When considering my final major project I felt inspired to visually respond to the research undertaken into my dissertation subject – ‘Investigating the feminist movement and its legacy regarding post 8o’s Japanese fashion.’ I found real passion for the feminist movement specifically the postfeminist wave. This focuses on the original goals and ambitions of the movement while allowing women to still appear feminine as it is seen as a form of empowerment rather than oppression. This is giving young feminists such as myself the freedom and confidence to proclaim themselves as feminists as it is replacing the negative assumptions and stereotypes surrounding the movement.

I therefore chose to embody this idea within my collection of fashion fabrics for women’s tailored suits, as I have combined the traditional masculine suit with stylised floral feminine prints, symbolising the contemporary woman who has the ability and freedom to undertake the same career as a man while still looking feminine, in turn displaying the intentions of the postfeminist movement.

My theme of stylised florals was also influenced by my research into the feminist movement as I began looking into the 60’s and 70’s era which was the height of the movement, considering motifs and patterns that are reminiscent of that time. Within my original brief  I stated that in addition to stylised floral motifs I would combine them with geometric patterns inspired by interior patterns, creating a contemporary look of mixed and matched patterns. Though, after developing my floral designs I felt that they were working better together when comparing them to the geometric designs. Firstly, I feel I developed a style while working with my floral motifs through using techniques within Illustrator and layering the motifs, though with my geometric designs I felt that they were too simple in comparison and not as exciting. I therefore decided to abandon the geometric designs and focus wholly on the stylised florals. Looking back at this decision after designing my whole collection, I am very pleased that I made this decision as the collection works and co-ordinates together perfectly without the need for the geometric designs.

After considering and researching the different markets to place my collection I chose to position it in the high end high street, with shops such as Zara, Top Shop and Urban Outfitters  all offering the contemporary woman a choice of fashionable styles for a variety of different occasions including day wear, evening wear and work wear. I therefore, used a similar idea within my collection focusing on these occasions to distinguish my different families.  Although my theme of stylised florals runs throughout each family I have used different processes to create a new look and feel for each family. ‘Day Wear’ is full of bright and bold patterns designed to co-ordinate together on the different garments which make up the suit, creating a contemporary casual look when paired with empowerment slogan T-Shirts synonymous with the postfeminist movement. ‘Evening Wear’ on the other hand has a much softer and feminine feel where silk-screen printing and devoré skills have been utilised to create this delicate look. ‘Work Wear’ is more subtle creating a sophisticated look for the outer suit using digital embroidery, while the hidden lining is much bolder. Each family has also been designed to work together and be mixed and matched, giving the customer the freedom to create her own unique style. I felt it was important for me as a new designer to showcase the skills I have learnt within my time in University including both traditional hand printing along with digital design skills in the hope that this will set me apart from the crowd.

Throughout this project my digital design skills have improved dramatically since I have begun using Illustrator which I have used to design my whole collection. Although I hadn’t used the program previously, I have found that through learning just a few techniques and tools I have been able to create patterns that look more professional and at industry standard.

When designing my final exhibition display I wanted to ensure that both my theme and initial inspiration came through and was the main focus. After much deliberation I decided that it wouldn’t be beneficial for me to make the suit as I wanted to keep the focus on the patterns rather than the product. I therefore found an alternative solution that would cost less and be much easier to produce and display, I therefore had my technical CAD drawings printed onto a thin cardboard and cut out to resemble the life-size garment. I feel that this is a much more effective and unique way of displaying final garments and am extremely happy with the overall look. I further styled my exhibition space to resemble a backstage fashion show as I felt that this fitted well with my contemporary fashion-conscious customer and my targeted market. This also included my CAD visuals which have become a major feature within my display, highlighting how each pattern works on different garments.

In conclusion, I feel overall that I have answered my set brief and am very happy with the final collection and the final exhibition. I look forward to now showcasing my work at the New Designers exhibition in London and hopefully gaining a job within the design industry.

My Final Exhibition!

I am really excited to say that my final exhibition space is up and I am really happy with it! Everything I have been working on has come together perfectly and looks really feminine and sophisticated which is the look I was attempting to achieve. I am very pleased that I took Lucy’s advice to style my exhibition in keeping with my theme and do something a bit different to previous years as I feel that I have achieved the look of a backstage fashion show with the addition of different elements such as the clothing rail, printed t-shirts, dressing room lights and polaroid CAD visuals. Luckily I had no major problems while putting my exhibition up, though I feel that because I had a plan in my mind this helped me structure my ideas and get my exhibition up without much stress. I also left myself 2 days at the end of the week before the deadline in order to do any last minute styling and speak to my tutors about their thoughts on if anything should be changed. I have loved creating and designing this exhibition as I have treated it like I was creating a shop window or an installation. This has given me the view of considering a career within visual merchandising possibly in the future.

I can’t wait for my family and friends to now see the final exhibition and am excited for the public opening.

Press Packs

Press packs are a really important aspect to the show as relevant companies can take one away with them and get a feel for me as a designer, and hopefully then offer me a job! I wanted to keep my press pack design relatively simple though still be effective. Each folder contains a designer statement, my CV, a USB and keyring, CAD visuals, business card and postcard. I have also designed stickers to be stuck on the front of each folder. Below are some images showing my press packs. Overall I am really happy with them, though if I had more time I would have liked to create an image catalogue, however I feel I can do this as an additional piece for the New Designers Exhibition. It is with helping in the buddy system last year that I have been able to use everything I learnt then and put it into practice, especially with something like press packs.

Arrival of Designs

This week my designs from Centre for Advanced Textiles have arrived back. They took much longer than I first anticipated and was getting quite anxious that they wouldn’t arrive in time for me to overlock and header them to a high standard. I have been really pleased with the quality of the designs I have received back from company Bags of Love so was expecting an even better quality from Centre for Advanced Textiles as I spent much more money having my designs printed on to high quality fashion fabrics. Furthermore, as I had had samples of my designs from them previously I knew that the colour and print quality would be great. However, when the samples arrived I was quite disappointed with them, as the colours were not as vibrant and the print quality not as crisp. As there is only a week to go I felt really upset that they had taken so long to come back and then also not be a very good quality when comparing them to the previous samples I had received.

I decided to getting touch with the company and ask what they could do, though after I sent photos showing the difference, I heard nothing back from the company and so made the decision to just go with the samples I had and that if I didn’t compare to the previous samples know one would know that they weren’t as good. Although this was a hard decision to make as I was disappointed, I feel like throughout this project i have had to make snap decisions and go with it otherwise it is easy to go of course and spend too long deliberating what is the best thing to do, and with only one week left I didn’t have time to do this.

Below are some photos showing the change in quality – the previous samples i received are shown in the middle :

Below are some photos I took showing the difference between both batches.

CAD Visuals

For my CAD visuals I really wanted to make them a major feature within my exhibition as I feel that they will really convey my idea behind the collection and bring it back to women’s suits. My friend Holly kindly agreed that she would model for me, so I booked out the photography room and the green screen in uni in order to take some photos that I hoped would look very professional.

I took inspiration from my market moodpboard as shown below when regarding the different poses and angles, in order to make sure that I had plenty of images to work with as some will work better than others. I also created a pinterest board that I could refer to in the photoshoot, so that I was organised and time efficient, as I didn’t have much time within the photography studio as other students had booked it out after me.

Follow ceris butterworth’s board CAD Photographs on Pinterest.

I am really happy with how the photographs have turned out and have been working hard placing my designs on to the garments, though this doesn’t feel like a tedious job as I love seeing my designs come to life and see how they work together in their different families and as a collection as a whole. Below are the final photographs which I will be getting printed in the polaroid style to be in keeping with the backstage fashion show styling of my exhibition. 

Below are a selection of CAD visual images from each family within my collection:

New Exhibition Plan

After speaking to Lucy about my plan for the exhibition she mentioned that maybe I was playing it a little bit too safe and that I needed to bring my initial theme and customer back into the exhibition in order to create something that people will remember. I have been given my space for the exhibition which is in a really good location, therefore this has given me the determination to create something memorable.

My customer is a contemporary woman who is fashion conscious and unafraid to show her personality through her style. I have therefore decided to stage my exhibition space as a backstage fashion show – creating a look that resembles an organised chaos.

After researching on pinterest for some inspirational imagery I have decided to use a clothing rail to hang my cardboard cut out garments on along with my screen printed empowerment slogan T-SHirts and scarves. I will also style my CAD visuals as polaroid images which will be pinned to a notice board resembling the model head shots usually seen backstage. I am really excited to see the final outcome!

Screen Printing, Devore and Digital Embroidery Samples

Within each family I intend to use a different technique that would show off the skills I have learnt throughout my three year within Cardiff School of Art and Design.

Techniques used within each family:

  • Day Wear – Bold and bright prints – Digitally printed fabrics
  • Evening Wear – Soft and feminine prints – Digitally printed fabrics combined with hand printed devore and screen printing
  • Work Wear – Subtle – Digital embroidery to be used on the outer suit using the same colour on colour to create a subtle yet sophisticated look.

After experimenting with 3 colour repeat screen printing and the devore techniques I was able to create my final designs which I am really pleased with. I have had many different comments from my fellow students asking if these designs are digitally printed, and it feels really special to be able to say that I printed them by hand. Although this technique took time to master and make perfect I feel really happy that I spent the time doing it as I have really refined my screen printing skills and feel that I have taken them to the next level through creating 3 colour hand printed designs.

I also hadn’t used the digital embroidery machine since the beginning of our second year, therefore my skills on this were very limited and I therefore had to learn the basics from scratch in order to create my designs for my ‘work wear’ family. After speaking to Maggie she told me that instead of learning the advanced techniques I could learn the basics and create simple designs that would suit my subtle theme for this family. After experimenting I found that this technique was just what I was looking for in the work wear family and am really glad that I spent a bit of time learning a new technique that I can now say I feel confident with. If I had more time I would like to learn more advanced skills in digital embroidery.