Fashion design with design for performance - PART 2

In issue 11, we followed three students from Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. Find below part 2 with student Alycia, working along with Sparklewren.

Issue 11 at £4.50 instead of £6.99

I collaborated with Sparklewren, a bespoke corsetiere based in Birmingham, due to my love of her aesthetic. Sparklewren has been focusing on further expanding her bridal range and also looking into exploring the lingerie market. Due to this, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to investigate these new unfamiliar avenues for myself and to expand my skill set further.

My brief was to create a bridal trousseaux, which would contain bridal gowns, corsetry and lingerie. I drew inspirations from the three states of matter: ice, water and steam and used these themes to influence my fabric choices, colour palets and embellishments. I intended to reflect Sparklewren’s current look, whilst also including my own design aesthetic.

From the start I knew I wanted to organize an underwater shoot as it fit in perfectly with my concept. As my designs consisted of varying weights of fabric, I thought it would be interesting to see how they moved when submerged. However, as I had never done an underwater shoot before, I decided to organize an additional shoot before hand on dry land as well, just incase there was a mishap with the underwater shoot.

For the ‘dry’ shoot I envisioned a very wispy look with strong lighting and striking compositions to contrast with the delicate garments. Our setting using an abandoned manor fit in perfectly with my inspiration boards due to the degraded textures and dark corners and highlighted my garments beautifully. When I received all of the images, the result came out exquisitely striking, showing an edgy elegance to the garments, which I think worked well.

When preparing for the underwater shoot I had to take a number of extra steps to see how my garments would react when submerged. Due to this I did several tests to see if the components and fabrics I intended to use would change. Fortunately they held up well, only slightly wrinkling which made me feel more confident about submerging my garments.

When planning my underwater shoot, I immediately started to look for professional underwater photographers, as I wanted high quality images to show off my work. I contacted a few photographers, but when I saw Catherine Laura’s work I knew her aesthetic would fit in perfectly. I am very glad that I had made this investment as due to her expertise in this area; we created some very beautiful images depicting exactly what I was hoping for and more. The video was even better than I had hoped, fluid and ephemeral, perfectly encapsulating my concept. I am so glad I planned this shoot as it has been an amazing experience and opened so many doors for me for the future.

Throughout this project I have stretched my abilities and added many new skills to my repertoire. My concept was one that showed off my tactile nature and love for embellishment, making this project a perfect reflection of the work I hope to produce in the future. This collection reflects myself as a designer and maker, showing the breadth of my technical and artistic skills as well as new skills learned throughout this experience. From the feedback given to me from Sparklewren, I can see that Jenni also agrees by her comments; “I am, as ever, thoroughly impressed by her [Alycia’s] focus, motivation and intuition”.

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