Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chalk it up to Experience

I've had another loss in the competition realm.  I did not make the second round on the Hand and Lock Embroidery contest.  Do I feel bad?  NOPE.  Just add that to my bag of tricks that I can do.  From that Contest I went WAY out of my box.
- Made a neatly constructed tunic out of silk organza which is really difficult since it wants to move like Water as soon as you put the pattern down on it.
- I have a new pattern for english smocked mutton sleeve
- Brushed up on my beading abilities
- Brushed up on my fur cutting and hand sewing skills
- Learned to make cording from scratch
- Learned to hand sew cording and the historical differences between knots
- I have a new cropped vest pattern that fits very nicely
- Learned to dye fabrics using a combination of acid dyes and fiber reactive dyes
- Learned the do's and don'ts of dyeing yarn

I feel like not winning is never a negative thing.  There is always something learned in the process.  The trying itself is an exercise in self control and goal completion.  

Also now all the pressure is off so I can totally re-work the collar to something I will wear and also bead the hell out of that vest without worrying about my time restraints or what the contest guidelines are.  Thank goodness I left the top seam open!

Can't Quite remember where I got this from but I loved the Snippet! (I feel like I got this from Flamestitch)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Being a Bag Lady

As my summer is in full swing I find that I am in need of some new bags.  My current knitting/all purpose bag is a wreck.  While the whole of it is in good condition the straps are what seem to break on me consistently.  On my previous Jane Marvel Market Bag the straps broke off and I replaced them but that was a lot of more that I do not want to go through again.

BUT Once again CSN Stores has been gracious enough to provide another opportunity for me!  I skimmed over there bags and there were a TON of things for under $50 to choose from.  The hard thing is that there are over 200 mini stores associated with CSN so the potential is endless from dining room setsshoes to industrial storage lockers, it is very easy to get lost in the endless shopping possibilities.

I was good and stuck to the Bags and though not all of them are for the purpose of replacement I can't help but adore these bags and I'll tell you why for each one!
These bags have ample space, simple design and I'm loving the High Gloss look, which would also make it easy to wipe down.
This cute Striped number caught my attention with it's subtle pleats and matching striped handle.  It also has a reinforced base and construction is always crucial to me when shopping for a bag
The most Classic looking tote bag in my opinion.  You can never go wrong with such a classic style in a variety of colors.  It also nicely folds up to about the size of a wallet

This silly tote just caught my eye for the summer in it's eye popping pink with the oversized rosette attached to it.  It would be the most perfect swim/beach tote.  I like to have something with an open mesh that way all the wet thing can still get some air to dry and any sand can sift itself out.

My FAVORITE of the bags I have looked at so far.  I love the retro design and how the simple color contrast catches the eye.  I would collect and get every single version of Pam Am bags if I could.  There is a huge selection of different types throughout the CSN site.

Finally not as pretty but super practical for my needs are these wheeled totes.  I foresee a lot less back pain for me by having these at hand to cart around my school supplies and craft supplies.

I'm excited to see how my new bags hold up under pressure.  I'm going for the Pan Am shoulder bag in White and I think both the EZ crate cart and the Polka Dot shopper.

Which Bags would you get?  Or is there something else in their Bag section catching your eye?  Tell me about it I'd love to know!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Haute Couture - What it really is ~rant on~

One of my biggest pet peeves is people misusing words because they do not bother to educate themselves on the meaning or value before they use them.  I feel like ignorance and laziness are a big factor into this.  If you are a professional in a designated field then you really need to have all the definitions, and vocabulary covered for what you do and what you are involved in.

One of the biggest and most aggravating words that I see tossed around the fashion scene/industry is the word: Couture or Haute Couture

Wikipedia has the best simplified definition of this below:

Haute couture (French for "high sewing" or "high dressmaking"; pronounced [ot kutyʁ]) refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Couture is a common abbreviation of Haute Couture, which refers to the same thing in spirit.
It originally referred to Englishman Charles Frederick Worth's work, produced in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. In modern France, haute couture is a "protected name" that can be used only by firms that meet certain well-defined standards. However, the term is also used loosely to describe all high-fashion custom-fitted clothing, whether it is produced in Paris or in other fashion capitals such as Milan, London, New York, Tokyo and Madrid.
The term can refer to:
-the fashion houses or fashion designers that create exclusive and often trend-setting fashions
-the fashions created

In France, the term haute couture is protected by law and is defined by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris based in Paris, France. Their rules state that only "those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves" of the label haute couture. The criteria for haute couture were established in 1945 and updated in 1992.

To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term haute couture in its advertising and any other way, members of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture must follow these rules:
-Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
-Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time.
-Each season (i.e., twice a year), present a collection to the Paris press, comprising at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.
However, the term haute couture may have been misused by ready-to-wear brands since the late 1980s, so that its true meaning may have become blurred with that of prêt-à-porter (the French term for ready-to-wear fashion) in the public perception. Every haute couture house also markets prêt-à-porter collections, which typically deliver a higher return on investment than their custom clothing [citation needed]. In fact, much of the haute couture displayed at fashion shows today is rarely sold; it is created to enhance the prestige of the house [citation needed]. Falling revenues have forced a few couture houses to abandon their less profitable couture division and concentrate solely on the less prestigious prêt-à-porter. These houses, such as Italian designer Roberto Capucci, all of whom have their workshops in Italy, are no longer considered haute couture.
Many top designer fashion houses, such as Chanel, use the word for some of their special collections. These collections are often not for sale or they are very difficult to purchase. Sometimes, "haute couture" is inappropriately used to label non-dressmaking activities, such as fine art, music and more.

With that being said I really really wish they would push terminology on the students more in art schools and other fashion programs.  I wish in my heart that the French Commerce would ban together and take legal action against people misusing such a sacred and honorable reputation and affiliation.  Something similar to when they cracked down on the black market fakes and reproductions in Asia and China towns in the states.

It kills me even more to see it so widely misrepresented in my own home town.  I always ask my High School Students and even Adult students if they know the meaning and 99% of the time they don't, they think it means "high fashion" or "Runway fashion".  Another big kicker is on the news when they are doing their little "fashion" segments and they are using the word couture to describe something.  A lady from WBNS I believe used it during her presentation of the CCAD Fashion show this year.  I'm sure it has happened numerous years.  I choked and winced as soon as the words escaped her mouth.

To me it really is a slap in the face of countless generations of couteriers, tradition, and fashion history itself when people throw this word around. 

Below are current and past Member's also pulled from Wikipedia

Members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture
The fashion houses listed on the definitive schedule for Haute-Couture Spring/Summer 2010 are:[3]

Official members
Adeline André
Anne Valérie Hash
Christian Dior
Christian Lacroix
Dominique Sirop
Franck Sorbier
Jean Paul Gaultier
Maurizio Galante
Stéphane Rolland

Correspondent members (foreign)
Elie Saab
Giorgio Armani
Maison Martin Margiela

Guest members
Adam Jones
Alexandre Matthieu
Alexis Mabille
Atelier Gustavo Lins
Christophe Josse
Felipe Oliveira Baptista
Jean-Paul Knott
Josep Font
Josephus Thimister
Maison Rabih Kayrouz
Marc Le Bihan
Chanel Joaillerie
Dior Joaillerie
Mellerio Dits Meller
Van Cleef & Arpels
Loulou de la Falaise
Maison Michel
On Aura Tout Vu
Recent Guest members have included the fashion houses of Boudicca, Cathy Pill, Richard René and Udo Edling,[4] as well as Eymeric François, Gérald Watelet, Nicolas Le Cauchois[5] and WU YONG.[6] In the 2008/2009 Fall/Winter Haute Couture week, Emanuel Ungaro showed as an Official Member.
Former members
Donatella Versace
Elsa Schiaparelli
Emilio Pucci
Chado Ralph Rucci
Erica Spitulski
Erik Tenorio
Fred Sathal
Guy Laroche
Hanae Mori
Jean Patou
Jean-Louis Scherrer
Lecoanet Hemant
Loris Azzaro
Louis Feraud
Marcel Rochas
Nina Ricci
Paco Rabanne
Pierre Balmain
Pierre Cardin
Ralph Rucci
Yves Saint Laurent
Gai Mattiolo
Anna May

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Quick whip of inspirations

Before I forget and before I lose these images I just need to post them and hopefully remember correctly the credits from the fellow bloggers/designers I got them from.

Cat Bag

Crazy Knit Cape

Reminder to make leg warmers and attempt Ruffled Leather probably in the circular flounce instruction from "The Art of  Manipulating fabric"

Love the drape on these shorts.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Q & A

Just thought this might be a little fun for you guys out there.
I had this sweet girl Lindsey in my High School 10-12th grade fashion workshop last week and for her senoir thesis she is working on a fashion portfolio.  To go along with the portfolio she has to do research and she asked me these following questions.  My answers are injected after each one.

1) How did you recognize you want to teach art? Recall what caught your interest in the field of art.

I remember having some amazing and encouraging art teachers of my own and wanting to give that same positive experiance to other young artists to let them know there are other options then normal university. As for my interest in Art, it was just always there. I loved colors and the way that people would express themselves through their art work.

2) How would you define fashion design?

Fashion design is designing clothing to follow or create trends, to inspire people by dressing them into garments that change their mood and other people's perception of them.

3) Do you agree that learning how to draw the human figure is essential to fashion illustration?

Yes, learning to draw the human figure is the basis for a lot of art, it helps you to understand movement, shape and muscle/structure. Even if you are drawing only the surface of garments you need to know how the bones and muscle hold it up and let it drape around the shapes.

4) What is the most important thing to learn in the field of art?

Drawing the human figure in my opinion

5) How important do you think art education is to becoming a better artist? Do you agree with the statement hard work beats talent?

Educating yourself is always the best way instead of just relaying on talent. If you have talent but can not reference or cite other current or past artists then you have no ground as an artist yourself. You have to be aware of what else is going on in your field before making judgement statements that are potentially damaging to your career.

As for hard work beating talent that is not usually the case in the art world. Just like some people are born atheletes some people are born artists. They have the innate ability for it which for some just can not be developed.

6) How do you differentiate your instruction for different skill levels?

Well each class has it's parameters that are expected of the students regarding skill level for my classes but of course there are always a mix of people above and below these. I clearly tell each class what the parameters are so that the people above the skill level realize what they are getting into as well as the people below. I do my best to work with both and make sure that they are satisfied with their experiance in class. I ask a lot of questions to make sure they are understanding what is going on. If they are confused or have another project I make time before and after my classses to meet with these students for individual help.

7) How did you decide you were interested in fashion? What did you have to do to get to where you are today?

I always loved to dress up and loved dressing up my barbie's and stuffed animals. I think it came from growing up watching soap opera's with my mom and seeing them all stylish and dressed up for everything. As for designing I figured that out in High school when I started to explore and take different art classes and learn other art forms outside of school as well.

It took a lot of hard work and confidence to get where I am right now. There is a fine line between confidence in your work and cockiness. If you know your talents, your history of the subject and your objectives you can be confident with where your work fits in. I worked very hard throughout high school and College to get to my level. I had to apply to my art school 3 times before my portfolio was accepted and I changed and improved it every time. In college it was always difficult and cut throat because you are competing against your classmates for competitions, scholarships and internships with designers while still trying to maintain friendships and professionalism. I also worked part time jobs outside to pay for my school supplies. Over night studio time was another staple into what I've become and the desire to learn. You have to be open and willing to ask your insturctors lot's of questions to get the most out of them. Learn from their years of knowledge before you make significant mistakes. After college it was motivation to get myself noticed. I do this by being active in the local art community, participating in photo shoots and applying to international design contests.

8) What might happen if you combine figure drawing and fashion design?

That is the basis of all fashion illustration. If you take it literally then you will have realistic figures dresed your designs which is a style few fashion illustrators use but it is out there. Check out "The Big Book of Fashion Illustration" to show you some ideas of how it is used.

9) Can you explain in your own words the process of fashion design? Can you describe the methods you use and why?

I always start with a mood board and theme. You have to have to make the theme very centralized because it is easy to interpet something completely different from beginning to end of the process and then your first and last piece will never connect. Currently I am working on a sea creature/sea anemone theme with a lot of knitwear. Being specific you might think puts you in a narrow viewpoint but that is when you have to expand your creative mind.

For example the Sea Anemone.
How does it move in the water then how does that translate to a fabric, I probably want to use something more fluid like a silk or light cotton that has movement and drape.

What are the colors and why? well usually the bright colors represent a poison or camoflague for protection, what do we clothe ourselves in for protection?

What are the shapes and patterns in the creature itself? It has repetative tentacles/arms, almost always symmetrical and circular or tubular shaped. So that will be the basis of my designs and how they will form and associate with the human body.

For the design you take one small specific thing and expand it until everything is exhausted. Sometimes it is just a word and how it affects you and others and what comes to mind with the word.

After I have my theme from that I usually have a good idea of my colors and fabrics, sometimes I need to add more in to make it more cohesive. Then I start to draw and figure out how many pieces I want to create and who my client is and where they would where it and when. Some people change their client base with everyone collection. I like to keep mine to a set range. I design for the fashion forward avant garde collector from their mid 20's up to the late 40's. Someone who wants to be comfortable yet still fashionable which is why I use a lot of knits. My client is a professional and involved in the arts or an art lover in some way shape of form.

Then I begin to drape or Knit my pieces together. It is all very organic though. I will start with Sketches but a lot of times the pieces come out very differently then what is illustrated. I prefer to drape rather then pattern draft in my work because I am a sculpture based artist. I was originally a sculpture/fashion double major in college and then Fashion was so time consuming I had to give over on Sculpture.

Everything is created by me from start to finish, every seam and stitch. I've had interns before but it took more energy to teach them my methods and studio style then usable work that I got out of them. For what I do it just was not worth it for me.

10) What is the importance of fashion design? How does it impact society?

Fashion design is a visual art just like everything else but it is one of the few that everyone is a victim/patron of. Clothes are neccessary in our society and you can portrayed by what you wear. Your choice of the clothing is very definate for a reason whether you know it or not. Everything trickles down from the Pret a porter fashion shows you see on the runway. It was explained perfectly in "The Devil Wears Prada" when Meryl Streep is describing to Anne Hathaway how her choice of sweater was actually chosen by someone from their magazine months before hand.

The way a person dresses always has a huge impact on how you feel about them. First it's the colors. You see Red and you think hot, sexy, out there. You see blue and you think normal. calm, peaceful. Then with different necklines and skirt lengths you add in other associations such a plunging neckline versus a turtle neck. The psychology behind what we wear and how we dress is all due to fashion.

**I feel like having someone so young interview me has been fun and refreshing from the questions that you might not normally get from an adult.  I think that answering an adults questions you assume that they already know a lot of the subject.  While having a kid interview me I have to think of how to explain things in terms that are more simplified and use a lot of examples that I wouldn't when talking to an adult.