This afternoon I stuck with my plan and played around with my flat illustration to digitally manipulate the original structure. The first design I came up with was simply to use illustrator to remove the pocket and stitching, while the second outcome was completely accidental. As I was photocopying the drawing, I removed the original copy too quickly which caused a broken up version to be formed. While I didn’t intend on producing this outcome I really liked the chaotic effect it created and really think that it represents the inner wrongdoings of dictatorships.
While browsing Pinterest today, I discovered a collection which supports my exact vision and after further research I was able to identify this as the SS15 collection by Henrik Silvius. The collection features mostly white pieces – shirts and such deconstructed for a more contemporary outcome. The combined use of white and clear PVC makes for a modern twist to the classic shirt style while the abstract shaping and use of draping and design techniques create an edgy feel.
Although nothing more productive than a mood board was put together today, I am feeling really inspired and ready to begin with my own design ideas.
Today I was planning on starting with my design ideas however I decided against it after having a thought for an independent workshop. I took inspiration from the making of doilies and used some of my facial expressions photography to physically after and cut away bits of the image. I folded the first one twice to form an abstract reinvention of the models face. I also layered a photo of prostitutes getting paid in heroin shots to be tattooed underneath the second picture which I’d cut in doily style. The idea behind this was again, to expose the underlying oppression and desperation that occurs within the unfair ruling of a party.
Even though it’s the end of the week, today I felt ready and fully prepared to start producing initial ideas for garment upcycling. As previously mentioned I decided to focus on shirts due to their formal structure which in my opinion leaves wide scope for adaptation. My first designs were bought to life using a technique I learned personally from a local artist in my hometown of Lymington. Steven Lee produces beautiful illustrations using only acrylic paint and a palette knife. The idea is to not take too much precision with the strokes but rather to ‘slap it on’ and scrape the paint into the desired shape using the knife. Using a smooth back and forth motion usually forms the most desirable outcome therefore this is exactly what I did. Additionally I added components to bring together a more mixed media collage for a clearer depiction of my aim. The next illustration was similar to styles which I’ve stuck with before – combining watercolour with biro. I don’t like this design so much however as just an initial though I am happy to include it within my sketchbook even if just for the aesthetic. Further to this was another adaptation of my technical drawing. I printed the image then literally used scissors to crop the shirt and then finish by layering a chunky black zip over the buttons. Lastly I reverted back to the fine liner/watercolour technique that I’m so accustomed to and produced a further 2 illustrations of what is essentially the same image. Noticeably within the designs I’ve paired the shirts with black cycling shorts – a style which is not only trending currently, but is one that I will most likely include in my final photographs.
After college today I went into some charity shops and purchased 2 plain white men’s (collared, button down) shirts both with at least 1 pocket. I chose men’s over women’s due to the oversized nature of the fit – something that I discovered I wanted when trialling fabric manipulation last week. Next week I shall start firming up my ideas based on what I have been able to buy over the weekend.
Today I bought a 3rd shirt however this one was patterned with thin purple stripes. It also came from a charity shop which I am pleased about because it reduces environmental damage and production costs. Ethical fashion is something I feel very strongly about therefore I am wanting to follow in the footsteps of designers like Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood to minimise fast fashion and minimise environmental impacts by reusing garments rather than wasting fresh new ones.
Today I’m feeling slightly panicked after realising that I begin my internship with a small London fashion house tomorrow and still have a fair amount of work to do. For this reason I started making today and got slightly carried away meaning that I actually produced 1 of 3 shirts without any photographic record, or initial ideas. I would usually have taken lots of photos to make describing production processes easier however this wasn’t the case for this outcomes. I jumped in at the deep end and produced my first shirt from only spontaneous decisions and inspiration from my sketchbook. Surprisingly the outcome resulted in the exact product I had envisioned and I’d additionally been able to select all the appropriate processes without toiling first. I began with the white and purple striped shirt (regular fit with no pockets or additional components besides the typical buttons and labelling). First I removed the main back piece by unpicking the seams using a standard unpicker. I found this uncomplicated and a very fast process, although on some of the seams, I accidentally unpicked too far – which meant my next step was to restitch the seams I’d unintentionally taken apart. After fixing my error I concluded that I needed to be more careful when deconstructing and so pinned the (now separated) back pattern piece onto some clear PVC, very carefully. I proceeded with caution when cutting the piece to ensure that the plastic didn’t tear or move from its correct placement and then pinned onto the left side seam. I decided on stitching the side seams first because I thought it’d make it easier to align the sleeves however even though this method worked, it proved difficult to slot the top side nearly between the layers of the ‘shoulder piece’. Consequently I was forced to stitch it to the inside of the shoulder panel which annoyingly means the garment doesn’t look as professional as it could have (on removal or up close) however for the purpose of a photo shoot, it will be perfectly suitable. Next I decided that I wanted to alter the sleeve length and so went right ahead and cut the cuff of of the left sleeve. I was left with a sturdy piece of fabric of a good size and decided it would make a suitable pocket. There was no extensive process to this – I literally straight pinned, straight stitched 0.5cm from the edge and then zigzagged the edges for additional security. The sewing was not particularly neat however I felt this kind of fitted in with the asymmetrical style and raw, unhemmed edges. Overall I’m really positively surprised at how effective the shirt actually looked. I was expecting to have to practise at least once first before achieving the desired look however it turned out so perfect to my theme and ideas.
For me, the clear PVC back is the most important aspect of this shirt. When I am styling this piece I will use body paint on the model to spell out words like devastation and oppression – to represent exposure to the traumatising impacts that often dictatorships and tyrannical leaders bring to both the society involved, and surrounding areas geographically.