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Throughout the fashion culture class, I have learnt many new things and made numerous discoveries. One of the main areas that really influenced my life and knowledge in the field of fashion design is the practice of making and producing knowledge as I pursued various research topics. I was able to encounter different scholars and designers as I went through their views on fashion. I made explorations and analysis using the questions presented by these scholars and researchers concerning creativity and innovation in the field of fashion. In my first menswear Sawarovski project, I was able to learn many things. This essay is a reflection of my learning experience from different designers on my first Sawarovski project.
One of the things learned from my experience in the Sawarovski project, is that one can use their strong emotion to a theme to link with the function of a design. Developing a theme that can be easily linked with its functional design is not something easy especially when an individual is inexperienced in the designing of a particular fashion. In my design project, I had a strong feeling that people need to be made aware of the fact that culture is a very important aspect of the society; I felt that it was not right to change one of the main societal norms that has been around for a long time now. Changing the way Hong Kong children learn by introducing the use of simplified Chinese characters is not right. This will be a slow step towards wiping away of the Cantonese culture. Therefore, this reason propelled me towards the development of my design project through the theme of character assassination. My intention was the development of small fashion collection that would be an expression of the need for protection of traditional Chinese characters. Since I was not sure of the steps I was following in the development of my design project and lacked enough motivation to progress, I decided to consult our school professor from whom I learnt many things.
I learnt from Lucia Cuba that it is possible to be successful in fashion design by following the critical approach where one uses garments as performativity and political devices. I understood that one could use different forms of draping and design to give greater visibility to their case. I realized that I was on the right track and the fact that I had a strong emotional connection with my theme was an added advantage, as I would input more efforts in development of a design that clearly brings out visibility to my topic. My encounter with Lucia Cuba taught me that fashion design is a free field where one can apply any theme to develop a unique design that matches their own wants but is still attractive to people. I learnt that combining one’s feelings with their creativity led to the creation of a unique design that would create a mark in the local and possibly international fashion design industry. I learnt from my Lucia that in the development of various designs, one should focus on their own gut feelings, as the market is wide. There may be individuals at the start of the project who cannot see the uniqueness of the design project in the initial stages but once the project moves from the theoretical to the practical part, they will start noticing the unique properties of the particular design and are more likely to buy the idea of the practical design. It is necessary that a fashion designer employs different multimedia in the expression of their collection. I learnt from Lucia Cuba that having a collection show for one’s designs is not sufficient. A fashion designer needs to provide speech that expresses the idea behind their design. For instance, the idea behind my Sawarovski project was a protest against the proposal of introducing simplified Chinese characters. Many people would find it difficult to understand the expression of this idea in a fashion design. However, I learnt that using multimedia material such as speech and videos; I would be able to express the idea so that people found it easier resonating with my design. Sponsoring celebrities to express my design would also be helpful in reaching a large audience.
In the development of my design project, I learnt numerous things that will be very beneficial in my future design projects considering that this was my first attempt in designing menswear. I learnt that the proportion of surfaces used is very important in the actual message that the design will be sending out to the masses. For instance, I intended to show that introducing simplified Chinese characters to schoolchildren would lead to damage of the existing Cantonese culture. Therefore, I had to develop two-dimensional surfaces that are a presentation of the partial and impeding damage to language and culture that was likely to happen if the proposal went through. The use of the two-dimensional surface helps in the development of a clear picture of the likely situation after the proposal is implemented. The ability to blend those surfaces in such a way that they bring out the real message, which is the likely destruction of memory, is one of the things I leant in this design project. Initially, I never imagined that I would be required to use two-dimensional surfaces to create a design that was supposed to send a single message. I never imagined that it would be possible even though I learnt about it in class. However, when it became apparent that my theme was unique and required the use of two-dimensional surfaces, I decided to give it a trial and the results were amazing. I was able to learn a lot of information and skills in a single project that never imagined would happen when the fashion class started this term. In the development of my design, I was able to learn how to use latex and corrugated paper to create contrast in texture. I have always imagined myself as this creative but weird designer whose wild imaginations would be the epitome of his designs. However, this design project removed me from the imaginative sphere and brought me to the world of reality where I had to develop a design that is both appealing to people and presents a specific and unique message. I had to learn how to blend two materials so that I could achieve just one effect in the garment. I researched various sources, read different fashion materials until I was able use latex and corrugated paper effectively so that I developed a design with the correct contrast in texture. The contrast was very beneficial in the illustration of the difference that exists between the traditional Chinese Characters and simplified Chinese characters.
In the development of my Sawarovski project, I collaborated with Parsons Project from the influential fashion educator Shelley Fox. Through Fox, I was able to improve my design project so that it reached a level that is acceptable in the current fashion market. It is fair to say that I learnt several things and was able to apply some of them right away while others are stored in form of knowledge and I will get to apply them as I progress in fashion design. One of the main things I learnt from Fox is the idea of being a self-critic. Being self-critical places me at a place where I am aware of my position in the fashion market and the whole world at large. As a fashion designer, I should first accept any form of criticism directed towards my work as it makes me realize that I am working on a valuable piece of work. Therefore, once it comes to my realization that the value of my work will live on, I will be able to look into any form of criticism positively and use it to develop my work into a better piece. I also learnt that as a fashion designer, I should be able to balance between being a practitioner and a researcher. As a practitioner, I will be able to maneuver through the fashion industry with ease as I engage various other designers and other key parties in the industry. On the other hand, research will enhance the uniqueness of my designs, as it is vital that one stands out in the fashion industry. Research will prevent me from regurgitating the usual designs that every other designer is developing. Fox also made me realize the importance of developing your own identity. As a designer, there are unique characteristics that one must possess. These unique characteristics represent the creativity power that is innate to oneself and are likely to express themselves on all the works that have been created by the particular designer. According to Fox, a fashion designer who has developed their identity is capable of creating their niche in the industry such that by the time they decide to retire or leave the industry, their name remains forever. Therefore, I decided that I would ensure that I utilize my creativity power in such a way that I will develop my identity. All the fashion designs that will be my creation must possess a unique characteristic that can only be identified with me. I am certain that this will be possible through continued practice and improvement of my overall knowledge.
In the development of my design project, I visited Cooper Hewitt Design Museum to learn more from the works of other designers. My visit was fruitful as I learnt a number of things that helped me improve my project and gave me the confidence needed to proceed with my first ever menswear design. The first thing I learnt is that there exists a wide range of design topics and one should not be limited by the mainstream designs that are found everywhere in our society. There are unique designs that are based on ideas that are beneficial to the society. Some designs are developed with ideas that affect humanity such as human rights, climate change, health matters, and history. These broad topics encouraged me to proceed with my project that was unique as it intended to promote an idea that vouched for protection of a culture. At Cooper Hewitt, I went on to learn that as long as the idea behind the design is meant for the greater good of the community, I should proceed with the idea. I also learnt that design thinking is a beneficial field where apart from acting as a platform where I can express my creativity, it also enhances my critical thinking, use of various technologies, and improvement of my creative problem solving skills. I also learnt that the fashion design industry is a huge industry that accommodates a wide range of people and plays a very significant role in our society. Looking at the numerous fashion designs that have been developed over the years, I noticed that the fashion design industry is a reflection of our culture as one can see the evolving designs as years pass by. The way people live and dress today is defined by the fashion that is developed today. Therefore, as a fashion designer, I realized that I have a huge role to play since I will influence our culture in many ways over the period that I will be developing various fashion designs.
The Sawarovski design project has been very significant in the improvement of my fashion design skills. It has helped me gather vital knowledge that makes me feel like I am now a part of the fashion industry. I am comfortable with my ideas and I feel more confident in my approaches. I can now handle a wide range of ideas and can freely engage my brain so that it develops the perfect design for the moment. I have learnt to embrace my creative thinking skills and allow my mind to be as free as possible so that I can develop designs that are only identifiable with me. I have realized that as fashion designer, I will have to work hard in doing more research so that I can sharpen my skills since learning is the only way one can move a step ahead. This project has opened my path in fashion and I am sure that my next design project will be better and more creative. The design project has made me realize that fashion design can be an enjoyable journey where the creativity of mind leads to the development of a certain pieces of garments that might end up becoming a huge part of our culture and thereby, shaping the history of our nation and the world as a whole.