Style Concept

I've been blogging for 6 years, at times more regularly than now. When I started I posted lots of outfit photos, as that was what my blog was about mostly - a sort of fashion diary. I used to spend an afternoon every few weeks just creating outfits with my clothes, trying out things, and if I liked them I'd take a picture. Basically a styling exercise. The act of taking a picture helped me remember an outfit, and posting it to my blog enabled me to quickly search through the outfit tag whenever I didn't know what to wear.

After a few years of blogging, at the end of 2011, I became a little obsessed with the idea of a wardrobe planning computer program or app, but back then none existed. I wanted to have a way to scan through my wardrobe while I was shopping, to make sure I didn't buy things that don't work with anything. So I made a private tumblr, uploaded pictures of my clothes and tagged them, so I could search by color, style, season etc. I got some use out of that, but I soon lost motivation to photograph and upload every single thing I owned.

When I started blogging in 2009, during my exchange year in the states, my style was a bit "unfocused" I think. I just wore stuff I liked, things that made me feel a certain way, but I didn't really think much about "outfit building", which isn't surprising, as I was just 17. Only through documenting what I wore and writing about it on a blog (a very small one) did I become more aware of what kind of feeling I wanted my clothes to evoke in me. I started wearing dresses, lots of them! I fell in love with vintage fashion, and because I'd see vintage clothes (and new ones too) on other blogs that I could never own (one of a kind or way too expensive), I started sewing.

Sewing vintage inspired clothes (mostly late 50s and early 60s, Mad Men era I guess :)) taught me so much about sewing and fashion (like how fit is important! And that certain store bought clothes don't fit right on my short-waisted torso). I loved the dress-up aspect of it and learning about fashion history, I liked that the clothes made me feel feminine and grown-up, but in an elegant way and not super sexualized. I guess from the age of 18 to 21 that was what I wanted from my clothes, that's how I wanted to feel and be perceived. Of course I also wore "normal" modern clothes, I wasn't at all super strict about always dressing vintage. I wore lots of jeans and tank tops, but the outfits I carefully picked out and loved the most all had a vintage vibe to them I think.

But most of the dresses I sewed during that time are not very comfortable, as they all had tight waists. I suffer from chronic back pain, and many of the dresses would make the pain worse. I also stopped wearing high heels regularly, because they too worsened the pain.

In 2013, a few months before my 22nd birthday I finally got my hair dyed white, after thinking about it for about 2 years. This changed a lot for me, fashion wise! I went from having dark brown hair to this very flashy haircolor (white, light blonde, pastel pink and purple), and suddenly many colors in my wardrobe just didn't work on me anymore. I think this started my "style transition". Shortly after that I went through a break-up, sold or got rid of many of my clothes and a few months later I went from working at a jewelry store to studying an art foundation course, where practicality became important (I didn't want my dresses to get dirty). So basically a whole lot changed for me.

During the entire art foundation course I felt kind of lost fashion wise. I was suffering from "I have a closet and many boxes full of clothes and nothing to wear" - luxury problem I know. I started sewing things that were very different from the vintage style dresses I used to make (like the Armor Jacket). I stopped documenting my outfits (well, really that started in late 2012), mostly because I didn't think they were that special. I introduced new things into my wardrobe, like black (I rarely wore black when I had dark hair), leggings, crop tops, jersey and other modern fabrics, and in general more casual, modern items. I still loved vintage fashion, but I didn't necessarily want to dress like that all the time anymore, and it started to feel like a costume, something I hadn't felt until then.

My old clothes also felt too "nice". I had started to become more secure myself, and more vocal about how I wanted and didn't want to be treated by others. I wanted to be taken seriously, something I have always wanted, but I suddenly felt like my clothes were holding me back from that, they felt too "pretty", too cutesy and too harmless. That was not how I wanted to feel about myself, I wanted to channel a different kind of energy or attitude through my clothes. I still like cute, and happy and pretty, I just needed a different "dosage" of those things.

Well, I finally went about rethinking how I want to dress. I loosely followed tips from Into Mind, a blog about wardrobe building, to create a "style concept". She has a ton of articles, and reading through them really motivated me to do this. It is work, in a way, it takes time but it was so worth it. I think my concept is self explanatory, if you want to make one of these for yourself, definitely check out Into Mind! It's basically collecting inspiration and then culling every unnecessary image and organizing/analyzing the rest.

Most of the "basic pieces" are things I own and love to wear. I think there's still a lot of vintage influence in there, but it's split up, it might be just a silhouette or a color combination or material. I think I've also shifted more towards the late 60s early 70s for inspiration, and I'm pretty sure Megan Draper has a lot to do with that :)

I've already sewn an elastic harness (to hold my phone while I work, because I often have no pockets), and I plan on experimenting with making jewerly. I've also finally found a wardrobe app for my iPhone that I love! I might post about it soon. I've just finished my first semesterproject, so I have time to update the blog a bit and share stuff from school (like a bag/backpack I made!).

Posted on January 26, 2015 and filed under outfits, process.

Crystal Collages

Another way to design: collage! As minerals inspire me, and I wanted to use "crystalline volume" for the witch look, I printed a couple of crystal images, and made collages.

The first row are the collages, the second and third row are each side of the originals mirrored. This was a fun and relaxed way to experiment and come up with ideas. Obviously the finished clothes won't look like these collages, but it helps you get ideas for the silhouette or texture and proportions. I used an illustration I made a few months ago as a base to collage onto (as I'm not that fast at sketching bodies).

Posted on December 13, 2014 and filed under design school, process.

Balloon Styling

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The above photo by Nick Knight inspired me to experiment with balloons to find a silhouette for the Empress look. So I bought tights and ballons, and asked Pauline to be my model once more.

She asked me to block out her face, and I think it actually makes the pictures creepier which is good! I mirrored the images, which is why her hair looks like princess leia's, also a plus :) This styling was another attempt to visualize how I felt after the feldenkrais exercises we did a couple of weeks ago, when my shoulders and hips felt very big.

Posted on December 12, 2014 and filed under design school, process.

Concept Moodboard

At school we've started our individual projects for the semester. Above is my "concept-moodboard", where I tried to organize my school work from this semester and everything that interests and inspires me right now into a mind map, to help me figure out the theme for my project. The central keywords are "virtual - space - aliens - magic - monocoque - archetypes".

We have to create 3 looks, and I chose 3 tarot cards as the basis for the three looks: the Magician, the High Priestess and the Empress.

Except I changed the magician's gender and made her a witch. These three characters are the archetypes I want to research and work with.

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At the moment we're all in the "research" phase, meaning we have to research our theme,  experiment with materials, silhouettes & colors, and test ways to present the looks (we have to come up with a key visual). We have to produce as many sketches as possible. And by sketch I don't just mean illustrations or drawings, but also photographs, collages and three dimensional sketches, basically anything to visualize and test an idea.

I'm struggling with this a bit, especially the presentation part (whe have to present the looks to our teachers and make a key visual). I know that to test an idea, discuss it with other people and compare it with my other ideas, I have to have some visual representation of it. But I find it frustrating when these sketches don't live up to the images in my head, so I spend way to much time on trying to perfect them. Time I don't have, because it's quantity over quality at this stage, and I shouldn't be wasting so much time and energy on an idea that might not be the right one.

I used to have the same problem with sketching (and this time I mean 2D drawing). But once it "clicked" in my head that a sketch is more of a means than an end, I started to really enjoy it, because I didn't put so much pressure on myself (also, I realized I dislike pencils and much prefer fineliners!). I was more relaxed about it, if became fun, I did it more often and I started to get better. I also started to really like the imperfections in my sketches. I hope I'll get to that point with design research as well.

Since this is pretty much all I'm doing right now, I'll be sharing the process here. I don't have time for "personal projects" next to school work at the moment, so the blanket coat will have to wait...

School: MONOCOQUE & CHAIR-NESS

The above photograph and sketch are from a class called "body comprehension/understanding" (translated, in German: Körperverständnis). Among our teachers was a Feldenkrais-Instructor who did exercises with us, after which we'd have to try to translate how our bodies felt into some sort of body-based, three-dimensional collage, using whatever we had - tape, paper, fabric etc. It was an interesting, new approach to design for me. We do a lot of these "impromptu collages and stylings" at school, and it takes some getting used to, because you only have very little time to complete them, and they never look quite like I want them to. But I'm trying to accept them as three-dimensional sketches (rather than anything finished) to work with later on, I have to let go of the "do everything perfectly" thing - there simply isn't enough time to fully develop an idea before you know if it's worth it design wise. In this phase of the design process it's quantity above quality, and that's something I need to get accustomed to. Need for speed!

These are some more sketches from school. We had about half an hour to style each other with whatever clothes we had on, and objects in the room, so I dressed Pauline up in a chair and lots of scarves and sweaters (see the three black an white photos). I really liked the chair outfit! It made for some interesting poses haha. Then we went to see a shoe exhibit at a muesum - it was amazing! The collection had some historical shoes and some really crazy new ones. My favorites:

"Black Crystal Meth" by Kermit Tesoro, "Ring" by Peter Popps, "Nunfides" by Valentini Argyropoulou, "Nova" by Zaha Hadid (my absolute fave!), "Juxtapose" Marieka Ratsma, "Blackmouldedleathershoe" and "Pressedleathershoe" by Marloes ten Bhömer and "Feather Men Shoes" by Aki Choklat. Also check out these shoes by Joyce Verhagen, I didn't have time to sketch them:

They're made from those rubber ball toys!

So after sketching our Stylings with different shoes and accessories, we had to work on different silhouettes. Basically you just keep redrawing the silhouette with varied lengths/volume/colors/texture, or use collage to develop different ideas and keep drawing and transforming that silhouette until you have enough material to work on the most interesting ideas. Again, I was not as fast as I could have been, had I not tried to be so precise. But it's ok, I'll learn, I'll get faster, and I still like what I ended up with.