When all is said and done.. A reflection of contextual studies.

Looking back on my experience with critical and contextual studies I have become a more in-depth thinker and more analytical in my writing. From the first lecture when we studied the context behind images and learning to date them I started to not only look at who took or painted the image I know look for clues. These clues could be anything in the backdrop that could link to a period in history or or a major event ending documented.

When writing my blog posts I have really grown in my ability to write in a more analytical style. For example I’m looking more into the image and becoming my thorough. I’m doing this  by doing more research which i am now finding in its more different sources for example i am now looking more in journals, videos, archives and the library. Previously I only used the internet and I can now see just how limiting it is and unreliable.

What I have gained the most from this experience is that my confidence has grown dramatically. In the past I have avoided speaking in front of crowds in presentations, and having  present my findings. However with the amount of time I had to gather information and practise what I wanted to say I spoke confidently in front of a crowd of people. I will be taking this  forward in the future for presentations.

To conclude this blog series I have learnt a lot about about developing my critical skills and understanding my chosen subject more. Looking into the  piece more has given me  better understanding of what I will be studying and writing about in future lessons. Not only will my written work improve but also my verbal communication will continue to grow in strength and will become my strong point.

Investigating the origins of a trend.



image taken from Marie Claire ‘RUNWAY’ ISSUE 8 2015

Pop art has become the main source of inspiration for designers ss/16 collections including the likes of Christian DIOR, Jonathan Saunders and Pucci. These hypnotising and graphic prints are enough to send anyone into a daze like state.

The key things to look out for in this trend are high voltage colours, graphic design qualities and colour clashes. All of these qualities are iconic to the pop art era, which was at its height in the 50’s, which artist such as Andy Warhol and Roy Litchenstein were using large blocks of solid colour to create a strong statement and catch people eye. This concept has been adapted to contemporary  fashion with the use of modern garment shapes by designers like Christopher Kane, who’s has taken a traditional trench coat and used modern fabrics like plastic coated leather and PVC, to create strange and interesting contrasts when put together in a coat. This is then combined with an exaggerated chevron zig zag to create more of  statement and catch people eye on catwalks and in stores.



I wanted to look at one garment in detail, so I chose to look at BOTTEGA VENTA. This particular image stood out for me as the contrast in colours is very interesting as they don’t technically match or go well together. However, like in pop art it was all about making a bold statement and a contrast between the light and dark colours. This particular ready to wear garment reminds me of the work of Roy Litchenstein as he uses small circles of block colour to build up colour in a large area.


Roy Lichtenstein ‘oh Jeff’ 1964

What I believe is the inspiration for this collection is the painting ‘oh Jeff’. The reasoning behind my assumption is that the shapes and colour. This is because of the obvious circles that have been used in both but also the shapes that are used as shadows are all very clean, cut and sharp. I believe this is shown in BOTTEGA VENTAs use of clean cut garment shapes that are very angular.

J.Wood (2015)  Marie Claire OP Art Trend ,Volume 8, page 48

O.Palermo (2015) Runway Report: Bottega Veneta Fall 2015 Online Image Available from  http://oliviapalermo.com/runway-report-bottega-veneta-fall-2015/  Accessed (15/12/15) 

Ginger on HAHAMAG, (2012)THE ROY LICHTENSTEIN “OH JEFF…” COSTUME TUTORIAL, online Image Available from http://hahamag.com/the-roy-lichtenstein-oh-jeff-costume-tutorial/ Accessed (15/12)  


Boys, girls and whatever you want to wear.

Now when it comes to clothing and what we wear, peoples opinions are always in the back of our minds…

“Does this look okay?”

“Does my ass look good in these jeans?”

“Does this make me fit in….?”

Everyday before uni, work or just going to the shop for milk we ask ourselves how we look, and if we look presentable enough to go outside. For me personally, I am commutable in my own style to go out in the clothes I like and feel confident in. However, their are others out there who look in the mirror and don’t like what is looking back at them. There are people who feel the need to express their personalities through their clothing in a different way.
punksIn fashion there has always been an underlining subculture. For example in the 60’s we had hippies, and in the 90’s we had punks. Two very different styles of dress and identity, hippies were seen as peaceful and zen, where as punks were seen as intimidating and often rebellious.

Looking more into gender and dress, I want to go into detail on how women can wear mens clothing and be praised for how powerful, chic and glamorous they look, but for a man to dress in women clothing it is considered wrong, gay and degrading. I want to look into why it isn’t considered acceptable. When women wear a sharp fitted and tailored suit, she is considered to be a professional, smart and strong outgoing woman. This is because you get a very stereotypical mens ‘power dressing look’ making the women look confident and sexy. On the opposite end of the scale if a man is seen to be wearing anything overly feminine, for example overly skinny jeans or even a shirt with a bold or colourful print, the automatic stigma of wanting to be a woman is labeled or that the male is gay.


Why do we do this?

We dress as we want to dress to express
who we are and how we want to be viewed. When we look at drag queens in society we see them as comedians or something to be laughed at. However, drag is a form of expressing who you are or even who you want to be. Are they hiding who they are or are they just trying to express the other side of their personality?


Drag Queens Of Comedy (2015) Bianca Del Rio (online image) available at http://www.thedragqueensofcomedy.com/talent-bianca.html accessed (17/12/15)

unknown wordpress blog (2011) European Punks and Fashion (online image) available at https://piercingculture.wordpress.com/european-punks-and-fashion Accessed (17/12/15)

M.Mackenzie (2009) …isms UNDERSTANDING FASHION, London, Herbert Press

G.G.Bolich PHD (2006) Crossdressing in Coltext vol , USA, Psycis Press 

The global journey of an item in my wardrobe


Image taken by myself 17/12/15


 Like most 19 year old male students my favourite high street store is TOPMAN. For one the clothes are great value for money and are a great quality. The second reason is that i want to be Nick Grimshaw.

I have chosen to look at this shirt in detail because the main reason is I lost it and now its found again! This is a common occurrence in my wardrobe. Another reason I wanted to look at this garment is that it was made in india and not china, which is where most of our clothing comes from as its much cheaper to produce.

With this garment being made in India, I can not think about how its been made and who its been made by. In an ideal world I would like to believe that whoever made my clothes was paid a fair wage and worked reasonable hours. However, this is simply not the case. An example of this is The ‘Rana Plaza’ factory in Bangladesh, that collapsed due to poor conditions. These cheap and thoughtless actions lead to over 1,134 peoples death. Due to Bangladesh being adjacent to India, and due to there long held similar cultures they share same working idologies, therefore I believe that a disaster on this scale could happen in india. I believe India has been used to manufacture garments for these three reasons:

  • India has a lot more children and young adults, which are required to help provide for their family. Also the harsh reality is that children are on very little pay so the production is cheaper.
  • There are less legal protective legislations on the conditions that people work in, this is also a factor that makes production cheaper.
  • Less governmental stress on working hours in the factories, which means longer working hours, more production and faster things will be produced and shipped off.

Now the big question is how can we help? Sadly there isn’t much we can do about how clothes are made, but we can help in small ways. For example the Fair Trade buying scheme is where the person who has picked or grown the cotton to use in clothes is given the correct and fair wage. We simply have to pay a little extra.

Fair Trade (2015) Cotton (Online) FAIR TRADE Available from http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/farmers-and-workers/cotton Accessed 17/12/15

Rana Plaza Arrangement (2015) Rana Plaza Arrangement (Online)Rana Plaza Arrangement Available from http://www.ranaplaza-arrangement.org/ Accessed (17/12/15)

E.I.Rosen (2002) Making Sweatshops: The Globalisation of the U.S. Apparel Industry, USA, University of California press 

The lion, The witch and The ethics in the Wardrobe.

While we have  iconic characters such as Cruella De Ville, with a vast wardrobe of furs, to the countless leather jackets in the T’BIRDS closets all of our wardrobes have ethical issues whether we chose to like it or not. Sad to say my wardrobe is less Donnatella and more Leicester high street.

Although we believe that we have come along way in the fashion industry, the manufacturing process really hasn’t shifted at all as I’m sad to say, in the third world children are still making the clothes for our high street, and even the clothes you are probably wearing as you read this post. In ‘the old world’ women and children would be in the work houses for up to 18 hours a day and is not uncommon to live there.

Back today and the current issues of the 21st century is the ‘fast fashion’ state of mind we all have. As a consumer myself we all subliminally want whats new and whats in season at the time its just out nature to want to fit in and be a part of society, and when its cheap we want more. This is great new for out high street retailers who want one thing. Profit. A perfect example of this would be TOPSHOP which is possibly the most popular shop on the UK high street and how they change up their collections every two weeks. They create minimum stock that will immediately sell out and then repeat the process of buying more every to weeks.

Now onto my wardrobe. As I open its tiny IKEA doors all i can see is a vast array of plaid shirts, it was a phase ok. Looking at some of the labels they mainly have one thing in common. MADE IN CHINA. The only thing to change in the fashion industry is were out clothes are made as it used to be all UK made however as the production cost is so much lower in counties like chine and India we now buy in mass from these countries. However in recent years its become almost stylish to buy UK made clothing and also epicycle clothing and shop vintage.

Now lets be a little controversial… what are your thoughts on fur?


Charlotte Simone AW 15

Is it a chic trend thats slowly becoming more accepted, or the slaughtering of animals for fashion. Designers like Charlotte Simone are becoming more and more popular for using ‘bio-fur’ which is where, only the fur is used  when an animal is used for its meat and would just be thrown away. Does this make it acceptable? My personal views on fur are not so much PETA levels for throwing red paint, but I see that wearing fur comes with its own stigma, having all eyes on you and a level of judgment from the rest of the population.

C.Simone (2015) Big Daddy Online image Available at  http://charlottesimone.com/collections/aw-15/products/green-pink-black-big-daddy?variant=6118431043 Accessed (3/12/15)

Chatsworth object into context

I chose to include these images as after doing a lot of research these resembled my object the most because of the similar design, shape and designer.


CHATEAU DE VERSAILLES (Unknown date) André- Charles Boulle, (online image) available from http://en.chateauversailles.fr/history/versailles-during-the-centuries/the-palace-construction/andre-charles-boulle-1642-1732 (30\10\15)

  • This piece links in with my Chatsworth object as the legs on the table have the same carvings as my chair from the music room.


CHARLES BOULLE FURNITURE (2010) STÓ BOULLE PRZED RENOWACJA, (Online image) Available from http://www.old.antykreno.com/en/strona/boulle (30/10/15)

  • Shows a table from Boulles collection, which has not been restored, very much like my chosen object from Chatsworth.


LIVE AUCTIONEERS (2012) 181: (PAIR)LOUIS XV BOULLE STYLE UPHOLSTERED ARM CHAIRS (Online image) available from https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/12345351_pairlouis-xv-boulle-style-upholstered-arm-chairs (30/10/15)

  • Collection of chairs at auction with similar backs to the chair in the music room at Chatsworth.

About me-

One boy forty girls and a hell of a lot awkward stares and silences. This is my blog. One boy fighting his way through the stereotypes to achieve a goal of becoming a lingerie designer.

It all began in year 11 in my art GCSE, I chose to draw and focus on a collection of corsets as my theme on the restraints on the body. From then on I worked to get into Leeds College of Art where I specialised in fashion/textiles focusing mainly on lingerie design, which no one really understood at the time, I would create my own patterns for swimwear and loungewear using unconventional media like 3D workshops where I worked in latex, plastics, welding and metals. I knew I wanted to apply for DMU before I got to college so I passed every milestone in every project to get a strong portfolio.

Lingerie makes a person more than a dress or any other item of clothing can, this is why I chose contour fashion. Women don’t wear lingerie to seduce their partners they wear it to feel strong, powerful and sexy. I also wanted to study contour fashion because of the way the industry works because the intimate’s apparel is so small and niche you will be working within tight circles and also I will be creating contacts with in different companies;-p which will act as my network of source. The intimate’s apparel can also take you into lots of different areas for example lingerie designs, swimwear, corsetry, nightwear and sportswear. Through my course I will be able to try out lots of different areas before picking a specialist area.

My main interests are fashion and music. For me, fashion is the most inspiring source for my work as it not only shows what will be coming in this season, it also shows a designs thought process, how they can take the same cut of a dress but reinterpret it in a different way each time by altering colour and fabrics. Alexander McQueen is a particular favourite designer of mine, not only are his catwalk pieces so extravagant and over the top, but all his work is based on his life and that makes the pieces so much more beautiful and personal because of the backstory thats behind them. Music is my other passion, no particular genre, I can listen to just about anything and just float off into another world and highly influences my work.

So this is me and my blog. Its gonna be a bumpy ride of bras, boobs and big breakdowns! So do stick around for the ride I’m sure it will be interesting…

I hope!