Monday, November 30, 2009

Tell me your secrets...

"In November 2004, I printed 3,000 postcards inviting people to share a secret with me: something that was true, something they had never told anyone. I handed out these cards at subway stations, I left them in art galleries, and I slipped them between the pages of library books. Then, slowly, the secrets began to find their way to my mailbox.
After several weeks i stopped passing out postcards but secrets kept coming. Homemade postcards made from cardboard, old photographs, wedding invitations, and other personal items carefully decorated arrived from all over the world. Some of the secrets were written in Portuguese, French, German, Hebrew and even Braille."

This is the beginning of the introduction to the PostSecret book. This book is just one of many books produced by "accidental artist" Frank Warren. 5 years ago, he invited others to share their deepest, darkest secrets with him. He encouraged those who were hiding something to speak out, but he allowed them to do this anonymously. From all over the world, people send Frank postcards containing their secrets, he is then welcome to read them, post them on his
blog, or even get them published into his books. Frank gives people an outlet for their hopes, fears, confessions and memories (whether happy or painful) and allows them to share them with the whole world.

I haven't sent in a secret yet but every week, after Sunday, I go to the blog and I read each secret for that week. Sometimes I can relate to them, and this is what most followers of PostSecret like about it as it can make them feel less alone with their secrets. What I love about PostSecret is how everyone is invited to post in their secrets, regardless of religion, age or race; and also the design element of the postcards. Every postcard is unique, and is normally designed with the secret in mind. People draw, print, type, write, collage, paint on their postcards, they're given the freedom to tell their secret exactly how they want to, visually or with words. Sometimes postcards are hidden inside an envelope, this shows they want to share their secret but they're not quite ready to, this can give someone peace of mind just as much as sharing their secret. People have proposed, confessed their love and thanked friends and family all through this website and the books. Below are some examples of the secrets in the book and visit for more secrets and information.

Quote and images are taken from the PostSecret book by Frank Warren. All images are from my camera.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Fashion Book

The Fashion Book is fashion's equivalent to the Art Book. I bought this book at the end of the summer and it's like my little fashion dictionary. It's small, compact and concise. The book features designers (fashion and textiles), illustrators, photographers, models and icons from the past 150 years and is really inspirational. I decided to invest in this book after choosing to study the 20th Century Fashion. Below are some photographs from the book showing layout. Each page features a different person, has a photograph showing an aspect of their work and includes information about them and where they fit into the fashion world. The list of designers and icons is in alphabetical order, which not only makes it easier to find information on a specific person but can also create juxtapositions between the creators and their work. The book includes quotes and gives a short biography, sometimes with information you might not have found elsewhere. For example in the entry about Stella McCartney the book claims "on Friday and Saturday mornings McCartney would garner antique buttons and vintage clothes, which explains the romantic strand of her style". I'd recommend this book for all with an interest in fashion.

Below are some photographs of some of the pages in the book including Stella McCartney, Kate Moss, Paul Smith, Thierry Mugler and Willi Smith.

Photographs are from my camera of The Fashion Book, Phaidon Press, 1998.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wood and Textiles

When I did art at A level, I didn't paint and draw like most people, I used sewing machines, silks, feathers, beads, threads and calico and tested and played around until I was happy with an idea. I would then develop this idea and create a final piece on this. Ever since doing this I have always been very interested in this style of textiles art. When we were given full access to WGSN at the start of this university year I planned on reading it more and gaining more knowledge about the industry I am in.

One of the first articles I read about was Wood Threads inspiration, techniques and application. Ella Robinson's Wood Textiles exhibition has inspired those as WGSN for different elements in forthcoming trends. Her work can be seen here and shows her work in different galleries. I found her work inspiring as she used both natural pieces of wood, mostly driftwood on the beach, but she also used mass produced blocks of wood. The driftwood helped her to create completely unique pieces whereas the mass produced wood gave her work a different style and could give more regular patterning. The wood is drilled and treads are wound around and through the wood to create stripes, patterns and pictures. Her work is quoted to be:
"Inspired by the bright and bold colours of urban environment - graffiti and street art for instance - alongside the calm and tranquillity of the British coastline, the resulting collection of objects is beautiful and precious."

Below are some examples of her work:

Images and quote from

Monday, November 23, 2009

UP! Up and Away!

As a child I fondly remember watching Disney videos over and over again. The films created by Disney allowed me to live in a world of happily ever afters, princesses and talking animals. I have always been a fan of Disney films with Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Bambi just to name a few!

However my most favourite of their films are those where they have teamed up with Pixar. Right from the beginning when they bought toys to life in Toy Story, I have been a fan of the animations created by Pixar. I remember a few years ago, before i chose to go into fashion, I wanted to work for Pixar to help create characters like those found in Finding Nemo. The development of how the characters will look, then moulding them into 3D and finally animating them, sounded fun interesting and very creative. Watching the extra features on the DVD's to see how the design process is followed was fascinating and gave backgrounds to the characters and the films themselves.

I remember reading in the paper about their latest film UP! in which an old man ties thousands of balloons to his house to escape his daily regime and see other parts of the world, in this case South America. He later realises he has an 8 year old boy on his porch as he is sailing through the air. The film tells the story of their travels and how they can work together as a team to overcome the difficulties they find on their way. The fantasy land created in this film was influenced by a video documentary of Venezuela by Adrian Warren. The creators of the film travels to various places including Canaima National Park to give them inspiration for the beautiful scenery they wanted to portray in the film.

Image courtesy of

Time to Grow

For my Digital Design Module, part of our first project is to research into themes and trends, a target market and a garment type and style, and to create a seasonal colour palette. A collection will then be developed and produced from this research in a second project. As a first step, I decided on my season, which is Spring/Summer 2010, and that I wanted to design this collection for Menswear. I then started to look into predicted colourways available to be on the trend site WGSN. This website is really useful and covers all parts of the predicted trends. So I wanted to use this for my own research in developing my own theme. I approached the project in a similar way to my Design Development modules I've had so far here at university.
I then chose a trend and researched further into it. At first i based this on colour, as I'd be developing my own colour palette from this and this trend had a wide range of colours.
The more I looked into this trend the more inspired I became. I began seeing more of a meaning and more of a mood and started thinking of my own trend I could develop from this. I began to look around me and realised we were given this project at the most perfect time, the turning of Autumn. The colours and idea of the seasons evolving was a perfect theme for my own collection.
Here are some of the predicted shapes for this trend.

Here are some predicted patterns for this trend.
I decided to name my theme "Growth". This was linked to the season I'd chosen to design for, as Spring is when the leaves start to grow on the trees, when animals give birth to their offspring and the days begin to get longer and warmer. This was also based on evolution and how things change and develop over time. My colour palette reflects some of the early colours predicted as well as some seen in Autumn. I tried to draw colours from pictures used as inspiration for my theme.
Below is one of my favourite pages. I felt there was limited time on this project and I needed to research into my target audience. I began to think who to aim the collection towards and decided young males who were interested in fashion and socialising. I realised I had the perfect friend for this part who could be used to define my target audience. I developed a page, with his permission, and I literally just wrote about him. I wrote about his likes, dislikes, where he shopped, what he did in his spare time and even his favourite type of music. This page allowed me to get a really good understanding of who I would aim my collection towards.
I then decided to refine my collection to trousers. There had been many different trouser shapes predicted for this season and i could see some natural forms that had inspired these shapes.
The collection is currently being produced using the colour palette I developed for the theme Growth and the predicted shapes patterns used within the researched trend.

Images are of my own work.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Menswear Trends Autumn/Winter 2010/2011

Here are some of the trends that have been predicted for Autumn Winter 2010/2011. These have been chosen because they are somehow linked to the Maison Martin Margiela brand and the collection I am designing for this project will be influenced by a mix of some of these trends. The trends have been analysed to show links between the elements of the trend and the brand. This could be on colour, keywords, predicted shapes or the fabrics within the trend.

All images are of my own work compiled from and

Monday, November 16, 2009

Inspiration for my Maison Martin Margiela Designs

Below shows images of the customer board, mood board and fabric board that will help to inspire my design work for this project. These will be used throughout the whole design process and have been developed through out research into the Maison Martin Margiela brand, customer and collections.

Customer Board
Mood Board

Fabric Board
All images from my own camera

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

TV Heaven!

At the weekend I visited the National Media Museum in Bradford. This was only a short drive away from Leeds and had some interesting exhibitions of photography and animation. The photography exhibition displays the work of Neeta Madahar, who gained the Bradford Fellowship in Photography award. Her works consists of both photography and video. This was quite interesting to see her work as she has studied a variety of subjects covering the artificial and natural world.

Drawings that Move: the Art of Joanna Quinn showcases the "highly individual approach to art and the business of animation". The work is found in sketchbooks, comic strips, character drawings and videos of her work. The exhibition demonstrates where she found her inspiration, who helped her with some of her characters and films and also showed the awards she has been given for her animations. She is well known for films such as Girls Night Out (1986), Britannia (1993), Dreams and Desires (1986). She has worked not only in film, but also in advertising, such as the Charmin toilet roll adverts.

The rest of the museum has different area for all ages, there is the Kodak Gallery, The IMAX Cinema, Experience TV & TV Heaven floor, the Magic Factory, the Animation Gallery, the Profiles Gallery and the On Location and Action Zones. The most interesting floors were the Experience TV & TV Heaven, the Magic Factory and the Animation Gallery.

The Experience TV & TV Heaven floor gave an insight to radio stations, advertising, news and television production. With its very own "blue screen" it allows you to see how backgrounds are created for the weather broadcasts and films. You can produce your very own news broadcast you can be a cameraman for a television show. The Magic Factory helps people of all ages learn how light behaves and the Animation Gallery looks at the different types of animation, such as Wallace and Gromit; and the Simpsons. You can see 3D characters from films and cartoons and look at how animations have changed over the years.

If you're planning on viewing this museum I'd recommend you spend the whole day there, there is so much to see and do, it's very interesting for everyone and all the exhibitions are free!

Images are from my camera, including those of the map of the museum and a postcard from one of the exhibitions.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Guest Speaker

At university, I am currently attending a module called "20Th Century Fashion", which i find very interesting. So far we've looked at Rebellion, Fantasy and Power, in terms of how these have affected fashion movements, couture, photographers, models and magazines. These lectures so far have been packed with information about various designers, the couture houses, and have described how the war affected trends in fashion.
Yesterday we were very lucky to have Roland Klein as a guest speaker and this was a truly inspiring lecture. Klein spoke about his experiences and his past jobs within the industry. He was very honest and clear about what he liked and what he didn't. For a short time he worked for Christian Dior and worked as an assistant for Karl Lagerfeld, in which he specialised in couture in Paris. In the sixties, he moved to London to design Ready-to-Wear collections, until he was ready to start his own name and collection. He later moved to the Italian company Max Mara and has designed for Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cornwall.
What was really inspiring, however was his outlook on fashion with quotes such as "inspiration comes from everywhere" and "fashion is a reflection of what's going on in the world". He still believes in couture, and that it creates a fantasy world, where people can buy clothes to feel more confident and to get away from life's big problems. He believes all jobs in the fashion industry, not just the design jobs, are important. Any job whether it's in marketing or retail or styling, can give you experience and knowledge of things you might not learn elsewhere. His beliefs and opinions have helped him through his career as a designer and it seems as though he has learnt something from each job and he has taken that to the next one. I really enjoyed Klein's talk, it has made me more enthusiastic about applying for a placement and getting out into the industry.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Maison Martin Margiela

In my Design Development and Portfolio module, the project for this semester was half group work and half individual work. The group work was the research element of the module and we were given a designer known for having an individual brand rather than someone who follows trends. The individual work is the design development, using our research to design a collection suitable for the brand, in colour and style, as well as the target audience.
Our designer... Martin Margiela.
I didn't really know a lot about him or his work before this project but having watched his shows and studying his past collections, I will now be looking out for him in new fashion shows.

Margiela's clean cut shape, bold blocks of colour and the unique style in his designs are truly inspiring, and something I hope to recreate myself not only in the design element of this project but in my own personal design collections.
Images courtesy of

    Tuesday, November 03, 2009

    Me, Myself and Design

    This blog will be all about my life and how design fits into it. As a fashion design student, I need to be inspired and influenced, and this blog will show and tell the things that catch my eye, make me stop and want to use in the design aspect of my life. This will be my online sketchbook, journal and portfolio. I will showcase my work and will look back at this in years to come as I see how I've progressed throughout my career. Not everything on here will be my work however, as i plan to keep note of the things that inspire me so that in years to come I have something to look back on and keep me inspired, or to give me new ideas.

    The seasons are a great source for inspiration, especially autumn. Looking out of my window and seeing the light shine through the brightly coloured leaves, inspired me for a theme and colour palette used in a design project at university. Based on the Evolve trend from WGSN, I then created my own Growth theme, which reflects shapes, patterns and colours found in nature.

    Photograph taken from my own camera

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