Monday, 31 December 2012

Developing products for 'Make and Mend'

As part of an upcoming even in Newcastle which is the 'Make and Mend Market', I have began making my first product! It is still based on the sketchbook I have started but I have kept the initial structure of the shirt which I am upcycling rather than starting from scratch as it will save time...the market is on 13th of January so I don't have much time to lose!

The idea is that the shirt will be upcycled into an interchangeable accessory, where it can be worn over most garments as a transformative piece rather than as a highlight like most accessories. In doing so, the product will be relatively cheaper than a garment which is similar, but will also be able to get far more wear out of it, as the wearer can choose the type of neckline depending on the top or dress they wear; they could wear a basic scoop neck to create cut-out detailling or something with a higher neck to make the accessory appear to be completely attached to the garment.

The top still needs to be shaped and hemmed, and also needs an orange fabric insert on the right hand panel at the front. This gives a subtle tint of colour beneath the sheer cream shirt, though unfortunately is not visible on the image above. The collar tips are left over perspex from a past project which I kept, and I think that the feather-like shape of them and the colour works well with my theme. The coral bead detail on the front panel rather than the collar or shoulder panels is a refreshing alternative to what is currently all over the high-street, and I think works well with the alignment of the collar tips. Hopefully I will manage to complete this accessory in the next few days, and I will begin making some collars and peplum belts very shortly!

Friday, 14 December 2012

S/S 13 - beginning of project

Here are the start of my drawing pages with ideas for products based on the idea of nature, and looking at bird motifs and fresh colours and textures for inspiration. The collage below was inspired by a recent piece by 'Balenciaga' for their S/S13 collection, and I have used a photograph of a duck I had taken to emulate the feather shapes using tissue paper, pearl paper and glitter card for a variety of weights. I think the contrast of organic shapes with eyecatching papers works well, and could easily be directly translated into fabric using applique and stitch and slash techniques. The bird cut-out could be translated through laser-cutting and possible also reverse applique with sheer fabrics, which would work well with the delicate lines.

Here I have redrawn a bird taken from a photograph found on I think the blockiness has worked well with the TRIA pens particularly with the natural colours used, as it has quite a retro appearance. This could be emphasised further by handpainting the motif onto fabric for an antique crafted feel. I have also used a black marker onto tracing paper to copy a drawing of a necklace from a past project, as it is a strong and decorative motif with a lot of potential samples. Details of the drawing would be enhanced either through lasercutting fabric for feminine lace-like detail, or a heavy mix of crystal embellishment and embroidery onto a black foiled motif, I believe, would be very effective. The fine pencil drawing of a swan would work best in its original form, as it is feminine,delicate, and has a really pure quality with the ivory background. The drawing could be mirrored horizontally to create an internal heart-like shape, which could be placed as an unusual neckline or armhole, or simply as cut-out detail on an accessory.

These pages show closer details and textures, looking at the fanned feathers translated through paper folding, detail of the blocks of colour on the birds head and looking at an interesting way of showing the texture of the sea. To achieve this texture I firstly scrunched up some paper and using very diluted turquoise acrylic, brushed over the peaks. I also redone this using gold drawing ink. I then rescrunched the paper and used gold spray paint over parts, and when this was completely dry, I rescrunched the paper again and foiled the peaks using pritt stick. Hopefully this shows the depth and ripples characteristic of the sea with enhanced texture and vibrancy.

To mirror the birds wings in flight, I decided to layer pearl paper and tracing paper for a graphic and feminine twist, then folding them together in a consertina style and trimming the edges appropriately. I think that the softness of the tracing paper and the round edges balance out the sharp folds, preventing the collage from looking to graphic or futuristic. This would translate well extended into a collar detail, or even as assymetric cuffs. The detail of the birds head I have made quite abstract using TRIA pens, and only picking up the shapes rather than the detail. This makes the motif easier to work with, as it could be used as part of a pattern or as a start for appliqued detailing; it could also be enhanced with the use of Photoshop by repeating, rotating and mirror imaging.

Saturday, 7 July 2012


Having kept track on the shows for S/S13, it has become clear to me that interest in underwater and seaside delights are still inspiring designers around the world, for both women's and men's clothing. Seeing the end products I can see why the source of inspiration is still running strong, from the lush natural architecture of fins and gills, to dazzling textured embellishments reminiscent of underwater clusters, blue, green and grey tones with flashes of signpost yellow and orange, and even a slightly eccentric adaptation with screen-printed lobster and whale sillhouettes make it one of the most versatile, desirable trends this time next year!










My favourites have to be the psychedelic appearance of the Thom Browne and Meadham Kirchhoff collections and the gorgeous embellishment by Matthew Williamson. I feel that these merged together could produce a visually stimulating and unique collection. I am debating using these as a starting point for my next project which will be part of my degree next year, where I will be producing a range of women's and men's accessories. I think the bold Mediterranian fishermen pallet will work well with bold lightweight checks with ropey textures and heavy, multicoloured worn clusters of embellishment, particularly on accessories such as cuffs.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


Here are some quick pictures I took at my show. Took me ages to put up (I was still attatching tags as the show started at 6) but I got there in the end after lots of panic! Luckily the show was a success and everybody had a great night :)

Friday, 8 June 2012


These are the photos I also took of my bib collar. Unfortanately as I took them myself (and I'm not the best person with a camera!), some of the images I wanted to use such as the top image are inappropriate as the detail on the bib collar is blurred. This has made me realise more than anything the importance of pre-planning as well as time management, as if I had earlier arrangements I could have got a photography student to use some spotlights to make the Swarovski elements dazzle and get the focus right to have stronger images for my show. However, I am still happy with the way the photos have came out apart from the focus issue, and I think it looks great as a statement piece, and would also look nice over a halter top as heavy detail :) also with this final piece I have done very well with my aim of using recycled fabric, as only the digital print of grey denim on the patchwork is the only fabric which is not from unwanted clothes or spare fabric scraps!


Here are some photographs of my mens bib accessory being modelled. Unfortunately due to timing, I couldn't get proffesional help for these photographs so I took and edited them myself using Photoshop, but I still think the photographs are ok, just not as professional as I would have liked. As this is the first time I have challenged myself with menswear, At first I felt slightly apprehensive about creating a heavily detailled necklace in fear of not being able to make the transition and it ending up too feminine with all of the embellishment. Seeing it modelled and photographed has been great as it shows how the accessory looks on a man, and it is clearly a menswear accessory, and I think this has been achieved by using appropriate thick rugged leather and metallic embellishment rather than glass beads or crystals.


Here are some recent photographs I took of the collar and cuffs of my final collection. The accessories were modelled and the photos edited by second year photography student Rebecca Young. I am very happy with the way they have turned out and I think they show off my accessories well; I particularly like that you can see the movement of the extensions on the cuffs as they are very playful and dramatic, and I love the versatility of them. I also think that the Swarovski crystals stand out well from the dark top modelled, showing their subtle, glittering detail.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


For my degree show, I needed to produce a moodboard which summed up my inspiration for this project, using a range of visuals from different sources. This board shows everything from my initial inspiration which was to combine decorative elements and motifs associated with Ancient Egypt and the youthful grittiness of the 90's Grunge movement. It shows where I found inspiration for my techniques and processes and also for the final products. Unfortunately despite the board being A1 sized, I still couldn't fit everything I wanted onto it, but I am hoping my sketchbook will make up for that! I plan to have this hung in the centre of my space above a mannequin which will showcase a final product, with the rest hung at either side.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


Here were a few ideas I had for labelling my collection. After brainstorming a few names based mainly around Cleopatra and Kurt Cobain (with some of which sounding slightly strange when considering songs 'walk like and Egyptian' and 'Smells like teen spirit' with their opposites...I'm sure you can imagine!), I decided that the simpler the better, and 'Cleo and Kurt' sounded catchy and fashionable, so I decided to stick with it.

These are some of the rough sketches I have drew trying to figure out what sort of text and motif to go for, some better than others. After feeling tied between the bold eyelash/wing image with naive writing and the slightly more sophistcated loopy scarab beetle motif, I have decided to go with the bolder more youthful tag, as I feel it sits better with the style of my project, as it is young, bold and contemporary yet still with a sophisticated, up-market feel.

I neatened up the original sketch using Photoshop, and used 'Tempus Sans ICT' to replace my original writing for a more professional finish. I plan to print these onto acetate and have them hanging loosely over a recangle of gold glitter card of the same size, so you get the same multitextured effect which runs through my collection. I have chosen a subtle grey background, as it will subdue the glitter and keep it from looking too sugary, and I love the effect of transclucent effects of acetate, particularly when layered. I will also add a gemstone in the top-center of the motif, as I think it will be a nice finishing touch with the varied textures. I will look at a different background for the tag for the mens bib necklace I have produced, as glitter card would look far too feminine. For using the logo for labels, I will probably use heat-transfer paper and transfer them onto my silk 'denim' print, as I feel this would work well and match the tags.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


So here are my final pieces! Two down and one getting there :) I am so pleased with the outcomes of my cuffs and collar, my only regret with them is that I wish the hair had dyed better and looked thicker but everything else has more or less gone to plan! I made the mistake of creating the cuffs in a straight rectangular shape rather than an actual wrist shape, so you can only really wear them comfortably just past your wrists as you would a jumper, but I actually prefer it this way as the slouchy effect works really well with my theme and even looks slightly tribal with the human hair. As I ran out of coral embroidery thread, which I was using as running stitch to outline the scarab motif, I had time to consider whether it looked better with or without, as I could directly compare them. I felt as though the outline actually cheapened the look as the other cuff looked much more sophisticated, so I chose to unpick all of the thread I had stitched which I think was the right decision. I think that the foiled and transferred hieroglyphics on the back of the cuffs compliments the main detail well, as it is more paired down but still has elements of gold foil and bold detail. I decided to dramatically reduce the scale of my scarab print for the silk lining of the cuffs, as I felt it would look more effective and appropriate, as the larger scale was just not working for accessories; perhaps it would have been better for fashion garments? I wanted the print to be subtle in comparison to the exterior of the cuff, and I carefully chose gold press studs as fastenings which work perfectly with the metallics in the cuff.

I also completed my collar, which has turned out perfectly apart from the tight fitting due to the short length of the top chain. For selling, I will overcome this problem by taking out the stitches of this chain and adding small gold jewellery claps to make the chain detatchable, making it easy to get on and off. I carefully designed the shape of the collar so it still had a pointed edge but was a shape that both reflected the typical rounded collars of the Egyptians whilst preventing it looking too 'costume', and also so that the chains would fall properly and not gather too much at the top as would happen with a regular shaped collar. The fabric stands out as much as I hoped, and I think that the Swarovski crystals add something extra to an otherwise quite regular chain pattern. I think that as a final piece, it also sits well with my cuffs as part of a collection, so it has been a success!

The mens bib I've still not completed, as I still need to attach the top pieces and chunky clasp, and I also need to finish embellishing and manipulating the hexagons. Unfortunately, the leather hasn't slightly melted like my sample as I purposefully cut into it more shallow, so  I could select which hexagons to pop out and how far to cut around them. This has resulted in a flat appearance when i cut into the shapes, but luckily after carefully testing with a lighter, I found that burnishing the edges makes them contract and curl slightly, giving the desired texture so I will work a lighter over the leather once it is cut before embellishing pieces. I will also be adding heavier embellishment as seen in my larger leather smaples, where I have embellished heat-transferred turquoise denim with gold beads for more depth and variation in the final piece. I will finish the leather bib tomorrow ready for my hand-in on Monday and the other bib collar and the body harness I will complete for my show on 11th June!