Monday, 30 January 2012

Application of Design

For our latest module we have to design a new product range for the A/W 13/14 season. The range has to be made as if it were for Marc Jacobs, I wouldn't have chosen this brand myself, but as this is a group module, and there were few designers to choose from, I had little say. 

Our range is going to be for a trend (I dislike designing for trends, it seems a little bit too premeditated and preachy) entitled 'Sublime'. According to WGSN this is going to be a trend based on 'an ethereal feeling' with 'subtle undertones'. 

This is the moodboard I have created based on what WGSN describes 'Sublime' as - I've gathered various images which I think convey the tones and palette of the trend. Hopefully once I actually start designing I will be able to put a little bit of my own stamp on the work - so far it all feels a little bit too prescribed by what the 'trend' dictates.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

ReFusing Fashion: Rei Kawakubo

ReFusing Fashion: Rei Kawakubo is a book published in 2008, to coincide with an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, to celebrate the work of Comme des Garçons founder, Rei Kawakubo. 

The majority of the images in the book are taken from inside the exhibition at MOCAD, the garments are displayed in strange surroundings, with little in the way of explanation behind the concept. Visually the exhibition looks exciting, there is colour everywhere and unexpected items placed around the room.

Whilst the book doesn't contain a thorough walk through on the previous collections of Comme, it does however provide a detailed bio of Rei. Much like Martin Margiela she is infamous for her lack of public appearances and unwillingness to give interviews. The book goes a long way to explain her desire to design - and her strong views on culture as a whole. While some of Rei's ways of working are detailed, it's not an autobiography - and Rei is still tight lipped about her inspiration during designing.

"I couldn't explain my creative process to you. And, even if I could, why would I want to?"

The book also has a great section on surrealism, and the role it plays within the Comme history. The whole reason for Comme is the challenge tradition, and to present a new way of thinking, be that through fashion or otherwise.

Friday, 13 January 2012


Function & ‘Art for Art’s Sake’.

In the text Quinn argues, “the visual exchange of life now takes place in ‘hypervisibility’.” (Quinn, Techno Fashion, pg. 57) - that everything we do is now exposed to some form of observation, regardless of our desire to be involved with it or not. It has now become almost impossible to live our life without having our interests, actions and beliefs monitored in some form – be that through video cameras, satellites or computers. Due to this ever increasing observation of our lives, a new sub-genre of clothing has evolved that challenges the traditional intention of clothing.

Clothing acts as a kind of flag that people wave to inform others of their social category – whether intentionally done or not. For example, people who work in an office will wear a suit - nobody has specifically told them to wear a suit, however they do wear it because it is a way of fitting in, to wear something other than a suit would be viewed as an act of rebellion.

The label ‘Vexed Generation’ produce clothes which are designed to be ‘anti-surveillance’ – Quinn describes their clothing as;

“…a form of communication and resistance that can initiate long-term changes to the social infrastructure.” (Quinn, Techno Fashion, pg. 65)

That the garments are produced using cutting edge materials, such as Kevlar, means that their prices are set very high – this means that only a certain few in society will have access to the clothing. This instantly reduces their effectiveness to ‘initiate long-term changes to the social infrastructure’ – how can something have an affect on society if the majority of society cannot access it?

Wearing ‘Vexed Generation’ clothing would have a completely contrary effect to their original purpose, the clothes are meant to make the wearer become incognito, and to be hidden from surveillance – however the design of the clothes is so dramatic that the wearer would be an instant target for surveillance. They become a contradiction to themselves, because they make the wearer stand out from the crowd, rather than blending in.

Due to their ineffectiveness as both affordable clothing, and as “stealth utility” (Techno Fashion pg. 68), the clothes become more a piece of art rather than functional clothing. Their focus on function is so extreme that they become un-wearable on a daily basis, and therefore turn into a vehicle for making a social statement.

Quinn writes that the designer Katrina Barillova does not accept this notion of combining fashion with ‘urban stealth’;

“Clothing identifiable as being technologically equipped attracts attention and could make the wearer a walking target.” (Techno Fashion, pg. 73)

Barillova states that fashion trends move along so fast, that to have defined criteria of what constitutes discreet clothing is pointless – one season’s version of stealth clothing could become next season’s ‘on’ trend, and then the market would be flooded to the extent that everyone would be wearing similar types of garments, therefore completely negating the original concept and intention of the design.

Rather than viewing technology as something inherently evil, Barillova, unlike Vexed Generation, sees it as something that can have a positive use for society;

“I could see how surveillance technology could help to solve problems in everyday life, and how this would move technology forward into the future.” (Techno Fashion, pg. 72)

She makes the point that rather than letting the technology control us, we should use it in a way which helps us to “track our environment” (Techno Fashion, pg. 72) – essentially to use the surveillance technology to help us move around, to study where the camera’s are and to learn our environment. This turns the notion of who is watching who on it’s head, with the supposed ‘target’ becoming the observer.

Monday, 9 January 2012

GFW Concept Promo Video

This is the video I made to promote my concept for Graduate Fashion Week. I wanted to video to start slowly and then to build to a crescendo. I deliberate made it to be abstract, and to raise more questions about the event, rather than to answer them.

Video filmed and edited by me using Final Cut Pro.
Song; Roly Porter - Tleilax.

GFW Concept Video from James Holden on Vimeo.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Light Aquarium Research Book

This video shows my research book for the Fashion Concepts and New Media brief. Video edited using Final Cut Pro.

Light Aquarium Research Book from James Holden on Vimeo.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Home Studio

This is a song I recently recorded. It's basically a nod to Sunn O))), lots of guitars tuned low and layered on top of each other.

Norma by Jimmy Holden