MoodBoards

My Moodboard is the result of the research I have been doing regarding my theme and the layout of my designs. It represents the critically endangered animals I decided to focus on and the nature they live in, where the man has trespassed, contributing with deforestation, to the extinction of these and thousands of other species. Even though my focus is even among the 5 species, the Giant Ibis, Hawksbill Turtle, Primates, Honeybee and the Sumatran Tiger, I decided to highlight only one, the tiger, in order for my moodboard not to get too busy but mainly to be almost surprised when discovering the other animals while watching the board more closely. This is the feel I also want to give through my designs. I have researched into several designers, illustrators and companies and found some designs that better reflect the nature and animals in a damask inspired layout.

Mood Board 2

My Colourboard reflects the concepts I have been reading about in WGSN through several reports. As explained in my previous blog regarding WGSN I have been looking at it from a totally different perspective than I did until last term. While it has been mostly about colours and a certain theme, this time I went way deeper, trying to get to the core of the why of certain colours and themes. I discovered how a growing number of people are more inclined now to look at sustainability in many different ways, regarding fabric but also colour. Neutral and earthy colours means less artificial pigments while digital is preferred to screen printing because more environmental friendly. A few reports talk about inclusiveness and how seasons are overlapping. Cool colours flow into summer while brights in winter. Brights are not only for teenagers anymore while gender neutral colours are becoming more requested, reflecting the society we live in. Transseasonal is another important terminology that keeps popping up in different reports. All this has brought me to chose a colour palette that reflects nature, neutrals and gender neutral tones for a transseasonal look with a touch of red and orange bright. Something that might appeal to both women and men, both for Summer 20 and winter 20/21. Black has also aquired a more natural and worm tone, in fact total black it is really hard to find in nature and while using it in all of my previous collection I felt it needed refinement. White has been also part of all my previous collections while now I have decided to worm it up with some orange, the same as the black. I also liked the idea of the Nature facing Humanity.

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The Clientboard represents my client which is both male and female over 30 years old with a bold and sophisticated aesthetics. They are professionals who own their homes, therefore are willing to spend more in order to decorate it with own taste reflecting their personality. They love to travel and being in contact with nature. They bring their laptops everywhere they go, to never miss the chance to enjoy their surroundings while keeping up to date with their work.

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Learning to Draw

In an interview, Paul Simmons and Alistair Mcaulei, that form the Timorous Beasties team, said that nowadays there aren’t many artists capable to draw. This made me realize how little time I have spent on developing my drawing skills and that I was actually part of that category that they described. However it was after a discussion with the talented Jenny Evans, 2018 Textile graduate from Cardiff Met, at a Mingle event held by the Centre of Entrepreneurship, that I truly realized how important that was. In fact she told me how companies approached her for interviews during New Designers, because of her sketchbooks. This happened last year and in that same moment I decided that I had to start learning to sketch and draw and so I did. I found lists of artists that gave free tutorials, on different websites. You Tube is a very useful place to learn drawing while hearing about best materials and tips. Instagram has many short videos of work in progress that I find extremely useful.

These are just a couple of tutorials I have been studying with great results. Especially the first one really helped me to start fast sketching with a few initial lines the shape that defines the bird and how to continue with the details.

 

 

 

This has helped me to understand more the perspective and lighting and also to notice those little details that characterizes the subject of my drawing. I used a mix of flowers and birds I did to construct the first hand repeated pattern with Sian that has proved to be very useful.

 

 

Research Part II – Damask and Artists

The V&A has a large collection of damask motifs. What I love about it is that besides finished patterns, it also holds a big amount of work in progress sketches that can give me a better idea about how single elements are placed into creating the intricate and sophisticated look of the damask layout. I realized that a vast amount of these designs belong to Scottish artist Joseph Neil Paton while finished designs, to William Morris, which then I have also decided to investigate further. William Morris is also one of the designers that deeply inspired the Timorous Beasties which became my main source of inspiration since my second years. They also inspired artists like Kit Miles which has detailed drawing elements from nature, both flora and fauna that are sophisticated and high end, also relevant to my design collection.

Pinterest is another source of inspiration, it gathers both traditional Damask layouts but also designs from latest artists with their unique approach to it:

Timorous Beasties:

 

Research Part I – Critically Endangered Species

My previous research led me to the most well known National Geographic and especially WWF where I started to learn about the distinction between the risk level of different animal species. This led me to learn about the IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species where all the other organisations take most of their data from and it is also the main source for journals and articles. Established in 1964, is now “the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plan species” (IUCN). According to its data, “more than 26.500 species are threatened with extinction” which represents more than 27% of all assessed species and considering that there are still a big number of unknown species that we were not able to locate because of the location of their habitat, deep in the amazonian forests or in deep waters.

As my research shows there is an exorbitant number of animals at risk, however due to the time and outcome of my brief I decided to chose a limited number of animals representing different territories and species. These species are among those that have an important ecological, symbolic and often spiritual value.

Sumatran Tiger

It only lives in the Island of Sumatra, in Indonesia, this species counts less than 400 tigers and its population is decreasing due to deforestation and rampant poaching. Tiger bones are still largely used in Chinese medicine with the consent of its government. Its presence represents an important indicator for biodiversity where all the other species, including humans, benefit from.

London Zoo's Annual Animal Stocktake

Hawksbill Turtle

Lives in tropical oceans, mostly in coral reefs. it is hunted for its highly valuable “tortoiseshell” that is being sold in markets and it is also accidentally killed by fishing gear or trapped in nets. According to WWF “They are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems and help maintain the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds”.

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Giant Ibis

Its population decreased to less than 200 and going, due to human disturbance and hunting. It can reach one meter in size and it is Cambodia’s national bird, the last country where its population mainly resides. Already extinct in Thailand, it has only been sighted in Vietnam and Laos close to Cambodia’s borders.

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Honeybee. In regard to bees, they are not directly critically endangered as a whole however there is an alarming decine in their number in short time. Several hundreds of species are already considered extincted while others have become Vulnerable or Endangered. According to the World Bee Project “The significant decline of honey bee and other pollinator populations threatens food security, biodiversity and ecosystems, with drastic consequences for the human race and the planet”.

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Orangutans and Cross River Gorillas. Primates are considered very important, without their seed dispersal, hundreds or plants and trees would become extinct threatening the life of other species.

Orangutans share 96.4% of our genes and are highly intelligent. They live in tropical forests and are considered the “gardeners” of the forest, they play a vital role in seed dispersal. Gorillas are the largest living primates. They are found in central Africa counting around 200-300 individuals. They are mainly threatened by deforestation, hunting and illegal trading.

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I have come across various articles about scientific debates on the most relevant species for the survival of the human species across sources like The Guardian and The Telegraph. This gave me a further in depth knowledge of the importance of the biodiversity in its complete cycle where some of the most relevant aspects are not immediately visible, however it could have devastating consequence if there was for even one of these species to become extincted. Like the organs in our body, every single animal, from the biggest (blue whale) to the smallest plancton, insect or bacteria, has its purpose.

Case History: One of the historical disasters known as the “Four Pests Campaign” introduced in China between 1958-1962 by Mao Zedong was a hygiene action aimed to eradicate the pests responsible of pestilence and disease. Mosquitoes, flies, rodents and sparrows were targeted not only by the government but also by the population. Especially sparrows were targeted as considered among the main causes of agriculture damage because of their diet of seeds and fruit. As a result of the “Kill Sparrows Campaign”, ended with the death of around 3.000.000 birds, pushing the species near to extinction. This led to an ecological imbalance with a rise in bug population and consequent destruction of crop, resulting in being one of the main causes of the Great Chinese Famine in 1961 where around 25-40 million people died of starvation.

There are many other organisations who’s mission is to create awareness and protect endangered animals or animals subjected to inhumane conditions: World Animal Protection, Fauna & Flora, Conservation International, Edge and Conservation Evidence that gives important indications based on studies or other evidence, among others.

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