Final Major Project: Personal Evaluation




After deciding on my theme of Voyager with two contrasting looks of a holiday voyager look and a migrant voyager look I started looking for visual research for inspiration.


I used both primary photos and secondary photos. For my primary photos I used photos I had taken on my sailing holiday in Greece, I was inspired by the crisp turquoise sea against the white sail boats and white houses. I then went and took photos especially for my project at Alnmouth beach, focusing in on particular details in the sailing boats like the ropes and different knots used. I then responded to these thinking about how I could then use these as details within clothing. I wanted all my photos to be of good quality so instead of using my phone I used a Canon camera.  I also took primary photos of art exhibitions I visited, such as The Biscuit Factory where I was particularly inspired by the glass work and its reflective quality and sea colours.


For my final show I want to have photos of my dresses on a photoshoot so am planning on doing this during the half term. I want my photoshoot to be a location photoshoot at the beach rather than at a studio so that it really emphasises my theme. I have found a photographer to take the photos for me to make sure they show the outfits I have made in their best light. At the moment I am having discussions with the photographer showing him the poses I wish to take, so he knows which equipment to take for these poses. I have asked him to take some tester photos on the location of Blyth beach without the model first, so I can discuss the best places within the beach to take the model to.


I used a variety of sources for my secondary photos, using books and periodicals from the library, leaflets from galleries, images online such as Pinterest, Vogue, WGSN and charity sites such as Amnesty International and screen shots from YouTube talks.


I then created mixed media responses to all my visuals. I created detailed pattern responses to my primary photos using fine liner. I created responses to my secondary photos using collage, coloured pencil, watercolour, pen, samples and fabric swatches. I feel my most successful drawing responses were the fine liner responses to my primary photos as they have a strong sense of pattern and detail which I could easily transfer into ideas for details within my dresses.







For context, I used a variety of sources thinking about both conceptual context and how this could be translated into visual context. I created two contrasting narrative books for both of my holiday voyager look and my migrant voyager look. I focused on the senses thinking about feelings, smells and sights collecting visuals that expressed these building a narrative around each theme. I then used a research book to document all my research from the internet, galleries, libraries, periodicals and videos. For context and to gain a greater knowledge on the migrants issue I visited exhibitions at the Baltic gallery, The Tyneside Gallery and The Hatton Gallery. I found the Tyneside Gallery exhibition particularly interesting as it showed videos of people talking about their experiences, which allowed me to feel connected and empathise with them. I would like to put some of these quotes on posters around my exhibition allowing the viewer to understand and empathise with the migrants. I also looked at Amnesty International to see what was already being done to create awareness and help. One poster that particularly stood out to me that was created by Amnesty, was a photo of hands in chains. These chains then become a feature within my outfit design being knotted within my macramé sample to create a meaningful belt.


For visual inspiration for my holiday look I visited an exhibition on David Hockney in London, I loved the beautiful blue skies and reflective waters which expressed that lovely serene holiday feeling. I used this beautiful blue within my final design for my holiday look when creating a blue panel on the back of the dress embodying that beautiful holiday sea blue.


For designer research I looked in books and periodicals as well as online. I looked at Tommy Hilfiger and his heavily nautical inspired stripes. I then looked at Versace’s sea themed collection featuring nautical knotted ropes with flowing white fabrics. I loved the contrast of the very stiff ropes against the soft flowing fabrics. So, I took this idea further looking into the book, The History of Fashion, looking at the Ancient Greeks and there long flowing white dresses.  I then looked at Comme De Garcon for how you can take these flowing white fabrics and manipulate the shapes, layering

them to make them more sculptural embodying shapes of sails. I also looked at Alexander McQueens shipwrecked collection looking at how you can take these flowing white fabrics and tear and rip them to make them more relevant to my migrant look.





I wanted to explore a wide variety of materials and methods allowing me to use trial and error to find which ones worked the best, so I could then take the best forward to create my final designs. I started by creating both drawing responses using a variety of mixed media approaches e.g. collage, watercolour, pencil, fine liner, chalk, ink. I really liked both the effects of the fine liner allowing me to create intricate detailed response which links well with the intricate details and textures within the ropes used for sailing and the ink which allowed me to create more flowing abstract watery loose mark making responses, which links well with the sea imagery collected in my research.


For samples I explored the technique of macramé and rope knotting, looking in sailing books I got from the library and tutorials online on how to create these techniques. I tried this technique out with a variety of materials from electric wires to rope. I decided that the macramé was more relevant to my project that the wires as it linked better to the ropes used in sailing. I then tried the technique out with a variety of ropes. I tried both chunky and thinner ropes, I found thinner ropes worked better as you were able to create more intricate knot details. I then thought about using contrasting ropes for each of my themes. For my holiday look I used pure white rope that were silky in texture and had a slight sheen to it. For my migrant look I used rougher textured rope, then used a tea bag to make it look more old and faded and sprayed it red to suggest blood and danger. I then frayed the edges to give it a worn feeling. After researching into Amnesty International and looking at the poster of chains I added chains into my macramé knots intertwining them within the rope. I felt these two contrasting rope samples worked the best out of all the samples I had tried as they emphasised the narrative behind my theme.


I then took these samples forward to be used for my final designs by using moulage to experiment with how these samples could be used as outfit details and how they would best sit on the body. I found the most effective use of the macramé for my migrant look was as a belt detail and for my holiday look as a pocket detail within the folds of the fabric.







I first created my narrative books and research book to jot down all my initial ideas and research, I then chose my best research to put in my main design book. I then started responding to the research in my main design sketchbook by creating imagery using mixed media drawing techniques and samples. I created samples using macramé techniques, knitting, hemming wire and painting onto lace. I felt the macramé was the most successful and the knitting the least as I decided to design for spring/summer so feel knitted items would be too hot. Then after choosing which were my best samples of macramé I started thinking how these could be used within my final designs using moulage. I then used tracing paper creating three pages on each of my looks of rough sketches of outfit ideas that would incorporate these macramé samples into the designs. I also looked back at my historical research on the Ancient Greek dress and designer research for inspiration on long flowing white fabrics which drape and hug the body, that could be used within these design sketches. I annotated these design sketches thinking about the materials and methods that would be needed to make these looks. I then looked at my design sketches and chose my favourite looks to take forward. After this I chose the fabrics I wanted. For the migrant look I chose a crinkled cotton as I felt a creased textured look would work well for this. For my holiday look I chose a silky satin material as it felt more luxurious and it shimmered the way the reflection of the sun shimmers on the sea. I used moulage to find which sketches worked the best for a final design. My favourite for the holiday look was a design that used a lot of draping, the shape was like the waves of the sea. I also really loved the macramé being used within the folds of the fabric, like a pocket detail, emphasising the beautiful folds further. Then for the migrant look I chose a look which had lots of layering and drapes like the stormy sea and it had the macramé detail as a belt which worked well with the chain dangling down from the belt. I frayed the edges of the migrant look to give it that worn breaking away look, whereas for my holiday look I hemmed over the edges to give it a more smooth luxurious finish.




I made sure I chose my strongest ideas throughout by creating lots of different ideas then comparing and reflecting on the success of each of them and only choosing the best to take forward. I believe the macramé technique was the strongest visually and linked to my project well with using ropes to make it that would be used in sailing. Through doing sketches of ideas for design and shape of my garment I was able to pick the best design idea to take forward. I also made sure to look back at designer and contextual research for inspiration when creating these designs, being inspired by the Ancient Greek flowing fabrics and the sculptural folds of Comme Des Garcons. When creating my garments I came across problems I had to overcome, for example for my holiday look the rope macramé pocket detail was weighing down the fabric and pulling the top of the dress out of line. I solved this problem by adding a bra insert which took some of the weight, as well as improving the shape of the top of the dress, thus improving the overall quality of my dress. To make sure my holiday look didn’t fray at the edges I hemmed it keeping it smooth. Where as for my migrant look I wanted it to appear rougher so left the edges raw and frayed them to emphasise this further.


I have followed what I set out to do in my statement of intent by making sure I keep up to date with my blog and annotation and exploring my theme of both holiday and migrant looks further. In my project proposal I spoke of trying to find a way to both contrast my two looks yet give similarities. I feel I have achieved this by using similar techniques with flowing white fabrics and folds as well as macramé yet giving them different finishes and using different materials showing a contrast. I used more rougher ripped and frayed fabric for my migrant look and smoother lines and silky fabric for my holiday look. In my time plan I put sewing and making down as the last thing to do however I decided to change it slightly as I didn’t want to rush the making process. So instead I did my making process a bit earlier and finished off my illustrations and annotation after, once I knew the making was complete.








To keep my presentation and ideas clear I used a variety of sketchbooks for different purposes. I had two narrative sketchbooks one for each look, keeping my thoughts on each clear and separate. I then used a research book for all my research collected then a main design sketchbook where I picked out the best research to respond to and develop further into my final work. I used white card boards to display my samples on choosing the best techniques from my sketchbook to display. I created mood boards and colour boards to display my initial visual ideas. I created illustrations for both my looks allowing me to show the narrative of my looks through the expression and poses. I created flats separately allowing you to see how the garment could be made up.


I experimented with laser cutting, creating a cardboard banner with the title of my project ‘Voyager’ and created swirly indentations within the sign like waves which could be used as a sign in my final show. I also used some of the quotes from Amnesty International which I thought viewer of my show may be able to empathise with and experimented on InDesign on how these could look if created as laser cut posters.


For my final show I looked both at past graduate shows for inspiration and went to sea themed shop SeaSalt and took photos for ideas on how to present a sea themed collection. I am planning on having two mannequins to display my looks on, as I feel with the draping quality of my garments they would look best on a human form rather than a hanger. I am planning on having a divider between the two looks made with a sailing pole and a fishnet draped across, emphasising the contrast between the two looks. I have sourced the fishnet material and sailing pole online so know it is available and intend on ordering it. I am planning on sticking up my illustrations and boards both on the fishnet and on the white board behind, with washi tape in the colours of my colour scheme. I will probably also staple behind the washi tape for extra support. I will have a small table where I will lay out my sketchbooks for people to flick through. I want to put in a rail with hangers, to hang my samples on so people can get them out and look at them individually, allowing them to feel them and see the intricate details.



At the start of my project I had very little knowledge about the migrant crisis, only knowing small bits I had picked up on the news and not really knowing fully where I stand on the issue or how big the issue was. Through reading newspaper articles, researching into charity Amnesty International and visiting exhibitions about the issue, my knowledge grew. I learnt that most migrants don’t have much choice in leaving and would love to return home if they could. I learnt that lots of these migrants get injured and killed taking these dangerous voyages showing it is an option that people don’t turn to unless desperate. But even when they have arrived in their new country they are often the victim of racist attacks and people sometimes see them as selfish for leaving their own countries and using our space and see it as a choice rather than a necessary. It was through learning all this I realised what I wanted to do was create an awareness through my designs as I felt if people are more aware that it is not usually a choice, they will be more sympathetic and more eager to help. I felt by contrasting the look with the holiday look I would be able to show how little they really have compared to others and how we must try and share our wealth among them, instead of ignoring the problem because it doesn’t affect us.


I feel throughout my project I have improved, starting with the very basic macramé rope samples just using plain rope to developing into using contrasting ropes with chain and fraying details. When starting with my holiday look I found the satin difficult to work with because it was very slippery but I overcame this by tac stitching it before sewing it so the material didn’t move too much and pucker when sewing it.


Overall I feel proud of what I have achieved as I feel I have managed to communicate both the holiday feeling and the migrant feelings and show them as both connecting and contrasting by using similar techniques but with different materials. I feel I have successful created a sympathetic awareness of the issue and hope it will inspire people to help.





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