Overall this year I feel that my skills have improved vastly, especially on Photoshop and Illustrator. I have taught myself how to use these programmes over the duration of third year, however during the final major project I have given myself a lot of time to practice using the programmes therefore I have introduced myself to a whole new level of technical design which is a huge advantage for me when I go to look for employment in the industry.
My skills on the Adobe suite have definitely enhanced my ability to create a professional portfolio. In the past I have always struggled with portfolio however this year I sat down and researched other colleges portfolios to get an idea of the competition that I have and to also learn how I could improve my own, I decided that keeping my portfolio very plain and central would improve it as it would draw attention to the important information rather than the background imagery, which has been my downfall before. I am really happy with the outcome of my portfolio and feel as though my entire way of working has completely changed, and has definitely stemmed to a more professional quality.
The prints for my final collection were made from only two pieces of imagery, which proves that my digital skills have improved as I managed to make over thirty different designs with these images. I didn’t want to use too much imagery so that it would all look different as I personally believe that you should keep the imagery and colours of a collection similar to make it all fit. Most of my digital designs are flat on paper but I did get a few samples printed, reason being is that digital printing is really expensive (especially on silk) and I had a lot to pay out for with addition college fees, digital printing for my garments, printing for my portfolio and fabrics from Whaleys, so I didn’t want to use all of my budget on printing digital samples as I wanted to show a broad example of my skills using different techniques such as hand printed samples, a professional portfolio and garments.
I feel as though my prints and designs fitted my brief well. Although at the beginning my ideas were completely different you can see throughout the final collection how my ideas changed and that my prints were well suited to them. My final collection was based on something that I feel very passionately about which was Trophy Hunting, this subject makes me feel angry and allowed me to express this in an artistic way throughout mark making and digital manipulation. My aim was to create prints that support my theme and also represent luxury, which I think I managed to portray quite well. My colour way also supported my theme as I kept it quite dark and simple with a few accent colours to set the mood of the sad subject but to also keep it classy.
My garments were largely inspired by Balmain Spring/Summer 2015, as I liked the shapes and feel as though they are very contemporary and youthful at the moment, which suited my target audience. I wanted to create something ready to wear as I feel like a lot of fashion nowadays is only suited for catwalk purposes, so I felt like I would get a lot of interest in my designs if they were wearable and stood out. There were downfalls of my garments though, for example my black maxi dress became too wide at the neckline so it is difficult to wear and a lot of people would probably feel quite uncomfortable wearing it, I also do not think that I chose the right prints for the third garment and feel as though the imagery should have been shrunk down however I didn’t realise this until it was digitally printed, as everything seems a lot smaller on a computer screen therefore I need to improve my skills on scale of design. My favourite garment was definitely the second dress that I made, as it is so wearable and it was the easiest to make. By making garments this year I have learnt a lot about the technical skills of pattern cutting and constructing, it has been really interesting and I have really enjoyed it, unlike previous years and this is probably due to choosing my own prints and fabrics and also making the garments exactly to the design that I created.
The fabrics that I used for FMP carried on from the fabrics that I used in pre-collection as I really enjoyed working with silks, using fabrics like these completely changed my ideas and I now focus on womenswear and printed textiles rather than interiors which was my main focus for the first two years, and I was never really interested in fashion design before now therefore third year has helped me choose my future profession. After seeing how my digital designs came out on these fabrics I decided that I wanted to further my designs by creating some hand printed samples using similar fabrics. However, I made these samples after making two of my garments therefore didn’t use hand printed processes in my garments as I preferred to stick with either digital or hand print, I was a bit gutted about this as I actually preferred some of my hand printed samples to my digital ones. One of the main reasons I was quite gutted about not using hand print is because one of the fabrics that I used called Sandwashed Satin was really appropriate for my collection as it had an interesting texture and felt like leather/skin.
By making garments this year it has inspired me to make my own designs to sell and start my own business, which is what I have done this year. When making the first garment I felt like it needed to be accessorised with something, so I searched a few things up online and came across ‘caged bras’ which gave me an idea to make a ‘harness bra’. I posted an image of my garment with the harness bra below it and received a lot of attention from friends asking if I could make them one, at first I was quite reluctant as I was worried it would interfere with my studio work but after a while I started making them to sell and set up an Instagram account for it which allows people to visually see my work and it has also gained me public following from free advertisement. I now make more interesting bras and I have received a lot of interest and purchases, so much so that I was able to quit my job and use this as an income, which I found better as it is something that I enjoy doing and also it fits in with my specialist area of womenswear. I have now recently set up my own website for my own products and want to remake my garments from FMP in different fabrics and also do some more pattern classes to improve my skills, therefore my final major project has taught me a lot about construction which I had no idea about before, it has also given me a good idea of what I want to do when I leave, which is sell my own products and do short courses in contour design and pattern cutting so that I can make more interesting garments to sell and get my label more well known.
I only started digitally design in the third year as before I always used hand printing, I feel much more comfortable with digital design and now also constructing garments and feel confident to go to interviews with my portfolio and show off my skills as feel as though I am good at what I do and have gained a lot of experience over the course of my degree, mainly my third year which should impress future employers. However, there is always room for improvement and you will always pick up new skills in the industry.
In conclusion, I think that I made the right decision in the end with my garments (fabric, print, shape etc.) because I have had a lot of interest and compliments on them from people at graduate fashion week and the fashion show which shows that they would be sellable products. I feel that this year has boosted my confidence and also made my work become a lot more professional and I am now ready to start employment within the industry.