Exposure – Ideas for Final Collection

I still can’t believe I am starting the last stage of my final year. It seems yesterday that I started Uni and it feels weird to imagine that I won’t be walking through these corridors next year. And here I am researching for my final project. It is so exciting and a bit scary at the same time. I hope I will be able to bring together my skills and creativity for an original collection able to deeply satisfy me. Especially during the last months, I had many ideas crossing my mind and I decided to share my main three:

1. ‘Origins‘ has been my main choice. My family has a varied provenance which I don’t have an in dept knowledge about, so I decided to learn more by doing a DNA test that proved my Hungarian, Romanian and German origins, in addition of another one which I never suspected, Greek. The idea was to take elements of these countries such as characteristic flora, fauna and objects and bring them together in an original layout.

2. The second idea was to explore a very beautiful but not well-known creature, the Sea Dragon and its habitat. There are many species, each one with different shapes, in a multitude of neutral and bright colors. It has been fascinating me since the first time I came across it a couple of years ago during other researches. However, as much as I love the sea and its creatures, I wasn’t so keen in exploring it for my final collection.

3. My third idea started to arise while exploring and researching into the ‘Origin’ idea. During my research about the fauna in Romania I came across the fact that a very important animal for the ecosystem has become extincted in the recent years. This led to unbalances for both flora and fauna, and brought me to learn more about the same situation in different countries. I gathered an amount of information and knowledge that shocked me and so I decided to make Critically Endangered Species my theme for the final collection.

Final Reflection on Consultancy Module

Both in my first and second year I have never considered designing for stationery. Until my first week of researching around this subject I couldn’t name a stationery company or designer that wasn’t Paperchase. Thanks to this Module I had the opportunity to explore areas that I somehow avoided, maybe because unconsciously, I thought, I placed it out of my comfort zone. In time I realised I haven’t been avoiding it, I just never considered it, like I didn’t really know it was out there as an option, as absurd as it might sound. Not until this module. And after all these weeks, at the very end of this new exciting journey I am definitely happy that I had the chance to do so. It gave me a wider understanding of the design industry and this for me it is very important. As it is important having new challenges. Theory is not enough for me so I very much appreciated how my course, my tutors, were able to provide such a useful life brief permitting us closure with people from the industry. The confrontation between the industry and the academic point of view about the collection was another valuable perspective that cleared my understanding regarding both worlds that are much alike in the process but can differ in the outcome. I loved the challenge in pleasing both sides while remaining true to my style and preference.

The need for challenge and to extend my knowledge is what made me chose fashion as the final outcome for my fabric collection. Fashion is an area that I always considered but never explored since I have been mostly driven by interior.

Drawing conclusions I realised that the process in designing for stationery, fashion or interior seems to me quite the same. Research is the foundation to build upon, the most important part that defines the road upon which to explore each individual’s creativity while not losing side from the chosen theme. Defining the target market and the client, creating moodboards to always refer to is another common part. Maybe some time ago there was a more defined line between these areas but not today where designers and non designers explore innovative ideas and challenge the status quo. Big scale is not only for wallpaper anymore and small scale is not for stationery anymore. The two collections gave me the opportunity to play with different techniques and scale that I experimented in both.

Overall I feel I am improving my understanding of the design world, widen my knowledge and refine my skills. I feel I managed to convey this in the consultancy module better than in any other collection and I also found I could express myself more than before. I suppose it is because experience makes us better.

I also feel I keep improving my professional and visual outcome. I saw expressions of amazement and heard some important comments around my work today that made me realise that other people appreciate what I have to give and I have to admit that this gave me a deep satisfaction and significant confirmation that I am on the right track.

 

Fabric Collection

After many considerations I decided for my final fabric Collection and as mentioned in my previous post, to design for the fashion industry. I found that my Hero and one of the Blender designs worked really well together for this purpose. I used Contrado to print my designs as it is the most renown among students and I already printed with them. However I recently found out about Fashion Formula and I will definitely give them a try since I’ve heard are much cheaper and also better quality. I chose Velvet for my Hero Berry Design and Silk for my Coordinate.

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Anda Avramescu, Digital print: Hero Pattern on velvet and  Blender Pattern on silk

I researched into WGSN regarding future Fashion Trends and I took inspiration from the Bomber Jacket that I found appropriate for my target market. The intense red it is also in  trend in 2020. The collection started to naturally come together.

What I was sure about from the beginning was that I wanted to digitally print my designs. As additional techniques I first considered flocking on the black berries, on a silk fabric, and cording along some of the branches. I then opted for a velvet fabric and the use of leatherette applique on the black berries and used the same technique for the branches.

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Anda Avramescu, Leatherette Applique on Velvet

I loved the play of light and dark among the shiny velvet and the matt effect of the leatherette. It also matched my theme which also included ‘Light’. As for my blender I decided to print on silk, imagining it as a scarf to go along with the jacket. At first I planed on stitching along some triangles of the design but then I opted for a more simplistic approach since my Main one would already be more elaborated.

I really wanted to actually create the Jacket but since I also had to also focus on refining my Stationery collection after the final feedback from the IG Design Group, there wasn’t the necessary time to create it from scratch. The collaboration with one of the fashion designer students has been precious both for the research of the garment and also the creation of the 2D prototype that I planned to make and display. Considering all variables I found it to be a good compromise between the finished garment, that would require too much time and a Cad Visual, that wouldn’t really represent my idea. I felt I needed to see the final outcome as I imagined it, to fully understand the process and mostly to understand if the outcome would equal my expectations and my imagination. And I have to admit that it did, and even more. I was pleased to see my idea and print come to life. Seeing a simple square of printed fabric or seeing it as a garment, with all the surrounding elements can totally change a design.

For the display, my first instinct was to use a mannequin but considering that I would only create a partial, simplistic 2D view of the garment I wanted to create something that would match that feel. Looking through the sketches of the fashion design student I collaborated with, I fell in love with one of her sketches so I scanned it in and created an illustrator file and laser cut and engraved it. The creation of the file took me around half an hour and the actual cutting and engraving took around 1 hour and 45 minutes, besides some minutes of testing on smaller pieces. All worth it.

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Anda Avramescu, Sketch of a girl, laser cut/engrave on 3mm mdf

 

 

Revisited Stationery Collection after last feedback from the IG Design Group

The feedback received from the IG Design Group was invaluable. Having an industry related approach in the critique of our work was really important to me to move from a purely experimental and artistic academic approach to a more marketable collection. I considered every point discussed both with them and the tutors and made my evaluations every step of the way through a balanced approach between the market, the brief and remaining true to my style.

  • The first important point to consider was the number of my designs. While this wasn’t a problem for other students, I understood it was for me because of the complexity of my designs. Having 9 complex designs gave a feel of dispersion. While analysing them with my tutor, I realised that some of them might even create a separate collection on their own.  So I cut the collection down to 6. I gave up on one of my main designs, the one I found to be less original and skilful. I kept all three of my secondary designs and I cut 2 of my Blenders. It was more difficult to let these two go since I personally liked them but having analysed the why I just saw them not belonging in the collection anymore. The result of this choice gave the unity I was looking for and it gave to each design more consideration than before:

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  •  In the process I realised I haven’t made my own ribbons even though I used an effective one for the collection. I found this to be a another good opportunity to experiment with various techniques. Since I was laser cutting various other things I asked myself why not laser cut a ribbon as well and so I did. I actually loved it after painting it. I then found myself among beads and payette in look for inspiration and started to hand embroider my second ribbon. I was a bit sceptic about whether it would also be appropriate for a male customer as well but the combination of copper beads with the black ribbon gave the balance between a more feminine technique and a more masculine/neutral colour. The angular designs of the constellations I represented did its job, while the transparency of the ribbon gave that elegant and sophisticated touch I was looking for. As for my laser cut ribbon, I wanted my embroidered ribbon to be double faced. In fact I worked on both sides  with the exception of the copper thread that connects the beads once on one side and once on the other for a more interesting effect. I found it more appealing to a high end market both as ribbon to wrap gifts or as handles for the gift bag. I combined copper and blue/violet colour for my third ribbon.Untitled-3I decided to use the ribbons on some of the gifts and also as handle of a gift bag but I also wanted to display them as a distinctive item so I laser cut some transparent plexi glass for the display, designing it based on my gift tags shape;
  • Another point was to slightly change the contrast of my secondary mustard berries design and eventually the blender berries to give more space to the main designs to show. This consideration though changed radically after refining the collection, interchanging the designs and making some colour balance considerations so I decided to leave them as they were. All the collection has come together harmonically and each design gave just that right amount of colour needed for the whole to be balanced;
  • I considered my bows and how they would be attached to the ribbon. Regarding to my ceramic star bows I decided to attache a handle underneath so a ribbon can easily pass through. This way the ceramic artefact can be reused as bow or as ornament. To my origami bows I attached a foam pad so it can be easily attached to a gift;

I wasn’t totally happy with my gift tags so I ended up with loads of experiments till I found the one that would satisfy me in dimension (not to big or too small considering that was also going to be used as book mark), in thickness of paper and details. Too much detail would create an imbalanced value and too less would not be considered for a high end market. I also opted mainly for the mustard secondary designs for the majority of my tags to create a pleasant effect with the quantity of this colour used in the hole collection. I also considered the back of the tag and rounded the corners.

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6. Since I did some laser cutting for my messages for the greeting cards, and had some spare ones, I decided (following a suggestion) to use them on their own as an added value to the collection. Customers would be able to purchase and apply them on their gifts, to give that little attention and sophistication more thus keeping in simple, just hand written words with a delicate copper metallic finish. I also considered the packaging which I laser cut on thick card after printing the background of my blender pattern on it. For the words I used 3mm mdf, light and strong enough to serve the purpose.

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USP – As by my presentation and feedback from the Design Group, I have multiple Usp points which makes the Collection unique:

  • such as my Fluoresent (glow in the dark) paper clips
  • my Theme which is an original interpretation of the earth and the cosmos through connections that are related to human connections as well as human and nature through organic and structured elements.
  • A dual purpose gift tag that can be used also as book mark
  • Ceramic bow that can be reused as bow or as ornament. The purpose, as well as for the gift tags and wrapping papers is to purchase something precious that can be kept or reused.
  • Not only a visual but also tactile  feel. For this I used embossing and flocking in my stationery collection, that reflects and absorbs light in line with my theme that involves Light.

To these I added:

  • Wood Greeting elements that can be purchased separately and attached to whatever gifts. It is for an all year round collection so considering the actual Christmas Holidays I decided to make some greeting tags for this occasion. This can be extended to Birthdays, San Valentines day and all other holidays through greetings that can give clients the opportunity to express their wishes to their loved ones.

Professional Practice VI – Fashion Marketing

The lecture with Jemma was about Branding. We partially discussed about it as did in the previous lecture with Sian, but this time we went more in depth regarding its creative features and more specifically, the ones of the fashion industry.

She started with the definition of branding, which is:

“A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark” (The American Marketing Association)

A Brand is much more than a just a LOGO, it is more than a NAME or the PRODUCT itself. It is actually all these together plus a substantial element, the emotional association that goes with it when we see the logo, the name or the product of that brand. Sometimes it is an irrational or intangible feel that goes with it because of the social environment, the political environment that was born or that led to its foundation. And this or other important factors can lead that brand to take on a symbolic meaning that goes beyond the product or service delivered.

 

Branding is important for multiple reasons:

  • It helps customers differentiate between the various offerings in a market.
  • It enables customers to make associations with certain attributes or feelings with a particular brand.
  • If this differentiation can be achieved and sustained, then a brand has a competitive advantage.
  • Successful brands create strong, positive and lasting impressions through their communications and associated psychological feelings and emotions, not just their functionality through use.

For further reference see Baines, P., Fill, C. and Page, K. (2011)

At the question ‘What do you think are the world’s most valuable brands?’, most of us wrote down almost the same names like Apple (first on the list, it’s worth 184.154 $m), Google, Coca Cola, Amazon etc. This list is updated on an yearly basis including mainly technology related (part of the market that has more revenue and is constantly growing – to consider when setting up a business)

A successful Brand should be:

  • Compelling
  • Appealing
  • Relevant
  • and have a lifetime potential

The Concept in its ideation reflects through:

  • Name
  • Country of origin
  • History
  • Story
  • Visual image
  • Logo
  • Colours
  • Shapes
  • Language

As all lectures, I found this one very interesting. You can always get something useful from each. It is also very helpful when going over the same subject from different points of view. Hearing the same elements from different people helps me distinguish the most important characteristics from the less relevant information out there so I can make a better choice of how to prioritise when creating my own brand. Because branding is a process.

Ideas for Fabric Collection

I considered many combination for my chosen two designs for the Fabric Collection. After designing for interior and stationery, I now decided to design for Fashion to widen my understanding of the marketplace and experiment with all categories. I plan on print my designs digitally and apply further print/stitch/laser cut techniques. Ideally I will be collaborating with a Fashion Design Student to help interpret my designs from a fashion point of view. I plan to deliver, besides the two fabric samples required, also an A3 sketch of a model wearing the garment I imagined for my fabrics. Time permitting, both mine and of my fashion design colleague’s, I would love to make the final garment in real size or on the mini mannequins from the Fashion Design Course.

The first option is one of my two Main with a secondary. I would print them both digitally.

  • I would hand embroider on the main one on the veins connecting the berries, and here and there inside the single berries. I would then add french knots on the background and on some berries with a metallic thread. In addition or as an alternative I would use flocking on the black berries;
  • I would use the Devore Technique on my secondary patterns by applying it to the white berries or in alternative to laser cut the white berries, placing behind them an organza fabric.

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The Second Option sees together one of my secondary patterns and a coordinate. I would digitally print them

  • I would then work on my main by hand stitching black leatherette strips along the lines of me sacred geometry pattern;
  • I would use red hand stitching along the red triangles and adding some red, consumed effect foiling spots.

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The Third Option as well starts with digitally printed designs. I would combine either my main with my red coordinate or with the purple secondary design

  • I would use foiling on my triangular background grid and leatherette stripes on part of the dark squares;
  • I would use red hand stitching along the red triangles and adding some red, consumed effect foiling spots;
  • I would then work on my main by hand stitching black leatherette strips along the lines of me sacred geometry pattern.

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My Final Choice is the combination of my main berries and the red coordinate:

  • I imagine my berries printed digitally in large scale where the biggest berry is as large as the palm of a hand. I would hand embroider on the main one on the veins connecting the berries, and here and there inside the single berries. I would then add french knots on the background and on some berries with a metallic thread. In addition or as an alternative I would use flocking on the black berries;
  • I will digitally print my coordinate and probably leave it this way without additional work so it can fit properly with my more sophisticated main design.4.jpg

 

 

 

Professional Practice V – Smart Textiles

This session was about smart textiles. We watched a 46 minutes video, that I’ve already seen years ago but not fully understood. I found myself in this session looking at a totally new video. The two years and a half spent in this university has given me multiple elements to understand the language and the mindset used to approach this thematic and I really hope I will find myself in a position to materially work with these kind of materials.

Part of the research I started in Pinterest: