Olivia Kay Rigby
|Project Title||UK 181910 1o 1220|
The Preparatory Work
The initial theme behind my project was nostalgia and how over the years of growing up surrounded by the farming industry, my perceptions on what we produce had changed with the further development of my knowledge around the fashion trade. Through media coverage and society’s views, the process behind farming has been severely targeted in a negative light, showing the unhealthy and discomforting elements of animal welfare. However, as my project developed and I gathered my research, I found that I was looking at the animal cruelty behind factory farming. The result of this allowed me to understand the need for the family farm and how this has supported us over the generations, but also the love and care my family have for all their livestock. As a result, the final theme of my project captures the views behind the farming industries, its links with the fashion trade and its impact on future generations.
To ensure that I focused on my original theme that I had explained within my proposal, I proceeded to research the facts that I was already aware of and concentrated on issues in relation to the increase in the demand for dairy produce in China along with Stella McCartney’s support towards the meat campaign held in London by PETA. By gathering quotes and facts from these websites, it set the direction and scope to allow me to expand on my original ideas and develop the platform I could take with my project. Through projection and material manipulation this research allowed me to design and produce my final garments.
I used a variety of different methods to gather information, sources included studying relevant websites including subscriptions and associated members of the farming industry, these included sites such as PETA, Pinterest and Facebook. Further research from individual artists, campaigns and news articles allowed me to develop my final product. Primary research came from interviewing close relatives on their experiences of dedicating their lives to farming along with the collation of materials that allowed me to form ideas supported by images that I adapted for my final pieces.
My initial ideas came from collecting information, analysing and evaluating the research I had studied. I distributed cards to my peers to gather feedback on their views and this enabled me to develop my mood boards. Combining this I was able to adopt ideas through embroidery and paper cutting, which I experimented further through the use of projection. I also explored material manipulation and felting to build my skills and understanding of these processes that became vital in the development of my work. These methods allowed me to see the potential development through the formulation of ideas and how I could enhance my projects theme. Through experimenting I produced materials which reflected products replicating for example milk sachets designed through felting and liquid latex which formed my final three exhibition garments.
As my research developed I continued to change and adapt to the overall project. From initially looking at animal welfare and the social understanding of animal cruelty within the industry, the end product mainly linked into the views behind the farming lifestyle and the change across the political landscape. Over the course of the research it allowed me to form a more holistic view and see the impacts to the farming industry which led me to change my thoughts on the images I wanted to portray. The outcome I wanted to present was to highlight through design the unnecessary cruelty without being judgmental to the farming industry.
At first I hadn’t been inspired by any particular artist however as I progressed and developed the production of the paper cut outs I reflected on the work by Ali Harrison who specialised in cut outs of human body parts. This artist initiated the development of garments which sparked my imagination for trials with imagery and projection. It was from this point where her work led me to research further ideas from other artists which included Kim Deguara who used the idea of displaying objects alongside garments, this was how I wanted to present my final pieces from each of the industries I had focused on. Various items collected and used were original products, however if they deemed not practical to demonstrate I adjusted by using molds and plaster to recreate objects.
Throughout my project I carried out various experiments using a number of materials to support my theme and connect with my project. Working with typography I studied the ways that I could present the text and explored embroidery, painting, computerised and hand written text, to see the variety of different impacts for the final pieces I wanted to produce. I felt each of these methods worked well throughout different stages and resulted in one garment illustrating hand written text as the impact became more eye-catching and brought the element of discomfort. Further experiments including imagery and projection which initially hadn’t been successful around designing the paper cut out garment. This trial consisted of projecting the patterns I had produced onto the paper cut garment, which resulted in editing the images to improve the quality as computer bar tabs and surroundings were visible on the garments. The most successful techniques I experimented with were carried forward to my final garments, which involved: felt, milk sachets and liquid latex.
Experimenting using a variety of processes has been valuable for me in delivering my final garment as it allowed me to expand on the basic ideas. It also enabled me to see how crucial the thorough planning and production side of the process is. Reflecting on previous projects this approach was neglected, the success of my final garment in this project was making sure the most appropriate materials were used to design and pay compliment by relating back to my chosen theme. The production and presentation of the pamphlet I designed was very brief and I would have liked to have created a more detailed booklet designed similar to the copies of farmers weekly and PETA. This also could have been promoted and expanded into media coverage, and benefited me around gaining more IT skills and computer knowledge. I would also have welcomed the use of illustrator to produce digital garment designs, this might have allowed me to have an insight in how to produce realistic images.
The Final Piece
A selection of materials was experimented with to see how the methods and visual image of each of the materials could be manipulated to suit my theme. The final materials selected where specific to the garments purposely looking at the meaning of the garment, the materials that could reflect the industry and how it could be used within a garment design. Firstly, I had selected milk sachets. These were used to represent the milk being collected from the dairy farms. For the second garment I chose liquid latex. When dry, it created a skin toned plastic with elasticated properties, suitable to use to represent meat joints. Finally, I used merino wool because of its fine soft texture that allowed me to felt different combinations of colours together to create patches of felt that represented flesh and blood from animals being skinned alive.
Due to rigorous experimentation all the materials I had selected fulfilled the needs of the garment design. However, issues did occur throughout the production process. Initially the milk sachets were successful, but due to the weight of the garment and the liquid being contained within each packet, the garment became vulnerable and fragile to any knocks or pressure. This resulted in leaks, which became more and more difficult to resolve the closer I became to finishing the garment. Furthermore, tearing issues arose when using the liquid latex as these layers were very fine, I adapted using a stapler but this impacted on production time.
Each of the garments had their own meaning but were all representative of animal cruelty. Garment one was the milk sachets dress. The hand written typography tattooed on the garment explained the issues within the industry and the distress caused to the animals.
Garment two represented the meat industry and I used the structure of the human body to create “joints of meat”, I made these joints to stretch around the figures. The design of the fur cloak was to represent the fur industry with the focus that a number of countries find it acceptable for animals to be skinned alive for their coats. As a main focal point I designed a reversible cloak to imitate the outside and the inside of an animal’s coat, created a disturbing image to the audience.
The final three garments and their products that I have designed, I feel have represented the project I have been researching accurately. I believe that the designs interpreted each industry clearly, making a clear link to the topic. My most proud element of my final piece is the fur cloak because of the elegancy that I’ve demonstrated in the garment design, as the structure allows an elegant drape as well as the materials leaving a luxurious texture. However, because of the use of colours, this has turned this garment from luxurious, to disturbing, it brings back my theme and the realism adding context to the design. The idea is subtle but makes an immediate impact.
If I was to change any element of the final piece it would be to spend more time on the pamphlet I had produced. I believe this could have promoted my project further and explained the serious message I wanted to deliver along with my designs. Production of a magazine would have enhanced my exhibits along with corresponding work produced throughout the course, such as photoshoots and mood boards. The pamphlet produced lacks explanation and I would have loved to have spent more time designing and planning the layout.
To present my final piece I decided to take inspiration from both the UNIQLO window display on Oxford street, London, as well as the painting produced by an unknown artist that I stumbled across on Pinterest. Connecting these two ideas together, as well as gathering materials from the farm I created a design that interpreted the image in the picture, which represents animals hanging as meats in a butcher’s shop or slaughter house. Displaying the garments hanging from rope, piping and chains, I placed the objects on plinths directly underneath the garments that they were representing. It was this idea that was taken from UNIQLO.
I feel that the projects outcome was successful and related to my initial proposal around nostalgia, allowing me to explore and gain a better understanding of the current issues behind the welfare of the animals and the difference in cruelty between factory and free range farming. I’m confident I’ve represented my views through my work, the garments I’ve produced and the valuable insight researching and using materials through experimentation.