My Final Collection — Cut21 — Part 1

When I began my degree in Fashion Design, I often despaired at the lack of examples of Degree-level Fashion work shown online. I soon found out why there is so little to see: it’s a lot of work to do and students don’t have time to write about it all! That’s one reason. The other is secrecy and plagiarism. No one wants their work stolen, and even if that were not an issue, when you upload your written work to the college’s/university’s database, it checks the Internet for similar work to make sure you haven’t plagiarised it so if you blog it, it will think you’ve copied what is actually your own work. These are why I haven’t posted about my final collection. Yes, it has been two years since I began my degree at Bishop Burton College. Yesterday was my last day a Bishop Burton College. I shed more than a few tears once I got home and read the cards that my friends gave me. I won’t focus on that or I’ll start up again.

Onto my final collection…

It is called Cut21. The concept is a contrast/harmony of modernism and industrialism. It’s partly inspired by CC41 (which is also the inspiration for the name). I wrote a 3500 proposition on the concept and I won’t bore you with it here. To sum it up, these are clothes for days when you want to kick off the world and do what you want. It’s quiet rebellion in clothes, a way of saying “stuff this, I’m doing things my way“.

Mood board
Mood Board

Collection Board
Collection Board

 The outfit I made:

final design board
Final Design Board

hand-stitched buttonhole
Hand-stitched buttonhole — look how neat it is! 😀 It took me about 45mins to do and at least 4 months to learn!

It consists of an open jacket, a pair of jeans, and a shirt. The jacket is the simplest thing in design and construction. The jeans are more complex and even in the final garment there are issues I would like to perfect. The shirt was, I suppose, the most complex thing to make, and quite fiddly because the fabric was quite springy and I was using 1cm seam allowances or smaller. One premise of Cut21 is that I refuse point-blank to use a stitch other than straight stitch or buttonhole and button-sewing. I did hand-stitch the top buttonhole on the shirt (and I am so pleased with it!). Also, nothing is lined. This means that all seams must be clean finished, either felled, bound or French (that reminds me, we went to Paris to get our fabric — more on that later!).

How it all began…

In the interests of getting everything done on time, I began my work well before the module began. I began collecting images in December when I was in London. It started with Architecture as Libby (first work placement boss) was telling me about the buildings in London as we ran errands in her car. I was thinking of combining inspiration from old buildings and new ones. This evolved over the following months to being modernism combined and contrasted with industrialism. My boss at my second work placement told me about how concepts are worked with in real life. You take two things that sort of fit together, and sort of contrast, like plumbers and cowboys (both working men, but totally different work).

When I was about 7 or 8 years old I had a pencil tin with a drawing of a modernist chair on it. For my FMP I had been doodling very clean designs with swooping lines and had that chair mind. I couldn’t find that chair on Pinterest, but I did find a lot of other interiors images. I wanted my collection to be based on minimalist modernism, but I knew that that wasn’t really a concept.

At Wayside Flower, part of the inspiration, as I see it, is workwear. My boss introduced me to CC41 and I researched that. It was very practical, which suited me. But I am rather fed up with vintage as it is in the media (so over-hyped now). So I ended up combining the two influences and got modernism combined and contrasted industrialism. I called it Cut21 because the cut is so important. That had to be perfect. The 21 is a play on CC41 as well, but refers to the 21st Century. One of the logos is C21, which means 21st Century as well, if you are a lexicologist at OED.

I built quite a large Pinterest board with upward of 330 images on it. They vary from furniture and modern art to consumer images and toiles and beyond. Now, the images I picked were mostly what I call ‘mood images’, i.e. there is not a lot in them that one can design from. The way I worked in this module was to build up the idea in my head, to get me in the mindset of that aesthetic, draw a lot, and the designs would come out like that. No one had ever heard of that happening, but it worked for me. Of course I had to show some link between the images and my designs for my sketchbook, so I had to make some linking sketches. You just have to play by the rules if you want the grades. 🙂

This is how I worked this time:

1. Develop concept

2. Collect images that reinforce the feeling of its aesthetic

3. Get frustrated with supposed expectation to design something avant garde when that simply isn’t me and I can’t do it.

4. Go in a mood and design whatever I jolly well want.

3. Sketch in that mood

4. Develop silhouette based that fits that mood

5. Draw style lines that fit that mood

6. Have them be unusual

7. Show tutor and get surprising approval (sigh of relief)

8. Continue designing until you have three outfits and have run out of time.

When you are designing a collection you need a line plan. What garments do you want in your collection? I needed to design 2-3 complete outfits of 2-3 garments each. Once you know what you need to design and made, it’s much easier because you have direction, a sort of to-do list (or “snag list” as people seem to call them round here). If you are going to make all the things, it is advisable to have a few base patterns that you tweak for several designs. E.g.:

line plan

Tailored jacket block → basic C21 coat → C21 jackets and coat (princess line, no collar, two-piece sleeve)

Close fitting dress block → C21 Shirts and Utility dress (princess line, back yoke, back-seam sleeve)

Jeans block → C21 jeans and shorts (curved yoke, lowered front waist, pockets, gusset)

The designs have features in common. This is working horizontally and vertically. You have the x-axis of the pieces you want (coat, jacket, shirts, dress, jeans, shorts) and the y-axis (design variations in design book). This way you get the pieces you need, and you work into the designs. It gives depth to your work.

You can see some of my sketchbook pages on my ArtsThread Portfolio here. (It’s interesting to see how my work has changed over the last two years.)

On the following posts, I’ll show you what I made and we’ll start with the jacket because that’s what I made first. 🙂



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