9 August 2015

Foundation Diploma FMP | Performance. Art. Dance.

Hey Guys,

I have finally completed and passed my Fashion & Textiles Foundation Diploma course at Ravensbourne University! Since joining the course I can honestly say my work has definitely developed in terms of exploring a range of concepts and avenues. Especially if coming from A-Levels, which is more structured. I picked the fashion and textiles pathway from the beginning as I knew that fashion design specifically was what I wanted to go into and pursue as a degree. I have happy to say that I will be going to 'University for the Creative Arts' in Rochester (which is in Kent) to study BA Fashion Design this September 2015.

I wanted to share with you my Final Major Project (FMP) that I had done for my foundation course and explain a bit of my thought process and research. I will try to condense this as much as possible haha but I will just talk about the most important bits of my project. I did do a post sharing my first project I had done which was 8 weeks long called 'Structural Attachment'. I got quite big response on Tumblr where I was asked questions about foundation and the course and projects. So feel free to ask me anything! My FMP was also about 7/8 weeks long, every other project before that; apart from the first one was all two weeks long so you can imagine how hectic and fast paced this course was. As well as sketchbooks we also had to produce a blog to reflect and evaluate our process.

My project was called 'Performance. Art. Dance'. I wanted it to be crazy, colourful and fun. Exploring dance in my own interpretation. Looking at different avenues from the Nutcracker to fairytales and fantasies, to the circus (Cirque du Soleil), and performance arts/acts. As I used to dance, this is something I could relate to personally and understand how it can be used to express emotion through movement; it’s a hobby that I am passionate about. I planned to look at proportion, shape, scale, silhouette and perception. The shape of a garment and how it moves on the body. 

Cirque Du Soleil was one of my biggest inspirations for this project as it’s not just the typical Circus but it’s a whole performance which incorporates dance, acrobatics, art, tricks, illusions and everything combined and yet it still tells a story. The costumes that the performers wear are very visual and theatrical which complements the performance that each individual does. The acts are very risky in terms of being fatal as they are at extreme heights and doing dangerous tricks which makes it more exciting. As a conventional theme of a circus, their makeup is done much elaborated as well and goes with each character. Movement and shape is shown throughout the whole show and this is something I developed on as I selected shapes. Cirque Du Soleil have quite a few different shows all performed around the world. I selected 'Varekai' which I think worked with my project very well. 'A captivating forest inhabited by whimsical and enchanted creatures.' This one is my favourite as the shapes the performers make with their bodies are very extreme and the costumes are very theatrical and full of shape, volume and have different proportions. I feel that it’s full of enchantment and fairytale and gymnasts telling a story.

I went to the Zippo Circus and found the visit fun and interesting. The main thing I was trying to find was shapes that were being created and the movement. From this developed shapes and drew from the movements they created. Obviously the Zippo's Circus is nothing like Cirque Du Soliel but it did have some similarity's as the performers were creating shapes in the air on a rope or with an object; and they did acrobatics on the floor and created different shapes.

I started to work on the mannequin and took inspiration from an artist I referenced in my sketchbook. The cylinder shape from his piece of work was something I took a liking to and was creating a lot of these on the mannequin and making it more 3D in terms of the shapes coming away from the body and creating more shape, structure and silhouette. I instantly done some quick sketches from these and also took some photographs. I tried to develop them even more on this by adding a rope that I found and was manipulating this around the paper and the shapes created. This links to the circus as the rope could represent a trapezium. I used tracing paper and added colour to the illustrations I was doing, trying to use different media on the page and being more experimental. Mannequin work I think is important as it helps me gather my ideas together and kick starts my illustrations. I can always go back to my images to use for more development.

AnOther Magazine presents: MOVEment
'MOVEment is a unique series of short films uniting fashion, dance and cinema in a radical new way. AnOther Magazine has invited seven of the biggest names in fashion to create bespoke costumes for seven specially choreographed performances, interpreted for the screen by seven pioneering directors.' 

MOVEment: Chalayan x AyaBambi and Ryan Heffington
The dynamism of street dance charges a performance of precise hand gestures, graphic silhouettes and mirrored attitudes

This was another part of my research and I loved this performance/film as the dancers were doing a waaking style and they were in sync and very united. I loved the shapes they were creating and they were using each other to then create symmetrical shapes. The way the film and dance is styled; with black and white makes it very simple which enhances the costume and movement making it more powerful. The editing is something which caught my attention as well; again the colours are black and white however the lighting changed so the dancers looked more like silhouettes which exaggerated the shapes that they were creating. 'AyaBambi are a Japanese dance duo who have exploded onto the international scene. Beginning as a YouTube sensation, they have risen to prominence over the past year, recently dancing alongside Madonna. Dancers, photographers, choreographers and models, they have an individual and instantly recognisable style, and are known for bold and expressive performances. Their unity of style and dance, and sharply choreographed and high-energy routines, make AyaBambi a striking and exciting new talent.'

From watching the circus and dance performances I decided to do a shoot (me being the photographer) that focuses on the shape, body and silhouette. From this I developed the shapes my model - Fidel creates with her body. I planned to draw these out, work on top of these on the mannequin, create a print and just do so much with it as it’s about movement. I wanted Fidel to wear all black so she created a silhouette and I shot her against a plain white background. I wanted her make up to be done with some face paint just to show the circus clown concept, however it wasn’t a must as this shoot was more about the shape. Fidel’s friend Yasmine was able to do her make up for me but wasn’t available on the day I was shooting, so we then agreed to conduct another shoot purely based on the makeup. I ended up doing a basic white face for the base and red smudged lips. After I realised I could reference Alexander McQueen - Savage Beauty, with the same makeup and even the all black costume. The positions she done were great and I captured the movement she was doing. Some ballet moves, awkward positions, shapes in the air, clown facial expressions.

To start off my prints I  initially done some marbling which I thought would be a great as combined colours and it looked very experimental as each marbling piece came out differently. I tried to contrast the colours as well as also keep some in the same range. I did some initial design ideas then scanned the marbling in and added my prints with Photoshop. From there I printed them out and used pro markers to colour in the rest of the areas. I liked the way they turned out as they look very busy and full of colour.

To develop on from my silhouette shoot I took the shapes that Fidel was making and done some experimental drawings from them. With this I photocopied them and collaged them to create some experimental illustrations. I also scanned them in to create some prints with the marbling I had done before hand. I used Photoshop to manipulate the images and layer and overlap them. I did also enhance the colours by changing the levels, contrast and saturation etc. I had 3 final prints, this being one of them. I tried to create different dynamics to the print, one being busy, one being just the shapes with no marbling and being in between.

My makeup artist Yasmine did such a great job! This was my second shoot, purely just about the makeup and head shots. As my shape shoot make up didn’t go to plan, it was essential for me to do another shoot as this is a way to portray the circus clown look and it ties in with theatre and art. We used face paint to create this look and layered it on so the colours were bright and bold. Again I had Fidel wearing black and in front of a white background which would be a nice contrast. I edited the images after with Adobe Photoshop adjusting the contrast and levels just to make the colours pop a bit more. As you might be able to tell I love incorporating promotion within my work and doing photography/shoots etc. It's something that I love doing and it shows development of my work through a different medium. I am a design student yes, but I am a creative individual overall.

The illustrations below show some of my designs. I probably did over 150 designs all together in my sketchbook including initial design ideas and more developed ones with added colour and digital print. My final line up consisted of four designs which had my final prints and colour. I used Adobe Photoshop to incorporate my digital prints onto my illustrations. My designs have Fidel’s head on them which I used from my make up shoot. I also have my final design around the end of my sketchbook of the front and back as well as flat drawings. These are just some examples of some of my illustrations.

The making process consisted of making a toile which is basically a prototype of the garment before the real thing with the real fabrics. When making the toile I had to do a lot of adjusting to the pattern blocks and the toile. What I liked about the calico is that it’s kind of stiff so it could hold its shape. I deliberated on whether to do the shapes on the toile but it would be difficult as the calico wouldn’t be stiff enough and it would literally just flop over. Because of time purposes I decided to leave the shapes and to start cutting out the real thing. For the back blocks I had to cut it out twice as I had interfacing to stiffen it. And obviously digital print was in my work so I did use the heat press to transfer the prints.

The final outcome of my project was a garment that represented shape, movement and dance. I created a dress (I guess you could call it) that I made my own pattern blocks as it consisted of unique shapes. I did this as I wanted my garment to mainly show shape and hence focused on that aspect by creating a specific shape for the base out of scuba material and cutting out/adding shapes on top of the base which could then be manipulated to form something that also showed volume, and came away from the body and not just placed flat. This was successful as I used a specific material for the shapes on top called neoprene which has some thickness to it which can hold shape when placed in a certain way. I used a thin satin for the two back blocks and used interfacing to stiffen it which adds more definition to the shape. My garment was successful within the making/garment construction and also linking with the things in my sketchbook and my project/concept as a whole. Movement and shape and colour are shown clearly in my garment, which also had prints incorporated in which I developed from my sketchbook. The progress I have made throughout my project has significantly improved in terms of the amount of research I have conducted which enabled me to develop my thoughts and ideas more clearly. Things didn’t go to plan accordingly as I initially wanted to also do my own shoot for my garment and also a fashion film; however I lacked time management and didn’t have enough time to plan and do either of them. I feel that a styled shoot with a specific set would have brought my project more to life and bring everything together to a clear ending, and it would be able to tell a story/concept in that one photo. A fashion film would have just been an added extra as I thought because I am looking at dance and performance it would work hand in hand. I would need to be more meticulous with my planning to get everything I would want done on time and to a professional standard. 

This is my final garment this shoot was purely just to see the garment, as I stated above I didn't have enough time to do a shoot were I planned the set and location, however it was not compulsory, but I just wanted it as a development for my project. 

I know this was a lot of information to take in but I hope that you understood everything!
If you have any questions please feel free to ask me :-)

Genie xo

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