The mockup below shows my ideas for a digital interface that will support my physical final piece. I hope these renderings reflect the importance of play and interactivity, central to my idea.
My hope for my final piece is that, it will become an artefact of our time, reflecting and overcoming the challenges presented by COVID-19 and most importantly creating a fashion experience that is inclusive and available across the world. One of my next steps in FMP will be to analyse my customer profile of who would be most interested in this as a concept in order to tailor my design to the people who would engage with it.
Fig 1. mockup interface, my own, Nov 2020.
Over the course of this module my research and specialist skills have developed considerably. I have come a long way in testing the validity of my ideas through experiments and mockups, than I have managed to do in previous years. I aim to continue to develop this aspect of my work in FMP by prototyping extensively. I am also eager to practice and improve upon my technical skills in graphic design to ensure my outcome is abstractly reflective of my research through sophisticated brand identity.
I was advised in my tutorials to get in touch with Emma as she has a lot of specialist knowledge and experience in the areas I have been exploring. Having worked with subscription boxes before she enlightened me on how they work, that each box has a theme, often seasonal, and that the call out process is similar to that of a magazine. I was reminded that however I choose to move forward with my project that the components of my final outcome must be part of a narrative, perhaps held together by a prompt word or theme. We spoke about the importance of sustainability and community building in new enterprises such as my subscription box idea. I am aware that my promotion would take place solely online and the benefit of having a physical outcome would be having followers taking photos and generating content for me, further enforcing the sense of a community. Emma reminded me that modern customers like to feel a part of the process and to always reach out and ask for their opinions. Embarking on my FMP I will be sure to start social media pages early on to build up this engagement and conduct market research, which could help me build audience profiles.
We discussed the importance of play in my concepts and this drilled home to me how how this element of fun and adventure is a constant motif in my work and how much I value the idea that my final outcome will be tactile and experiential.
Emma drew my attention to Merchant and Mills, a company pioneering making sewing stylish and current again. Their slogan, ‘clothes not fashion’ is very poignant as it targets an audience who reject the fashion industry and the exploitation and waste that comes along with it. Whilst also capturing the attention of people want to wear clothes that will withstand the test of time, without the pressure of trends. They put a lot of effort into making their pattern packages feel luxurious and expensive further leading me to think I could learn alot from this brand.
Fig 1. merchant and mills website, Nov 2020.
Another way this brand aligns with my interests is in their deconstruction of the product and emphasis on the process. The image above shows the things available to buy on their website, a series of objects that when put together will create and experience with a rewarding final outcome.
In our small group tutorial today, I had the opportunity to share my test shoot from last week with more people and receive further constructive criticism. We spoke about how the pink silky background fabric was an effective choice as it echoes the flow of her skin and with the soft focus each becomes indistinguishable from the other. If I were to repeat the shoot I would make sure to accentuate this concept further.
I was also able to share my subscription pack idea and the working design with my mock-up boxes. I was keen to hear everyone’s feedback on this and recieve ideas for references as packaging design is something I would like to further develop as a specialist skill. Chris recommended looking into the concept of Pandora’s box in order to think about my design ideas for this project in a more abstract way. I began thinking how this mythological artifact could make me see the box of my ideas as a vessel for the unexpected. Maybe it is the case that this box contains nothing but completely blank white 3D objects inside and its the case that a phone app would unlock the full experience. There are lots of ways this path could take me and I will explore them further in my sketchbook.
Fig 1. mockup box, my own, Nov 2020.
In my latest tutorial I had the opportunity to pick apart my test shoot with Eloise. The shoot depicts a nude model through a soft focus keyhole shape that shifts in and out of ambiguity. I was pleased that my feedback showed the themes of voyeurism and erotica were immediately recognised. As I had thought previously, Eloise agreed that the styling element and prop of the corset and flowers added nothing to the strength of the images and urged me to concentrate on the concept of voyeurism and the questions that the shoot instigates such as ‘does she know someone is watching?’, ‘if so who?’ and ‘how does this affect her behaviour?’.
Fig 1. contact sheet, my own, Nov 2020.
Fig 2. photograph, my own, Nov 2020.
Fig 3. photograph, my own, Nov 2020.
As a very helpful pause for reflection I spoke to Mark about my project this afternoon. We spoke about the direction which I could take my project focusing on my core concept of marrying the physical experience with the digital. We discussed ways in which AR could be used to encourage people outside of their houses to explore certain spaces and how Pokemon GO is a good example of this. Off the back of this conversation I am motivated to go forward and research this idea further so that I will be able to mock up and prototype visions I have for this platform.
I expressed the importance of my digital platform being supported by a tangible and tactile experience (possibly in the experience of a posted package) and so Mark also encouraged me to look at the definition of Magazine as we believed it to be originally a collection of objects. I found that originally a ‘storehouse’ progressing to specifically refer to that of an ammunition store, the word has evolved to mean, “periodical journal containing miscellaneous writings”, which intrigues me as a definition because I feel it strips back what we commonly perceived of a magazine and deconstructs it to its bare bones. I like the idea of my final piece involving this sort of sentiment, miscellaneous objects and writings (and digital platform?) connected through a vague narrative.
As art of our informal presentations today I shared my sketchbook with Chris and my group via teams. It was beneficial to the progression of my research as this is the first time I have shared my sketchbook. I was able to talk through the experimentation that I had taken out in my self isolation. I documented this visually in my sketchbook by creating a gif from a screen recording showing the process of using the QR code I produced.
Fig 1. Gif, my own, oct 2020.
Being in self-isolation I used a large screen to display a QR code to my neighbors/housemates who documented whether or not it worked scanning at distance and through the window. I used this opportunity to investigate how I could interact with an audience despite being isolated in some way that required a physical circumstance and was not solely online.
I was encouraged to think about how I might take it a step further to curate my own exhibition and how I would utilise social media in the most creative way possible to enhance the audience experience. Going forward I am going to investigate online platforms that I am not familiar with in order to see whether they could be used as a tool to enhance the experience of an exhibition that is both physical and digital in equal measure.
Following my first tutorial of the new term with Jules I feel more confident to make a leap forward with the project. I was reminded of research tools and processes available to me that I had forgotten over my placement year and it has made me more confident that I can break this project into manageable tasks and hopefully gather momentum going forward.
I had the opportunity to describe the unusual exhibition I had visited in Guernsey whereby the curators had faced an unusual challenging building an exhibition which felt complete with only one physical painting by the artist (Renoir). The original piece was one done during Renoir’s time in Guernsey and the exhibition successfully created a narrative on Renoir’s life, his visit to Guernsey and how his art was affected by his stay on the island.
Fig 1. Renoir, Rochers de Guernsey avec personnages. Photo, my own. Sept 2020.
The ways in which they used sound, large projectors and moving image created an intense experiential journey for the audience upon entering the exhibition space. After being surrounded by lights and colour moving through to the part of the exhibition where the painting was hung felt somewhat less tantalizing than the entrance space. Nevertheless the way the curators had experimented with different exhibiting tools to made this exhibition exciting to me.
Subsequently in the tutorial we spoke about some exhibitions that are currently open and briefly discussed how the experience of the exhibition has shifted as part of the restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It has motivated me to explore the tools of AI and VR and how they could be repurposed in a fashion communication context to enhance the ways in which we interact with exhibitions.
Upon completion of placement year I feel motivated and enthusiastic to commence Level 6 and my final project of university. My apprehensions are that I am now out of practise where my research methods are concerned. I also worry that the ways in which I present and discuss work in a sketchbook format will not come so naturally to me as during my year in industry I was not required to backup my outcomes with research or evidence my experimentations.
However I feel confident that the skills I have learnt in my placement (as a Creative Assistant for an underwear brand, Fruity Booty) will improve my final year work as I know my design skills have matured. I am also inspired with a new ethos that commercial projects can entail equal amounts creativity and freedom as in my personal work and I hope that this will present itself in my FMP.
Fig 1. Gif, my own, for Fruity Booty. May 2020.
Fig 2. Layout for email, my own, for Fruity Booty. May 2020.
Fig 3. stickers for instagram, my own, for Fruity Booty. June 2020.