and Calvin Klein… to name a few!

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Developing Further designs inspired by my research..

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Garment designs inspired by fabric manipulation on the the stand.

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 Final Prototype Design

The New Couture Culture

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For this project I researched the Couture shows for Fall 2014. Directly translated from French as ‘High Dressmaking’, the Couture industry is one whose relevance has frequently been questioned; often associated as exclusively connected to the wealthy and the elite.  However, with design houses such as Maison Martin Margiela and Iris Van Herpen joining the Couture schedule over recent years, the influence of Couture concept and craftsmanship, alongside innovative use of materials, is ever more important.

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IMG_0182After studying these stunning collections I picked a few of my favourites and using a variety of media , including pen, pencil, acrylics, pro markers, crayons, inks, chalks… to create a series of A3 illustrations. This project was fantastic for freeing up my illustration styles that had been getting stale. It was also a challenge pushing myself out of the confines of my usual style but I was pleased with the concluding results.

Final Major Project, April-June 2014

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To conclude my Foundation Course I completed an 8-week Final Major Project which developed from an initial idea into a completed final outcome. After extensive brainstorming I decided that what currently interested me most about the fashion industry was the international influential power base it has become.  The use of this power base as a means of positive influence has huge potential and was something I was keen to explore.

After reading about the recent Paris Fashion Week, I was inspired by the showcase of emerging designers from political unstable countries, such as Ukraine, Colombia and Afghanistan. This forum presented the perfect opportunity for a positive light to be shed on these countries by using their traditional skills and untainted creativities to inspire the rest of the world.

I wondered which other countries could tap into this venture? Which other countries could make a positive name for themselves using their creativity … Why not Burma? Burma presents a personal fascination for my family. Having lived and travelled in the East, we appreciate the beauty of this part of the world and my mother has created a business surrounding the exclusive travel appeal of Burma. For these poignant reasons I decided to focus my project on Burma.

As the starting point of any project, I began with research. I started by creating a couple of mood boards.

I then visited a few exhibitions – The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition @ The Barbican Arts Centre, Pradasphere @ Harrods and The Italian Fashion Exhibition @ The V&A – All of which you must visit if you get the chance – THEY ARE FAB! Once I had established my sources of inspiration, I began my initial idea and design development. I explored different colour schemes, textiles, silhouettes and details.

IMG_0077Next I explored different colour schemes, textiles, silhouettes and details.

I was particularly inspired by the traditional Burmese garment, the Longyi – a long piece of fabric knotted at the front to hold it in place, like a sarong. This garment is worn by both men and women throughout Burma and despite its simplicity, creates a stunning shape.

Below are some of my designs and illustrations:

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After time spent developing my ideas and designs, I decided to create three looks, one of which could be worn by both a man and a woman – this was inspired by my research into traditional Burmese fashion. Below is my illustrated final line up and final design boards which show the look photographed from front and back, as well as an illustration and technical drawings front and back.

line up burma project 2

Once I had settled on my final look, I decided to style a final photo shoot with my garments to conclude the project. I used a male and female model – Lara Robinson and Ollie Ancliff – to reflect the androgynous/unisex aspect of my project. I styled both models with bold and gold jewelry and metallic make up on Lara. I used a simple white backdrop to give the garments and models full focus in the photographs. Below is a styling mood board I created before my photo shoot to demonstrate the look I was going for.

Burma Photoshoot Moodboard

Here are my final photographs from the shoot:

Lastly, I concluded my project with a branding concept using my final photographs. I edited them by changing the levels of the images into psychedelic colours and stamped over the image my brand logo ‘THE BURMA PROJECT’. I believe these images could be used globally as striking advertising campaigns whether posters or in magazines.

Having been very passionate about this project theme I was delighted with the final outcome. With more time I would have liked to have spent more time developing and refining my designs and creations, but given the time allocated I believe I achieved my goals in terms of both quality and quantity.

So here I say goodbye to The Burma Project, it has been a learning curve and so much fun… and who knows… it may be a project I return to in the future!

Tallinn Project

November 2013 – January 2014

Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, has previously been accredited with the title of Europes Capital of Culture, as well as its ranking as one of the top 10 of digital cities in the world. After a recent study trip to Tallinn I was inspired to embark on a new project inspired by the culture and creativity I had experience during my time there.

Tallinn Inspiration MoodboardMy first step was to compile an A1 mood board of my photographs and sketchbook pages from my trip. I was so inspired by the architecture and culture of the city that it gave me some fashion design ideas which I went onto develop further.

When I got home I played around with my photographs on photoshop. I decided that my photographs were so exciting and would make fantastic material for garments which gave me the idea of printing my photos onto fabric to then make a garment from that fabric.

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I’ve been interesting in digital print for a while now, especially after seeing collections by Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto and Holly Fulton over the last few years. I decided I would go ahead and design some of my own digital prints using my photos from Tallinn.

2) final design board digi design

I was pleased with the outcome of these designs and am planning on ordering some digitally printed fabric of my photographs so that I can create a final design.I was really inspired by linear grids and lines whilst I was in Tallinn and managed to capture a series of photographs surrounding this theme.

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Following my photo series focused on the theme of ‘grids’ I decided to design a garment inspired by Tallinn and this theme. After designing on paper for a while and spending time thinking over materials and silhouettes, I created a cropped top made of a tin foil material. I then cut into the top with a grid like triangular pattern around the neckline and finished off with details of fabric around the bottom hem. I  layered the top over a grey shift dress I made from a light jersey fabric in grey. After creating this garment I was interesting to push the boundaries of the tin foil material (basically tin foil stuck onto magazine covers for strength). I created a corrugated foil skirt made from folding endless amounts of this material. By layering two sections of this folded material i created an asymmetric A-line skirt that I teamed with a metallic green silk top I made and finished off with a silver ribbon belt.

geometric metallic

I was so delighted with my garments and pleased they so neatly reflected my interest in grids. I decided to under go a photo shoot with my garments.

Due to the metallic essence of my creations I themed the photo shoots around the idea of futuristic metallics and this mood board below shows my inspiration for the shoot.

line up (tallinn) (800)

I was over joyed by by final photos from this project. I took these photographs of my final designs with help from my beautiful model and friends Aimee Desmond and her silver lips. The locations of the shoot were scattered around the Oxford city centre focusing on scenes containing grids and lines. I felt the grey urban vibe of the backgrounds linked closely to the atmosphere of Tallinn during my visit.