Following an inspirational talk last night at cube london with Nick Williams ("turning passion into profit"), I got to thinking about many things, both post graduation and what I'm doing now. I started this blog as a creative outlet but also as a means of introducing people to my work and design process. I've been unsure of what to post as in the past people have copied my designs and ideas which I obviously didn't want to happen for my first real own collection. However I've decided there isn't enough of my own stuff or thoughts on here at the moment and it's something I'm going to address. So I feel it's important for me to summarise what my current collection and design ideas are about, and maybe..show some of my work!
Basically, the concept behind my collection is to explore a potential direction for the future of luxury footwear. For me this encompasses utilising technology to enhance development of a considered product, and one which is truly innovative in every sense. By innovative I mean "designing" and considering all aspects of the product; from aesthetics to raw material, to life-cycle (during and post-consumer), and supply chain, as essentially we design these when we choose materials, factory for manufacture and so on. Having started to learn about the product development process and the consequences of human consumption on a wider basis (recommended first reading "cradle to cradle") I feel we absolutely have to change te way products are developed, and that there is a huge void in the luxury fashion arena for more considered products. It's my vision for this to go hand in hand with an avant-guarde aesthetic as first and foremost people want an attractive product.
So essentially my brand vision and design ethos is one of "total innovation", encompassing:
The use of technologies to confront and enhance design, challenging traditional shoe-making methods and allowing development of beautiful new products.
Consideration of sustainability: responsible material sourcing, intelligent product design relating to life cycle of materials before and after consumption, ethical manufacture and a considered approach to product development and brand management on a whole which is responsible, e.g local manufacture, organic dust-bags/packaging etc.
New approach to Leather: I will only be using Soil Association certified Organic Leather from Natureally (currently the only tannery of its kind) which traces the tanning of leather back to the individual animal and can ensure the animal has been treated to the highest standards throughout life and death, as well as ensuring no chrome chemicals are used in the tanning process. (See previous post leather vs. luxury) Replacing exotics in my collection, which people expect at a luxury level i will use fish skin from Atlantic leather who aren't certified but vet their supply chain closely and have an environmentally considered approach to tanning, e.g. using geothermal energy.
Very excited at the arrival of a book I ordered: "Spacesuits, The Smithsonion National Air and Space Museum Collection". After seeing the V&A Cold War Modern exhibition last xmas I was obsessed with the space suits they had on display there but couldn't find any books which showed them in detail. Until this one. And it's so good! Padding and zips and pleating and chiffon (sort of) and..off to design!
I found the work of artist and printmaker koichi yamamoto today and was blown away. Loving his abstract but really sensual artwork. His artist statement "Making critical judgement requires understanding of what lies underneath" rings so true.
Watching the 11th hour as further research for this project and it only makes me more determined to do everything the way I want to. I just don't understand how people are happy to obliviously carry on living, buying, using things without thinking about where they really come from. Also quite sad that it's taken us so long to even contemplate reacting.
As fashion seems to be getting more and more digital, it's interesting to see how people interpret new ways of doing things. Cool idea for a trend presentation..a super mario vid! by 5 students at Politecnico di Milano. "You can't help but revel in delight as Mario couch surfs, guerilla gardens and urban plays his way to the Duomo di Milano. Beats a 30,000 word marketing report any day of the week!" via Core 77.
So I'm well into developing my shoe designs at the moment and decided to take a break to explore development of print surfaces. I'm still loving Gerhardt Richter type colour mixing and would love to try and translate that into some form of printed textile/leather surface. I had a bash at some initial experiments on paper with acrylics. Next phase will be to experiment on a naked leather with some natural dyes and surface textures and see what I can come up with.
Today was a rather productive and exciting day because I went to Springline to choose my lasts for the collection. This is pretty crucial as it will determine the silhouettes, heel heights etc so a little daunting (incase of major error - you never quite know how they'll turn out) but nontheless exciting. Off I went to Northampton for a root on the shelves of the UK's only remaining last manufacturer. After several hours and a very nice bloke in a white coat explaining lots of stuff, I chose two pairs and arranged for two single feet I had collected to be made into pairs. No shopping for me for a while then, but can't wait for them to arrive to start drawing on them!
"The work in this book was produced by architects, artists and designers who remained outside of the mainstream, whose work was ignored at the time, or who refused to make compromises. This book is dedicated to to all those who have followed their imagination in the past, and to all those who will follow it in the future, no matter where it will lead them". Ernest Burden (Author)
I'm always on the look out for ways to improve my drawing and presenting my designs and have been sifting through coroflot portfolio's recently to compare my sketching (not for the faint hearted). Junior ASJ caught my eye for some amazingly realisting renderings. Time to step up the rhino!
So I've been busy trying to learn how to make websites over the xmas hols..not as easy as one might think. After much umming and ahhing and realising it was gona take a really long time to do it the way I wanted, I chickened out for the time being and made a wix. Real website (minus horrible advertising) will come soon..
So the time for faffing over research has come to an end and I'm putting pen to paper for my collection. My drawing skills are a wee bit rusty and not really showing what I need them to. So! following some hopelessly scribbly sketching I've decided to ease myself in with a book I'd been putting off doing for a while..perspective drawing. Circa 1950 something it has some excellent retro illustrations - onwards to learning 3 point perspective...