The beginning of this week got us stuck into fashion marketing, brand architecture and how different creative directors change a brand’s “identity” and “flavour.”
My wider knowledge of the history of brands, widened. This made me realise I had chosen the right course as normally in the historical context lectures I find it difficult to directly see its direct relevance to my interests, yet in the first lecture I found myself understanding brands who currently I feel absolutely no relevance with, but in their brands history and under previous creative directors - I really related to / vice versa. Am also absolutely shocked on my previous lack on knowledge on Yves Saint Laurent, it never stood out to me in its current campaigns (especially now without the 'Yves') but after re-viewing the brand with more knowledge on how influential / boundary pushing Yves was, the context of the brand and the lead up to their current direction makes sense and is more admirable - the same goes to many brands. Living in this post-modernist part of the century a lot of what makes up not only the fashion industry, but a lot of the art world too, is very self referential - and one would be left really confused when looking at whats being created at the moment if you do not understand the context behind it. Thats why a lot of people would say the current big brand fashion world is shit. It doesn't mean that it makes all of it good though -what does it mean if all a brand has left is references? Is there genuinely nothing new to create? Is this really what the art world has become? 'if you know, you'll get it, if you don't you don't' - but I am not here to like/dislike things, I am here to understand the references, and familiarise myself with the names/directors behind the change of many brand identities, as a lot of them know exactly what they were doing and were selected as creative director for a reason. And thats the marketing.
After the lecture we were given a group task to focus on a single brand and present the brands history. We were given LOEWE, who are a perfect example of fashion houses who totally switch up their creative direction to appeal to a new audience. It was difficult to get this across to my group though, as they briefly looked at all the brands old stuff and judged it as something really boring so wrote about how the brand was "basic" and it took me and Mal (praise jesus she was in my group) to go through all the research people had spent the whole task gathering to realise there was no mention of JW ANDERSON or any clear presentation of the brands development just random cut n paste fact. So me and her spent the last 30seconds pulling it all into a coherent format. I feel if everybody had equally pulled their weight we could of created a very brief but detailed history of Loewe and directly compared their old and new identity, but even after the presentation my group still wasn't aware of the old and new identity. I really struggle with this way of working - it was clear that because the Loewe wikipedia page isn't very detailed and the first images that come of of Loewe on google is from their old branding, this was everything the majority of my group had judged the brand on, but it took 30 seconds of looking elsewhere to find heaps of information about the brands identity which they had claimed there was "no information on."
In reflection, I am always at war with myself when working in situations like these cause half of me is like "teamwork is a required skill when you're in the real world" but then then i'm also like "In the real industry everybody have to pull their weight anyway and be just as enthusiastic and creative or they wouldn't be in that position, if they didn't work hard and go to different sources" and then I'm also like "its not that deep, its just a small informal task anyway, i just do my part and they do theres" but that mentality just puts me off working hard at all because I don't feel like I'm being stretched or learning anything, i feel like I'm covering for others when i don't need too. But maybe I'm completely wrong and thus is life, and I should pull up my socks and learn to deal with it.
(MIMI WADE SS17 PRESENTATION)
Suzanne gave a presentation giving a basic insight into set design / branded spaces for fashion presentations. This was a great lecture for familiarising fashion students with fashion presentations and the importance of creating a clear identity / style for ones brand or collection. It is where artistic direction and fashion marketing go hand in hand which is a huge part of the industry of fashion promotion. I'm really into set design as you can get super artistic performance / sculpture + installation wise and the lecture had me thinking about collaborating with some 3DD students and some performance artists to create a wacky interactive presentation for a potential final. We'll see
FASHION AND POLITICZ
I dont think I've ever created a single piece of work that isn't politically motivated in the creative process or somehow finds a political meaning post-production. When I've documented things out of curiosity / created a visual to accompany something else (e.g something musical) - I've always had people perceive my work as "political" or "feminist" on projects that I had not gone out of my way to be so topical, but in reflection look at the picture snd understand the political representation.
Only recently -relative to my short 18 years on this planet- have I understood that the perspective of a young, gay, black working-class woman is still something considered new to be voiced artistically from an industry that is still predominantly run by white men. Although to me topics like cultural appropriation, lbgt issues, sexuality, gender roles, race/class divide is something that would come naturally for me to talk about -without thinking that this is me being 'political', as its just something I experience regularly before I even knew the term for half of these topics- but it they in fact topics that are considered new/taboo/not fully explored for a lot of people -even though they have been the topic of many art pieces from the beginning of time- nevertheless it is important that I continue to voice my views on these subjects, through my creative work. It was very interesting seeing John start a debate on a lot of these issues and link them to how they've been explored in the fashion world / start a debate about how politics influences fashion and vice-versa. Debating -for me at least- is one of the most effective way of getting to know a subject that hasn't got a straightforward "right" or "wrong" and also getting a reality check on the general ideologies and views of the rest of the world. A lot of people, even in the fashion industry, are still very oblivious to appropriation, tokenism and inclusive feminism and that means its important for me to continue to explore this and encourage other creatives to do so if we want change.
After the debate / lecture on fashion politics we were each given a year to focus on, research something to do with politics in fashion and create a zine style spread on the year that we'd all put together to create a history of fashion / politics through the decades. To my joy the year I was given was 1974 which I instantly recognised as the year the first ever black woman graced the cover of vogue (I had undertook a very long essay in A level media exploring the representation of black models in the fashion industry, so this year was firmly ingrained in my head) so was an opportunity I couldn't miss.
I presented my zine layout as a comparison between the polar representations of black women in the mainstream media titling it "Ebony Heaven Vs Hell."
I do wish I could of had more time to work on it, as initially I wanted to create a mock magazine style quiz saying "Which kind of black woman are you?" satirically highlighting the stereotypes and labels for black women. However with the time given I was happy with it and enjoyed the mixed media / scan / layering process which I will most likely develop in a future project.
PART 2 (updated 15th-18th NOV 2016)
ART + FASHION WINDOW PRESENTATION TASK:
To emphasise our studies in both branded spaces / presentations and how art and fashion go hand in hand we were given one random fashion designer, and one random established artist to create a widow presentation for a theoretical collaboration. Personally I think my group (Sid and I) was given the most contrasting and less obvious artists to collaborate so we had to think out of the box. Ironically, our concept was for sculpture artist tracheal whitehead (no normally works with casting / negative space) to create a box frame / display tank (almost Damien Hurstesque in his submerging tanks) and to cast the shape of a mannequin filled with Katie Eary (our given fashion designer) prints.