Yesterday was design class and we had to present our inspiration/theme boards. Each student created these by making a collage of images and fabric samples on art board as a way to visually communicate the essence of their planned collection. I chatted briefly with one student at the beginning of class whose board caught my eye – it included two things that I love and also had displayed on my board – colour and floral prints – we had a little high five for colourful prints just before the class started.
The entire class was divided into 4 groups, and within each group students presented their inspiration/theme boards, discussing who their target customer is and from where they drew their inspiration. The diversity of approaches and planned collections was impressive. A costume collection inspired by the photographs of Edward Burtynsky, a collection called Detox inspired by the need for our society to create less waste, a children’s wear collection that will make use of traditional Chinese craft elements, a collection inspired by the 60’s and the hippie/counter culture of the time. There were collections focusing on men’s wear, avant garde art wear, bridal, outerwear and dresses suitable for the red carpet.
Although I was nervous and felt a bit out of my element that quickly passed when I saw how much variety there was in approaches to the task.
My Inspiration/theme board
I had the idea for a project involving my engagement in various aspects of the student experience about two years ago but could not take it on at that time for a variety of reasons. When I was ready I made my first activity pitch to the Dean of FCAD this past spring…so while this project was launched in August….I have been thinking about what I would do for a collection all summer. The jumping off points for that thinking were 1) a postcard that I have had for years that I love of a painting of a vase of flowers on a black ground and 2) a waistcoat that I made many years ago when I made costumes…it was black and I had to sew stripes on it made of bright gold ribbon. The common thread here was bold colour showcased on a black background. The other common element that I hope to use is “applique” or surface design created by applying shapes and stripes out of one material onto a black base fabric. My collection will be called very simply “Colour on Black”.
The theme board is made up of pictures that include colour on black. Picture of flowers on a black background, abstract art, pictures of fireworks, stained glass and outer-space. All of these show the juxtaposition of bold colour and deep black. When I first placed them on the board I didn’t like the fact that they could be taken very literally… “oh she is inspired by fireworks or stained glass”. I was more interested in the colour combination than the subject matter, so I cut each of the pictures into strips and then covered the board with the strips of pictures so while there are glimpses of the images there is no complete image. I also included fabric swatches – a floral print silk charmeuse, a black wool flannel, some solid colour silks, etc.
I plan to make a variety of pieces to experience the challenges of different types of collections – women’s wear, men’s wear, evening wear – the common elements will be colour on black and applied design or applique.
In the fashion communication class, I have been assigned to a section of 21 students working with Professor Ben Barry. What an interesting person he is…learn more at http://www.drbenbarry.com/. He is at the forefront of very exciting work dedicated to increasing diversity in the fashion industry and in how we see fashion and beauty. He is one of an amazing team of instructors who will be assisting the fashion communication students with their capstone projects. My first individual consultation with him will be next week.
Final Note: a little star-struck by Wayne Clark
Wayne Clark, a Canadian designer whose career spans over 3 decades, is the designer in residence in the School of Fashion. Last week he spoke to the class about creating a collection and he observed the presentations of the group that I was in this week. Just have to admit…I’m a little star-struck….big fan and admirer. Learn more about him here http://www.wayneclarkdesign.com. In his comments last week he urged the students to fall in love with their collections – to really do something that excited and inspired them. I can imagine that it would be very difficult to sustain oneself through all the frustrations and challenges inherent in designing and building a collection if you are not loving what you are creating.
Luckily I am completely in love with my floral print silk charmeuse…its a start…
Up next: student profile of Jaclyn, 4th year fashion communications student…stay tuned.