THESIS

I want to expand the possibilities of fashion performance by exhibiting a garment's material and design that has the opportunity of identity through a dark aggressive narrative with gender fluidity. 

Precedents

LUAR by Raul Lopez

Currently, I am the graphic designer for LUAR by Raul Lopez. He is a clothing designer originally from Dominican Republic but moved to New York at a young age. His designs are inspired by New York as well as his Dominican roots. He co-founded Hood by Air (HBA). A clothing brand that pioneered street-wear in the 2000s. Just recently Hood by Air decided to close up shop for now after their huge successful progression as both founders wanted to pursue other projects. Raul decided to launch his solo label titled LUAR. A brand for all. I am very inspired by his work and I am very excited to be working with him on future projects for his brand. Like I said earlier LUAR is for all. It is for all races, all genders and sexuality. LUAR's pursue for fluidity is very strong and for their SS19 collection you can see that Raul stripped away his interest of using color to having everything in white. I think this puts a strong focus on the overall structure of the garments so that everyone can really see the details in each piece walking down the runway.

Gareth Pugh

This is one of Gareth Pugh's earlier shows. This show in particular is inspiring since of the runway. When the music starts, so does the runway. It is covered in a long white cloth and attached to the sides of the runway. At the end of the runway there appears to be a fan blowing the fabric up and down in the air. As you watch the show you can see that the models have a challenge. Each model walks down the runway in a specific way. You can see that Pugh wants his models to be effected with what is going on on the floor. Gareth Pugh is known for his hyper power/over fetishized garments of both sex and play. His dark/gothic/sublime designs are contrasted by the runway that makes the whole show containing a different form of beauty. 

Fashion Films by Gareth Pugh in collaboration with Show Studio

What I enjoy about Gareth Pugh's films is that he decided to make these films with Nick Knight for his Spring Summer 2018 collection instead of having a traditional fashion show. He rented out a large IMAX screen to release this film, he felt that this had more of an impact than the traditional catwalk. Choreographed by Wayne McGregor was a good idea to get Pugh's ideas of "extremities offered by the elements and the raw physicality of humanity"

Balenciaga for Demna Gvasalia, Spring Summer 2019 

Music by BFRND

Set Design by Jon Rafman

I enjoyed this show, it mimics my ideas I did for my Major Major Show playing with the idea of reflection with the visuals as the models walk into a tunnel full of static technologic/glitch effects. I enjoyed how well the catwalk transitioned from time to time over the course of the show. 

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011

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I love this retrospective of McQueen's work. The first image is one of my favorite because it highlights a specific dress in the center of the room. This dress in particular incorporated a performance during its debut at his fashion show. The model was in the center of the room, the dress was white at first, than two machines rotating the model while spraying color onto the dress as she was spinning herself. Andrew Bolton, the curator of this show did a wonderful job displaying how this dress was performed by having multiple displays floating above the dress will a mirror was reflecting the dress on display. Moving to the third image which is an installation commemorating one of my favorite McQueen's shows titled "Plato's Atlantis" in 2010, shows a wonderful organic animations behind the mannequins. I love the translucent material of the mannequins as well as if the clothes are floating in space and blends in more with the animations in the background. The mannequins also have the same shape that the model's hairstyle was during the runway show. 

Thesis 1

Mind Map/Mood Board

Week 1

For the first week it was time to get my head wrapped around my concept. One of the first questions I had asked myself was how might we exhibit a garment/collection of fashion design to better inform the audience of a fashion designer's intent? I was then challenged by fellow classmates regarding this questions with follow ones. After reading the responses made me wonder what is truly pushing me to think about fashion design this way. I suppose I am not fully satisfied with how fashion is being unveiled in fashion shows, hanging on the racks of clothing stores, and the low number of exhibitions that are taking place for fashion. In my research, the main fields of study that I want to focus on are department/concept stores, fashion shows, education institutions, and film. 

Week 2

For my first and second prototypes I decided to make a miniature scale of what my potential installation will look like. The first image shows one garment being displayed and the second image shows two garments being displayed. I wanted to compare the two to see what would be more effective. Since I am focusing a lot in the area of fashion exhibition design I feel like it gives me more room to express my ideas with two garments rather than one. Not that I have ultimately decided to focus on two things as I have not yet decided what the first garment would look like I feel like having two different forms of fabrics shows what the differences between the two are depending on how the garment is worn, what fabric it is, and how the body moves in while wearing the garment. For my thesis my installation will not have someone physically wearing it but the film that will be incorporated in the installation will clips of a person moving in the garment. Just by reading this you may believe that I have already decided where everything will go in the space but I realize at an early stage like this, the final product will look different. 

Prototype 1 of Film

This is the first prototype of what direction I am leaning towards for the film that will be included in the installation. I had my model (Clarisse Casalino) play with a white sheer fabric throughout the space. It was my first time ever shooting video like this. I have been always nervous going about a production like this but I am very interested in creating new editions of films. In this film I wanted to again include features of optical illusions such has repeating certain gestures constantly and having them being reflected off each other. As I finished this video I realize there can still be an improvement in dimension. I want my film to be pulling the viewer into the center.  

Prototype 1 of Set Design

This is the another version of a prototype of how I envision my installation to be.

Prototype 1 of Garment 

This prototype is experimenting with new materials that I have not worked with before. I am interested in this semi-transparent vinyl because I do want the body to show but not fully. I then laser cut a very thin sheet of plexiglass into oval shapes and melted them onto the vinyl. One of the challenges I came across was that I was having difficulty getting the pieces of plexiglass to stick onto the material entirely. I am hesitant about using a type of adhesive because I do not want any residue from a glue to appear not the fabric. I would like to experiment with a thicker sheet of plexiglass as I believe they will melt more when I use the heat gun onto it so that it can stick to the vinyl in a stronger way. 

Prototype 2 of Garment

This is the another version of a prototype at a smaller scale using a wood model. I choose to use a small scale to get the general design of my garment and how I envision it. The previous prototype of the garment used a very thin sheet of plastic that was having issues with sticking onto the vinyl. In this prototype I used a 1/8 thickness of plexiglass. When using the heat gun onto this it turned out to stick stronger due to the thickness. The plexiglass does start to bubble when it continues to melt which I happen to love as a texture to the garment. 

Prototype 2 of Garment + Set Design

This is a small scale of what my potential installation would like. After creating the small scale garment for my wooden figure I started taking images of it, both full b body and close ups. I wanted to zoom in on the detail of the plexiglass to create textures for the videos being projected. I installed a mirrored mylar panel on the floor to create an illusion of the space appearing bigger than usual. While watching the animations being projected I especially love how the patterns on the garment were creating another design on the space itself. Also the videos of the figure rotating in space shows how much potential their can be when I use a live model for the life size scale of the final garment. 

Prototype 3 of Garment 

As I realize the importance of how exactly am I going to construct a garment, it was finally time to really experience how to use machinery that would help me get the job done and correctly. At the speciality sewing lab you see the large number of sewing machines that they have. Though since my material is a form of plastic and in is synthetic, I was then recommended to try out the Sonic Bonding Machine. This machine is very interesting because it only works with synthetic materials. I was informed that some other fabrics that contain other forms of material are okay but the fabric has to be more made up of synthetic material. In this case, the vinyl I am currently working on is 100 percent synthetic. The machine, does exactly what is in the name, it is bonding two forms of synthetic materials together. There is no thread needed for this machine. At this lab there are 3 different tools that cut the material in a specific way. I feel in love with this one because it cuts the materials into spikey ends. As I noticed the first seam that I made I knew that I wanted to have this all over my garment. In this prototype I was mainly investigating how this machine works and just playing around with the outcomes I was getting. I also was able to put together two small arm bands or they could also be short sleeves initially. After I put the two arm bands on me I noticed that they appear very strong and look like I am almost creating gear for combat. One of the main fashion designers that inspire me is Rick Owens. Rick Owens during an interview had said that he categorizes his clothing as "Power-Wear". I happy to like that name because it promotes the idea that you are ready to take on any obstacle that you may encounter. In my eyes power-wear gives of a strong and sophisticated look. As if you are a superhero. In the past stages of planning this installation I initially wanted to create a form of dress. Though after looking at this prototype that idea might change but I am not necessarily sure. I believe the two can be combined and I will move towards finding out what that may actually look like. 

Prototype 4 of Garment 

This prototype I was finally able to put the garment actually together without using any tape! Its a HUGE breakthrough since I do not have a lot of experience in fashion design. what so ever. This garment in particular has two types of vinyl. On the back we have the same material I have been using for past prototypes, on the front we have a smokey grey that is completely transparent. In the chest area I started adhering other organic shapes to continue my investigation of what kind of pattern I would like to have for the end product. In the color area I believe is my favorite highlight of the piece. I like that it has a high collar that almost covers your chin, there is a flab hangin down from the top on each side. It almost feels as if Maddy, my model, is being shielded from the outside world. I was always interested in hoods growing up so I feel that this is a reflection from that interest. I also love that their are two different shades of vinyl, I will be sure to continue exploring where I can change colors in certain areas in a more cohesive manor and that mimics that plexiglass designs that I am applying on top of the fabric. One last thought, I also came to the conclusion that my model will be wearing a neutral tone color scheme so that the audience can focus more on the garment itself and less on whats underneath it. 

Recap of Garment Prototypes 

It was very interested so far to see all three models in a row. Each one so far is a different exploration on developing shapes, material experimentation, and manipulation of fabric. There is something amazing going on on each different prototype. I have concluded that for my next experimentation of garment making I would like to actually take all three ideas of exploration and fuse them all together to see what that could initially be. I will be combining all materials in this picture together. That will mean that the garment will take an even bigger shape and I will then do a larger test of another model wearing the garment in a space. 

Prototype 5 of Garment 

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Prototype 5 of Garment in action

When creating new animations for this was eye opening for me. It was great to see a life size garment that I created in action, moving through the installation room that I created. These new visuals that were created really push the optical illusionist aesthetic that I want to achieve in the final product. I look forward to pushing forward with these designs and playing with the color theory to decide what really pushes this garment as a sacred, dark story that I want to tell in this garment and the next one to come. 

Prototype 3 of Set Design

For my process with designing my installation I want to continue the exploration of reflection. I have previously worked with reflective mylar for my Major Major show and would I realized is that having this reflective mylar in the space adds more dimension to the animations that I will be projecting. I feel that since my animations consist of repetitive design, with the addition of this reflective material will increase that repetitive action that I want to achieve. I was able to fill an empty with mylar. Covering both the floor and ceiling. As I started to put mylar on the floor I immediately saw light being reflected onto the wall, which in this case is a blessing in disguise. With the light bouncing onto the wall, when the projections turn on the lights from animation will create additional content that I will have to play with and see how I can use it to my advantage.

Prototype 6 

This is a revised version of my previous prototype. The pros in this iteration is that documentation has improved since it can be a challenge to document in dark environments. I am still juggling ideas around, how to really pull my audience in this installation. Now that I have a more clear direction of how I can execute my animations, I want to pin down an exact narrative. I want my animation to start off very soft and subtle, then transition into a large chaotic expression of body movements.

I recently showed Raul Lopez, the designer from LUAR this prototype and although he was very intrigued by the whole composition he gave me great feedback. He told me that it appears that I am very interested in the body movements and more of the idea of creating designs on the actual body and reacting them for the installation. This is something that I feel that I have not fully acknowledged in myself yet. But in the back of my mind I have a strong interest in performance. Not to take away from my interest in fashion design but by looking at all of these prototypes as a whole it appears to me that the most recent prototypes have been more focus on body movements than anything else. This also brings up again the idea of collaboration. While I have not presented the idea to Raul, but maybe I could collaborate with him by using his SS19 collection and creating an installation that incorporates the body movements I have been projecting. I believe strongly in Raul's vision for the brand I feel like this could be a strong community of practice that I envision my installation being apart of. 

Im obsessed with this video I just gave it more time to build a longer design and narrative to the footage I have taken. So far I have yet to take new footage because I feel like I I know how to create a video that I want finally so now I need to stop re iterating this and go back to the drawing board. Time to create the a new garment that has more precise detail and design all around the body and now put it to the stage and create more performances for new footage. I want this video to eat people up and spit them out. I want turn into someone else. 

Pop Up Show

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Wasn't a fan of the pop up show but I understood the value in it. Video wasn't done, final garment wasn't done. But at least people still came and saw. The room I was in was the death of me. I literally couldn't get an even floor to put my reflection due to the wires that are permanently attached to the ground. It was great to see my projections and the garment together. Though I will have to find a better solution to properly display the garment so that it flows with the animations. I just felt that the pop up show was geared toward user testing and that is not my intention. Since this is an art piece its more for people to observed and just take in what is being displayed