Wednesday, 25 April 2012


I have recently been introduced to the innovative designer which is Katie Eary. Her first collection in SS10 was a menswear collection based on the internal structure of the human body, and shows a very high fashion approach to menswear by including tights and body jewellery, the body jewellery approach having just filtered to the highstreet and now sold in Topman.

She now designs for both men and women, and her latest collection which is very grungy/gothic Victorian you can see on her website I chose to look at her debut collection as I think it is very relevant to what I am designing in terms of striking accessories for the body, and the possibility of menswear is one I hadn't previously considered. Looking at this collection I can see that even bold and decorative accessories can be altered to suit menswear on an avant-garde level by thickening the chains and using thicker embellishment pieces. I find the unusual use of dipdyed human hair, chunky chains and ropes and also the placement of the body jewellery and the way they are layered very inspiring, and I will strongly consider seeking out some thicker materials for producing menswear accessories as well as women.

I also love the hand jewellery that runs through this collection, and makes me want to laser cut some of my motifs into flat panels to string together and hang over the body almost like mosaic!

Thursday, 19 April 2012


Here are some more samples I have scanned in! I have spent the past two days laboriously stitching and beading into my samples, trying to use a combination of techniques and placement to keep them interesting.

For some reason, my simple scarab motif is really fun to embroid and embellish, possibly because it is a block shape which gives more opportunity to play around with different textures, creating marks using stitch. I simply started stitching with a chosen thread on a part of the image, then used it as a starting point to make the colour-balance and weight more or less symmetrical. Whichever of these samples I decide to take forward as part of a final piece will be a focus point, as they took on average including printing about 3 hours each.

The embellishment on the last sample image was strongly inspired by the Alexander McQueen shoes shown above, as they are totally and utterly gorgeous! I think the detail looks so eye-catching and treasure-like, and I wanted to try and capture some of the quality into my own work, although maybe I will challenge myself and try and embellish the whole thing...I will have to wait and see!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


Here are some eventual samples I have done featuring Egyptian motifs. For most of them, I have used foils being the magpie that I am, and one also has a lino motif melted into the fabric. I am actually very pleased with the outcome of these and particularly love the scarab sample I have embroided into, from the colours to the textures, I'm just not sure what I want to do with it yet!

The foil I used was actually loose sheet foil which you buy pieces of in boxes, and I chose the multi-coloured one for the gorgeous steel and coral tones mixed with the gold, which I felt went very well with my project. I think the rough texture of the foil along with the built up embroidery reflects the Luke Brooke collection as one of my inspirations.

I think I will definitely embroid and embellish the lino sample, as I feel it could turn out quite well, and I also plan to cut out the foiled leather sample with bird motifs, which I think works well on its own due to the unusual combination. I like the use of black leather in this project as it enhances the mix of textures and adds some needed structure and toughness.

Sunday, 15 April 2012


Here is the first page of my prints with inspiration running alongside them. The scarab prints on the left directly combine the bold Egyptian motifs with the grunge-inspired texture. After experimenting with different blending modes, I found that a simple opacity change on the marble layer was most effective; giving the block-coloured shapes some much needed texture to keep them from looking too flat or basic. The half-drop symbol repeat was partly inspired by the clash of black and turquoise on the leopard-print Urban Outfitters vest, as it is vibrant and eye-catching as well as being quite dark and mysterious. I created both prints by using the ‘define pattern’ option on Photoshop, which saves time and ensures a more professional looking outcome. The texture on the symbol print was taken from some fabric I had marbled, which I then scanned in and ‘colourised’ on Photoshop using the colour adjustment options, which was much better suited for a dramatic effect than the previous pink. The prints on the right I created by layering my bleached fan print (on the next page) over the scarab beetle print, and experimenting to achieve bold, richly detailed prints inspired by the chiaroscuro effect of the Bottega Venetta designs. Although I love the effects of these, I think they clash too much with my colour pallet, particularly the top image, and there is not a strong enough motif in the prints for my liking.

This page looks at sophisticated double mirror image prints as seen at ‘Miu Miu’ and ‘Byblos’. I have cropped some of my larger drawings, my contrasting watercolour, my bleached fan painting and the emulsion transfer of the denim on a ‘Topshop’ advert. I have used the same technique with all of these by rotating and cropping to the interesting parts, then using the horizontal and vertical flip tools, creating a pattern then block repeating to create perfectly symmetrical pattern. I think that the prints on the left look possibly too sophisticated for the look I was going for as they are not young or edgy enough, but I think the small scale crop on the denim transfer has worked well and is an interesting print; this would work well as a standalone print or also as a textured background. I also created an interesting motif using my Horus drawing and taking advantage of the long curved wings and the general scooped shape of the drawing. I used the horizontal and vertical flip and rotation tools to create a tight, seamless motif with a bold, feathery appearance which I feel worked particularly well. I think this alone could make an effective detail, for example a bib or elbow/shoulder detail by just printing and embellishing it as the shape is so strong. I also scaled down the motif and created a textured, linear pattern by also repeating using the vertical flip tool, and I think the outcome is very strong with the form of the print having various weights of detail and width, creating a visually exciting print.

Here is my final drawing page as well as my first illustration page; the idea of the cuffs is one I came up with quite quickly once I had a few embellished samples! I think this page of prints has quite a fresh and youthful feel, as it was heavily inspired by the cult-like imagery currently in Topshop and Urban Outfitters, with the repeat symbols (as seen on the 'Topshop Unique' dress) and sharp imagery. I chose to look at the 'Gareth Pugh' for Topshop t-shirt as the triangular shapes are exactly the style of shape I want to emulate. Obviously mine is slightly different as it has more detail and isn't as layered and kaleidoscopic, but I have repeated and rotated the triangles back to back to give an edgy jagged effect. I layered this with my watercolour mark-making, and used blending modes to achieve the luminous effect, with the vivid pink offsetting the roughness perfectly and providing a good balance, similar to the contrast of the 'Iceberg' trousers shown.
The image on the right is the first accessories plan I have done, after being inspired early by the embellished samples I had created, edgy cuffs which I have seen on the high street and also the dipdyed hair at Katie Eary. Strangely but typically, my most basic and simplest of motifs which was the first thing I drew has been my most successful, I think as there is more scope to develop it as it is so simplified. I have scanned in the sample where I have decided the embellishment for my cuffs, but also a sample of screen print with multi-coloured gold foil, which I plan to use rather than expandex and glitter as I feel it looks far more professional! I really have my heart set on the idea of attatching the hair I dyed to the edges of the cuffs, as they will have a lot of movement and will be a strong statement, as they will not lie flat over the fabric all of of the time. I am also considering placing flat Swarovski crystals at the roots, but I will see what the cuffs look like first :)

Friday, 13 April 2012


Here are some digital designs I have recently produced!! I have already had them printed onto cotton, which really brings out the vivid hues, particularly on the pink one which I love, but I am also tempted to print onto silk satin for extra luxe...

I think that I will use metallic gold embroidery and/or embellishment onto these to make the really stand out, and I'm also really tempted to cut out the spikes and 'Horus' patterns and use them as part of constructive pieces! I also really like the idea of using the 'Ankh' half-drop print as a mini apron skirt or baggy shorts, complete with metallic embroidery and a contrasting foiled and embellished band. If anybody has any more suggestions please let me know :)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Here are all of my completed drawing pages, which include my visual research and some development! I feel relieved to have completed this part of my project, as I can now focus on the fun part which is creating designs!

The first page is a bit wobbly as I changed from an A3 sketchbook to an A2 one on the advice of my tutor, and was just getting to grips with filling the larger scale. I think on this page, particularly on the left, I have managed to convey my theme well. I love the combination of simple, kohl-like drawings of basic Egyptian imagery with the grungy elements of the checked Viv Westwood shirt and the tie-dyed jumper and clutch bag shown. I am not so keen on the other half of the page, as I got off to a scratchy start, but I like the happy accident that was the bleached-out effect of the museum photographs I had taken, which turned out the way they did because my printer was running out of ink :)

This is one of my favourite pages as it is so full of imagery, and I think the grey seems to work well with the grunge element. I also think that greys look amazing with gold as the contrast makes gold really stand out, so I will definitely ensure I include grey in my pallet! I love the Nirvana poster I found in an NME magazine as it is so understated but effective, and the gritty effect of the black and white inspired me to try mono-print and mark-making to create grungy textures. I think the black watercolour has worked well, and would add a good texture to a print. The patterns on the left of the page were created using markers onto metallic paper, which were taken directly from the imagery on a mummies casket. I photocopied the original in black and white, as I felt the colours looked quite dated and didn’t fit with my trend research for A/W. I have also looked at more textures in the form of denim and snakeskin. Both are in season, and link in well with my theme. The image of the girl in bleached denim was taken from ‘’, and I love the rebellious and slightly American appeal of the image. I don’t like the effect of the snake drawing as I find it too plain, but I like the effects of the denim (acrylics) and snake print (drawing ink) as they have a dark ‘Joy Division’ effect with the rough peaks and troughs, although I’m not sure how I would develop them.

On this page I have continued to explore different textures through mono-print, marbling and vinyl-emulsion transfer. I have looked more at hieroglyphics with my own photography, and also the recent body art at the Vivienne Westwood catwalk which resembled Egyptian markings. I think this works well in mono-print, but I think I prefer the previous thick tarry appearance. I have looked again at the idea of snakeskin, including the predicted trend by ‘Drapers’ magazine and a photocopy of the back of the snake drawing on the previous page, which I actually prefer where you can see all of the pen marks. Grunge imagery comes from a recent ‘Topshop’ advert and another from ‘’, and I think they look effective with my drawings and will hopefully inspire my prints. I love the effect of the ‘Topshop’ advert transferred using the emulsion, as it has a vintage yet very fresh feel, and I could easily develop the pale denim texture on the image. The mono-printed scarab beetle, which was done with a technique called ‘loose-film printing’ using ‘thin film inks’, has turned out well with a great texture. However, comparing it to my bolder Egyptian drawings, I think this project will work better by keeping the Egyptian elements quite heavy and graphic and using different mark-makings, such as the black and turquoise marble print which I love for the grungier textures.

This page pretty much focuses on Egyptian motifs, looking at mummies, scarabs and a ‘Horus’ statue. It combines photography I took from ‘The British Museum’ when I was down in London, and also photography from Egypt which I found on ‘’. I have experimented a lot with my scarab motif, as I think it has a lot of potential in my print stages. I really like the motif I’ve coloured with markers, and I still feel as though the bolder images are visually stronger than the grainier mono-prints. However I like the graphite drawing I have done of a mummy, but I don’t think it would develop well unless I filled it with watercolours, but even then I think it would stray away from the solid motifs I want to use. I wanted to focus on the bold lines which are on the caskets of the mummies, as I like the bandage effect and I think stripes will work well with anything! I particularly love the collaged triangle as I think it is open to number of possibilities due to its shape, as it could be used on a collar, a body piece or as spike detail which is currently very fashionable. The stripes and daisy collage was also taken directly from a photograph of the detail on a mummies casket, and I think the stripes are particularly strong with their mix of textures. This would work well collaged or as small detail, for example embellished onto a collar using long, tubular beads? The Horus drawing was very basic, and I also developed it by photocopying it then using a metallic paint pen and watercolours, which has worked well and has a bold yet feminine quality. I think this will work well in development as it is an unusual shape, and I will experiment with rotation and the flip tools to see if I can create an unusual motif. I don’t like the gouache hieroglyphics, as again I’m not keen on the warmer colours as they look dated and are too predictable. I prefer the basic symbols as they are more contemporary and fashion forward, and they have a darker more alternative appearance.

Here I have looked at wings and stripes in a bold fashion, using media like Indian ink, marker pens and contrasting watercolours. I love the Cleopatra influence on the styling of the Art-Deco Gucci dress on the left, and the use of long gold tubular beads used on the dress is something I want to sample with as they have a polished and edgy appearance when placed together. I have created a small section of stripe inspired from the famous Tutankhamen head, again very simple but effective with appliqué or embellishment. The watercolour stripes I think have turned out very well, and the colours are very unusual; they could work well as both a background or turned into a sophisticated print. I prefer the slightly more inky drawings on this page such as the ink and bleach image I have worked over with Indian ink, and the bright watercolour and gold ink stripes, as they are both bold and textured, and I think they have more scope for development. The graphic wing shape I drew mainly for shape and form rather than print purposes, and I would never use the drawing in a print, but I think it would look effective laser cut either as cut out or for appliqué, perhaps with leather onto black woollen mesh for a ‘so-dated-its-in-fashion’ appearance which would fit into the grunge theme. The gouache painting I think has worked ok and I think it would work best on a small scale, widely spaced repeat, although the painting doesn’t particularly jump out as an image I want to use.

This page focuses on a gold theme with lots of transfer experimentations using a screen-grab of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, and more mark-making. Images of samples from ‘Drapers’ magazine, which shows the fabric trends for A/W, ensure that my gold focus is very relevant for the up-coming trends. I also love the dramatic image that is the Alexander McQueen metallic body suit which is entirely covered with metal paillettes, as the effect of all over embellishment is stunning. The Cleopatra image I have transferred using a variety of techniques, such as vinyl-emulsion transfer both photocopied wet and left dry, using screen wash transfer and also printing the original image onto acetate for more luminous colours. I love the brighter boldness of the acetate image, as I think the detail is very strong and it seems a shame to lose it through transfer techniques. I will definitely try and enhance this detail in the development stages, particularly through embellishment! I have also included a plain black marbling sample, which I feel works well with the mix of solid structures as it is so fluid and slick. Although I wanted to keep my Egyptian imagery more graphic, the result of my thin film ink mono-print turned out messier than expected due to putting the ink down too thick, however, I quite like the vivid blue mottled over the bronze and could use this to fill in shapes in motifs, for example the scarab or Horus images.

This is my final drawing page :) I have focussed on mosaic elements, from photography from the Hancock Museum of real Egyptian mosaic and screenshots from the 1963 ‘Cleopatra’ film, as well as inspiration from designers using elongated sequins, as I think the two work well together. Again I have looked at Alexander McQueen for inspiration as his work is always rich with interesting techniques and processes, this time the honeycomb laser-cut leather. I noticed a similar pattern on a wall in the ‘Cleopatra’ film, and decided to take direct influence and create a basic elongated hexagon to experiment with the laser cutter. I plan to try the motif with both black leather and acetate for sequins! And that is the end of this rather long post ;)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Here are some more fabric samples I created in the print room on Monday. I decided to play around with twisting, folding, dipping and dabbing with dyes to see if anything worked particularly well, and I particularly like the effect of twisting the fabric into a thin roll and dabbing along the length with a paint brush, as shown in the top two samples. The third sample was selectively dipped and twisted whilst already saturated with turquoise dye, and the fourth was shibri, which ran whilst drying for a delicate effect. I particularly love the effect of the last sample, which unforfunately you cannot see the full effect of in picture form - I have layered twisted dyed sheer silk and layered it over gold-foiled fabric, which has a very 3-D luminous effect, depending on the angle towards the light. This last sample I plan to use in one of my final pieces, which will be a collar lined with eyelets with decorative chains hanging from one side to the other.

Monday, 2 April 2012


Today I met with Roy Stanley to discuss my business plan, and Sarah my mentor throughout this experience. We discussed the plans of my business for accessories, and I am amazed and grateful to say he has chosen to sponsor me!!

This means that for the next year of my degree, I will be getting personal professional business help from a millionnaire with tonnes of experience :D which is more than I could of asked for.

I will spend the year developing the brand image, gathering market research and doing a few test runs of my products, before setting up my own website!