Constellation Reflection

During this last term of constellation, I have found it quite challenging to adapt to this idea of actually writing a ten-thousand-word dissertation. After being in China during the first term of this year, on Erasmus and writing an essay about my experiences only and not using academic texts to make an argument it has been some what of a struggle to get back into the rhythm. I decided to use my experience in China as influence for my dissertation, after working on a project that was based on space age fashion and gaining more knowledge of this topic over time I have become more and more infatuated with all aspects of the fashion and trend which occurred in the 60’s because of the space exploration. I started off going to the library and just taking out all the books which had ‘60’ ‘space’ and ‘fashion’ on the cover. With this I just took peoples statements, comments and opinions and wrote them up just to get me started. I was initially confused how to write a lit review, as there wasn’t much information actually written on the template to give details on how it should be written up. With this in mind I just started to collect different statements from different books which linked or made opposing arguments and re write them in paragraphs making different points. It made sense to me to put each paragraph in order according to my plan. I think the most challenging part of this was re writing people’s statements and argument because they were already well written and I’m not the best at words. To be honest I’m not sure if I have done this correctly so I was to speak to someone about this, as I don’t want to plagiarise, but I have re worded it to the best of my ability using a thesaurus and given the name of who said it, so I think this is correct for this proposal. After completing the majority of the section about space age fashion, still not yet with a firm argument, I decided to then compare this with another interest of mine. If I’m honest I’m not sure how I have gained so much knowledge of designers from Japan, after going to China. However, I have become increasingly interested in the work of Japanese designers for many reason. I recently completed a work placement where I learnt the art of Pleating with a company in London called Ciment Pleating. From my point of view, I can see a clear link with futuristic themes in both 60’s space age designers and Japanese designers that I have chosen. In the second part I took out books which gave me information based on these two Japanese designers I chose, which are Issey Miyake and Junya Watanabe. Both have similarities however are very different as one is younger then the other. I thought this would work as a good contrast in linking these futuristic themes threw out fashion history. Again I just found quotes and wrote them up in my own words, to make points about these designers. After competing this I had about one thousand five hundred words In my lit review which I was slightly concerned with. It makes me nervous to this that I cannot create the ten thousand words for my final dissertation. I don’t want to make my choice of designers to random or broad, but I have found a book that talks about future fashions and I want to include information about what they talk about, Idea’s of combining fashion with science for new purposes, which none of the designers I have looked at are using. None the less, I think this gives another argument. Finalising my argument, I have decided to argue what Space age fashion is, and how we are seeing these futuristic themes in fashion throughout fashion history, but I am specialising in looking at Japanese designers for the more modern designers. And I want to argue what futuristic themes are. I think this sounds broad enough to give me the word count I need, but not wide enough to get lost, because I think its easier to word when I have a clear set of instructions which is just me. Now that I have completed the proposal I think I am much more confident with the idea of writing a dissertation because I have done the bulk of the work I think. And I believe I know what the next steps are, but between now and the real hand in I want to focus on how to write quotes in text and how to reference different theorists because I would hate to lose marks on small things like forgetting full stops. I think my tutor has been helpful in terms of not stressing me out. I was concerned my friends were getting more work done then me, after being set it by there tutors. But I have completed the work with little stress and feel confident in my work and am interested in it. Which I think is important, as I will be spending a long time perfecting my dissertation. I don’t believe I will become bored of this topic. The idea of futurism in interesting to me, and will continue to inspire my work in subject and field for hopefully a long time.

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Screen Printing

During todays workshop day I attempted to get lots done in terms of final pieces, because I have  realised I haven’t got much time left till hand in and its making me really nervous. I started straight away mixing colours ready to screen print. and got stuck in using my two screens with my four layers of pattern to make my yellow printed design.

This was my first attempt at a layered pattern which I think worked well considering I haven’t been in the print room in so long however, there are a few issues with this print. Because the first layer is a plain square of paint, the other paint on top, although the first layer was dry, it just didn’t sit right and made the top layers bleed which I don’t like. Also because the design is so intricate on the third layer a lot of it hasn’t come out which is again disappointing, but Steve had warned me of this.

My next idea was to attempt to dye some fabric in order for it to be my background colour instead of using paint, because this should then hopefully allow the paint to sit nicely on top and not bleed. But with little time and equipment, Steve said I could only have one dye, I chose red in order to do this design.

This is pretty gutting, because I don’t think I can use this first yellow printed piece because it is of low quality. And the whole point of me putting this design on the screen was to create the colour ways for my final pieces. At this rate I think the best Idea is to print them off because the designs themselves look really good quality from Photoshop.

I also tested some foils on fabric to see if they were any better quality then the paper ones I had tested previously. I think this first blue one I don’t looks really nice (even better in person). The fabric is cotton which gives it a really nice clean finish with the dye. But the foils came out patchy, and it like light I think this looks really nice. Although this pink one is done on a very thin material and I think the paint wasn’t complely dry when I printed the glue on top making it very patchy. I think this Pink doesn’t work well as a background because its so bright.

When I got home from this disappointing day. I decided to continue drawing and creating motifs for more patterns, because this is what Keireirene said to me in my last tutorial. I went onto the website for Cyber Dog and took ideas and designs from there range of fashion and accessories. thinking about new fashion designs and patterns for new prints. Heres some of what I came up with.

WechatIMG5I became infatuated with this circuit board print which looks really edgy in different colours after seeing it on a pair of pants on there website. I started drawing more and more in my book and creating background patterns for other motifs on Photoshop which I think is a really interesting idea.

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Here are a few designs I created:

In particular my favourites are the one with the layers, especially this blue spaceship motif  behind the circuit boards, because only some patterns how up making it interesting to the eye. I also love this the two with the body motif’s because they work so well with the theme. the contrast with the colours and opacity on the second I think works very well. I look forward to seeing how I can use these designs in print and stitch.

 

 

Autumn Festival- The Forbidden City

Today myself, Rosie, Alice, Rob, George and Hongbon took a trip to Forbidden City. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, because before we went I had never read any of the history of the attraction. But since I’ve been home, I have read more about the attraction.

It was the Chinese imperial palace for the Ming Dynasty. It is Located in the centre of Beijing and now houses the palace Museum. It served as the home of the emperors and their households as well as a ceremonial and pollination centre for the Chinese government for almost 500 years.

The whole sight consists of 980 buildings and covers 180 acres. It consists of traditional  Chinese architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural development in East Asia and else where. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

It was much larger then I ever felt possible and the heat was just incredible. It took us 3+ hours to walk threw the whole of the sight. But the sights I saw were amazing. Like nothing I had ever seen before. The sheer amount of work that went into each and every building, and just how big the court yards were. It said online it took 14 years and over 1 million people to build the entire sight.

Way to good to be shown threw a picture. However, I took so many photos. Take a look:

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After we had visited the Forbidden City, Hongbon took us for dinner in central Beijing. Which turned out to be really good. We then found this market area where they had stalls selling bizarre food and more Chinese souvenirs. I bought myself some awesome looking chopsticks, a lucky cat and some panda postcards to send back home. I was super happy with my purchases today and I think everyday we are seeing more of the Chinese culture and exploring the city. I am really having a great time, I couldn’t of wished for better people to travel with me, and met along the way. But this is literally only the first week. We shall see whats in store for the next three months.

 

 

 

Constellation Overview

When we first started learning about subcultures, I assumed I was quite knowledgeable about this topic because I had studied sociology at A-Levels and we learnt about the Mods and the Rockers. Which I just assumed would be a standard subculture to learn about.

However, during these eight lessons we have talked about lots of different subcultures in depth and I have started to take my learning into real life situations and judge the fashion choices of some with the history I have learnt about.

My favourite subculture that we learnt about was Hip-Hop. ‘The capitalist boom of the 1980’s bought with it a focus on materialism’. The Hip Hop scene started in the hoods of New York and ‘competition was an integral way to [earn] respect in the culture’, Written by Whitley, referenced in a book called postmodernism. Style and subversion. (Whitley, 2011, p187).

We looked at the fashion aspects of this subculture. For example, the large bomber jackets that were branded and their chunky, long, gold chains as a significance of wealth. ‘proving one’s self worth…flaunting one’s belongings, branded goods’ (Whitley, 2011, p187). However, we can also see a trend of them wearing sportswear. Including the brand adidas, which is a sports brand. This is where I find it most interesting, because it’s a juxtaposition between the heavy chains and the sports wear. Obviously sports wear is designed for you to complete sports in, but wearing heavy, long chains around the neck, undermines the meaning of the sports clothes. I also loved the idea of this subculture making a status symbol by stealing things, in this case it was VW (vaults wagon) ornaments, from random cars within the neighbourhood. Projecting the idea that they are taking someone else’s wealth, and also allowing themselves the stupidity of wearing them in the streets during the day, in order to perhaps get caught by the police. I love the whole idea of contradicting themselves within the subculture. However, when I looked into writing about this subculture for my final essay, I couldn’t find much in terms of studies of books written about this subculture, in comparison to Goths, Punks, or even Harajuku.

I am also really interested in the skin head subculture which was popular in England during the 1960’s. I am really interested with their fashion choice of the skin head scene. When you look at past images of skin head gangs, the thing I love most is there choice of bleached jeans. We recently focused on denim in my Field module in Textiles, and I particularly focused on the manipulation of denim threw bleaching. I have a keen interest in this myself, so seeing something which you could say is current being portrayed nearly sixty years ago I think is great. When I was sixteen years old one of my friends decided to take it upon himself to look like a skin head, and at the time I didn’t even know what he was trying to achieve but when I ask him now, he says that he got into a different crowd and that’s what they all looked like. So clearly in these days maybe they aren’t doing it to rebel against the state, or at least maybe they didn’t realise that’s what they showing themselves to do. However, I feel like he pulled of the look quite well, and really showed that, that was the look he was going for. Right down to the the blood red Dr. Martens with the long laces tied around his calves.

While looking on the internet about female skin heads, I came across an article about a female skin head (http://www.merc.com/mercblog/merc-scenes—a-skinhead-girl ) basically telling the story of how she became a skin head. Within this article, she states that she has skin head friends, however she also hangs around with ‘punks, mods casual and everything in-between’. With my own previous experiences, last weekend I was back home and went into a rock pub with my friend who is into that scene of music. And while I was there I saw a group of three guys talking but all had very different looks. One was a skin head, clearly by his fashion choices and shaved head. I would say another was a modified punk look, with a piercings, and long beard and leather jacket and the last guy was very casual. Seeing these types of people all together makes me think there is no longer homology within subcultures today. If you look up subcultures within history is shows that they tend to stay within there ‘own kind’ of people who dress and act the same, and they would most likely never speak to members of other subcultures. However, from my point of view, it seems people dress the way they want to because they like this style, but with regards to belonging to a group, there fashion choices don’t subject them to hanging around with certain people.

I watched the movie ‘This is England’ and found it really interesting focusing on the skin head subculture and in particular the violence within this subculture. However, this is not the only subculture that participated in ‘gang’ violence. We also learnt about the zoot suit subculture which was around in America in the 1940’s. Particularly members were part of the African-American or Italian community. During 1942 riots broke out between the zoot suit subculture and service men for prejudice towards the Mexican American community.

During the first term we had a really interesting key notes lecture on the history of the Doc Marten boots. It was said that the original design of the Dr. Martens were made purposely to be worn for service men.  It was during the 1960’s and 1970’s that different subcultures started to recreate the boot to their own style. Dr. Martens claim on their website that they became ‘a symbol of self expression’, and individuality within a group. By the 1980’s groups had started to customise their own designs onto boots to make there’s stand out. I just think the history of these shoes is interesting because it’s the people they weren’t made for that made them a famous icon today. Furthermore, I like the idea how each subculture in British history have been seen wearing these boots but each in their own way.

Since starting this study group we have learnt a lot of key words that allow me to have better understanding of the theories:

Bricolage– a concept creating new meanings from found objects.

collective identity was less a question of belonging to just one group.

Fluid boundaries– there are no boundaries, no distinct look and no affiliation to one scene.

Homology– A group that share the same values- Group Affiliation.

Neo-tribes– Allowing members to wader threw multiple group attachments so that

Semiotic guerilla warfare– Antae establishment warfare, a visual trashing threw a style statement.

Subcultural Capital– What defines cool.

Supermarket Style– A modern concept that new subcultures take parts of old subcultures and re-work them into new styles.

 

Hegemony, Binary and Heteronormativity

Hegemony,

This Is the dominance of one social class over another. Not just political or economical control, the idea that ideologies are accepted as natural.

Binary

This is the idea that all elements of human culture can be understood in relation to one another. An example of this is the relationship between upper class an lower class.

Heteronormativity

This is the belief that society is built upon strict norms and values for different genders, meaning heterosexuality is the ‘norm’. Anything outside of this definition transgresses the ‘norm’ for example homosexuals and transgender.