Advice is a Form of Nostalgia

Manifesto – A Public Declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives.

They have the power to inspire feelings and thoughts into the reader/listener. If done well they can even change a persons life and actions.

My favorite Manifesto is and will always be “Sunscreen”(1999)  By Baz Luhrmann, ever since I first heard it around the age of six. I have slowly grown to understand more and more of it.  At six it was just a fun little tune, but with each year the words make more and more sense. My favorite part, “Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it, is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more then its worth”  Because its true. When ever we offer advice to our friends, we are always looking into our own experiences and what we did in similar situations. Even if it was something we didn’t think we had learned from or even if we had taken a wrong turn. We offer our experiences as advice. Our past is a very precious item as we look back with knowledge we wished we had when we were living the moments. But living is all about learning and making mistakes. If we knew what was going to happen through out an entire film, we wouldn’t enjoy watching it as much, But I think every one enjoys talking about a film after they’ve seen it.

With my Manifesto, I have to write for my capsule collection. I want to inspire my listeners and interest them, but I want it to be a personal caption of who I am as a designer.

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My First Fashion Sketchbook

I have finally completed my sketchbook! I think it looks pretty good, although it still has alot of textile influences in it. I think its a good basis to start developing my own sketchbook style. I found it very difficult to not annotate as much as I used to have to do in my old textile sketchbook. However, I enjoyed being able to design garments through out my research and using it to develop my designs. I have created this video so you can see the entire of my hard work!

Remember, Who you are!

I have been researching into the slave trade of Africans  and I came across a 6 part film series, all about a man named Kunta Kinte, and how he thought to be free, the film follows his bloodline.  It was wrote by a man named Alex Haley,  who had researched his own past after being told a story about a man being captured from Africa and he passed on his story so that his ancestors know were they had come from. I loved this film as it showed the true struggles of slaves, through there own eyes. It also shows how hard it was to keep your traditions and heritage, as american ways were forced upon Kunta Kinte including, changing his name, his language and even trying to change his religion. I think the beads in my work, should not only represent the chains but also the heritage and life they were stolen from. Each individual bead being a single memory, being held onto, to remain who you really are. 

Fashion is a Art Statement

Slavery is a difficult subject, especially when using it as inspiration, as it effected many peoples life  As I have started to look into the Slave trade beads and slavery. I wanted to research what other fashion designers have been inspired by the history of slavery, if any. After a lot of research, I came across a few examples of slavery in fashion, and what peoples reactions to the work was. For example, Adidas released a shoe, which they later withdrew, because people had felt offended and felt the company were “ignorant” for releasing such a design. The design in question was designed by Jeremy Scott, which featured a adidas high top, with bright orange shackles, the audience found the shackles resembled chains that were worn by slaves, and the bright colours seemed to make the shoes seem light hearted and jokey towards the horrible past of slavery  Although Jeremy Scott had stated that his work was in fact inspired by toys and his childhood memories. After looking at the toy he was inspired by called, My pet Monster. I can see how he came to his final design idea, with the use of purple and bright plastic orange cuffs. the toy being originally marketed as a toy for young boys in the 1980-90’s you can see why the shoe, is bright coloured and in fact doesn’t seem to hint at slavery in any particular way. I think the fault, was in the marketing as the shoe was pictured with the line “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?” This has no reference to the original source of inspiration and with just the words, “lock your kicks to your ankles” it sounds rather harsh and gives the image of imprisonment.

http://ca.shine.yahoo.com/blogs/fashion/adidas-shackle-sneakers-create-controversy-185000146.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2160977/Adidas-unveiling-new-trainer-orange-shackles-like-worn-black-slaves.html

I also came across Alexander Mcqueen 1997 spring/summer collection, which featured a model walking down stairs in a metal restricting manacle, which looked very difficult and even painful to walk in. Many of the audience and people who viewed it linked the idea to slavery, which Alexander Mcqueen denied, as he actually meant for it to imitate a puppets movement. As mentioned in the book “Fashion at the Edge” By Caroline Evans.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=w9Uu3CzAllEC&pg=PA142&dq=alexander+mcqueen+slavery&hl=en&sa=X&ei=cHORUODWNoHM0AWlq4GICg&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=alexander%20mcqueen%20slavery&f=false

http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/video/

I also came across another designer, Carlotta Actis Barone, who was inspired by slavery and racism, her colour palette for her outfits being different shades of skin colours. The clothing was inspired by slaves work clothes but she emphasised the size of the shoulders, which showed the muscle and strength the slaves had. She also used the slave for sale advertisements as undergarments. I feel this might be to show how we have tried to hide the past but it is still there in every one just beneath other things. I think she is brave to create a collection with such a controversial subject. Although I think fashion should be used in this way, if people do not bring up things from the past then how are we to remember them and learn from them for the future. We cannot hide everything. I think this collection is respectful towards the slaves, which I think needs to be done as these people suffered for no rightful reason.

http://katchmedia.wordpress.com/tag/fashion/

http://www.carlottaactisbarone.com/

The Melting Pot – Africa

After Looking at beaded items in the Pitt Rivers Museum, I have decided to research in particular the beaded products from Africa. I started my research by looking at a few books, “Africa – Arts And Cultures” Edited By John Mack and published in 2000, by British Museum Company Ltd. I found that most elaborately beaded items belonged to the kings of Africa. If any one was seen wearing elaborate beaded items, who were not of royalty were punished. In Particular, Yoruba people from Nigeria say “Irinisi Ni Isonilojo” Which means you are what you wear and that you wear what you are. Clothing is there to show the person behind the clothes. Also I found that the most significant item for a king to wear is the beaded crown, “ade ileke” There are two types, one used for public ceremonies and another used for court, The public headdress usually the more magnificent of the two.

19th Century Ade Ileke, From the book “Africa Arts And Culture”

Also the King would wear Beaded shoes outside of the palace, this is predicted to have come around during the 17th century as Kings, were required more and more to leave the palace and attend public ceremonies. I think these Items are all very beautiful and must of take a very long time to make, I love the colours that are vibrant but can be seen to be now rather dark due to age. I want to replicate this sense of authority and age in my own work.  I also looked at an older royal crown from the 15th Century, In Benin Nigeria. These were alot more basic compared to the 19th century and followed one colour scheme. This crown was made out of Coral, Agate and copper while the 19th century was made of Glass, Textile, Metal and cotton.  This list of materials clearly shows the difference in culture between places like England and Africa. English Kings were adorned with gold and jewels rather then coral and copper. Yet the African headdress’s seem more appealing and interesting to me, with there bright colours and imagery.

My sketchbook