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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Academy of Art University (Summer 2015): Fashion Design

The last post in the series about the classes I took at the Academy of Art University last summer. You can also read about the Fashion Construction and Fashion Drawing classes I took. 

As with all good design projects, we started with a lot of research. I made word maps and tried to sort out what was most inspiring to me, searched tags on Tumblr for images, dug through the image files at AAU's library, and went on a (legit) archaeological dig through my fabric stash. 

After about a week of tossing ideas around, I settled on the dream that had brought me to the classes in the first place. I wanted to make things, learn how to make things better, and make things for other people. I decided to design a collection that represented artists and makers, that was an artist's uniform. 

I brought all my visual research together and made several pages of collage in my sketchbook. (Side note, the plate in the top left corner is from the Heath Ceramics and Alabama Chanin collaboration! My favs!)

After laying down the initial images, I went in with markers, pens, ink, watercolor pencils, and tape to add my own illustrations to the page and highlight certain areas. I also used tracing paper to gather interesting shapes I found in the pictures of artists and makers. 

In many cases, I used my own handprint as part of the art. I wanted a piece of my own maker-ship, of my own hands to be part of the collection. I believe there is something incredibly beautiful and compelling about the handmade and I wanted that to come across in the clothing I designed. 

After creating the collages, I extracted certain colors from the images. 

I noticed that in the two main threads of my visual research, painters and welders, there were different color schemes, and I wanted them to be represented. The color swatches represent a lot of work that is not pictured here: many trials with different mediums, trying to get just the right hue. 

You can see some of the colors I didn't use on the page on the left. 

Then our class moved into sketching and making rough silhouettes. We made about 16, which would eventually be whittled down to between 4 and 6. 

The roughs were drawn using croquis - which I was morally against. The croquis available had illogical proportions and I did not want to use them for my designs. I took the most reasonable looking croquis and filled her out in some places, most notably the thighs and upper arms. It didn't make a hugely noticeable difference, but it was enough that I felt just a little bit more comfortable using them. I still wish I had realistically proportioned sketches, though. 

I also began coloring in my roughs using my basic, preliminary palette. The colors changed from what you see pictured here. 

All the above sketches were rejects, and below are the silhouettes I decided upon. You'll notice they're covered in notes and folded papers, as I combined some outfits together and edited along the way. 

I chose 5 outfits, because I felt I could achieve a good balance in that. 

On the above page on the right, you can see another one of my drafts, where I started moving around colors and design details and testing color swatches until the outfits started feeling like they clicked together when you looked at them. 

And this is my final collection! I chose minimalist makeup and versatile shoes. 

For the final presentation, I also created a color story board with fabric swatches and the buttons that would be used on the coats...

As well as a mood board, which pulled images from the collage and inspiration pages of my sketchbook. 

I had some extra time at the end of the class, so I got a tutorial from my teacher on how to draw flats: 

This was definitely one of my favorite parts. I'm especially fascinated by the technical aspects of fashion design, and drawing the flats allowed me to detail out exactly what I would have wanted the final product to look like. 

Of course, when I had finished designing the collection, I had big dreams that I would mock-up and maybe create some of what I had designed. I never ended up doing that, but I still love several of the pieces and their design details are still on my mental list of Things to Sew (One Day). 

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer! This week, I've also been blogging at hiveonline.org, offering a youth perspective on the 2016 International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa. There's not as much sewing mojo as there is here, but you can also hit me up on Twitter @TWKisseamstress or read the articles at hiveonline.org, where we're talking smack about the patriarchy, advocating for women and girls, and empowering youth for sexual and reproductive health and rights! That's also some good mojo. 
-Taft WK

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