Module 9: Critical Study

Hardly an inspiring title, is it? But this module is actually quite interesting. It’s divided into two parts (as most are): an essay (3500 words and 70% of the grade) and a structural garment (30% of the grade). We were given a list of fashion-related quotes and each had to pick one for our inspiration. We could find another quote if we wanted, but I picked mine from the list. I chose the famous Chanel quote:

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. It is in the sky, in the streets.
It has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

From our chosen quotes we have do develop an argumentative essay and design a structural garment. My central topic became ethical fashion. Thankfully there are lots of books and newspaper articles about it. I am writing about:

  • Fashion victims: the people who make our clothes but are treated like rags
  • Resources and waste
  • How Fashion has harmed the world and how it is beginning to help it
  • Consumerism and shopaholism (not a word, but you get the idea)

My structural garment will be a visual representation of the vortex of fashion: stuff keeps getting sucked in and pours out the back. I’ll show you when it’s finished, but for now I think I may have to go into college extra days this module because such a garment will be too large and delicate to be taken back and forth, and it’s just easier to make it there. I’m using Pattern Magic 2 (suggested in study guide).

We don’t have to make a sketchbook (but it can only help our grades), but we do have to show development and do an illustration. I have been using the technique of tracing photographs lately to try a different style. These are the fronts that I’ve done:

illustration practice
model 1 front


I’m now banned from drawing “fairy-style” and “Disney” illustrations. My tutor says that these are the illustrations that will get me higher grades (and a job when I graduate). Does anyone draw like this freehand? I’d really like to know.

One thing about fashion that seems ridiculous to me is this: people will (quite rightly) stand up for animals who are abused by the fashion industry. They will protest against labels who sell things that were made with animal cruelty as part of the process. They will sign petitions and share such information on Facebook to get companies to act ethically towards animals. But they will buy, without a thought, clothes made by people who get paid 5p an hour, get raped, beaten, threatened, and sometimes die in the process of making fast-fashion items. They say these shops don’t harm animals; I ask them, “so it’s alright if they threat people like that?”

And then, a cog begins to turn in their minds. I hope that when they are next in a shop, looking at a garment on sale from £20 to £7.99, that cog is still turning and they wonder, “who made this?”

What do you think about fast fashion?


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