Category Archives: Textiles

My Internship at Iris Van Herpen

Well after graduating in June 2013 with great results, I immediately got emailing to apply for experience within the ‘real world’.

Capriole Collection3D printed garment, part of Carpiole Collection

For sometime I had been inspired by Haute Couture/Fashion Designer, Iris Van Herpen, with her innovative catwalk garments and futuristic designs. So I plucked up the courage to email her. To my surprise I got a positive reply and was asked to start as soon as possible in her atelier in Amsterdam. Amazing!

My first day at the studio was an extremely nerve-wrecking one, with other makers and sewers, busy, getting on with serious work. The studio was situated right next to the harbour, with a view of house boats and a great big river. I was met by Iris’s assistant who carried out a small interview and explained what I was to do within the studio. The first job, I remember, was to thread gold chain in and out holes on the sleeves of a black dress. A repetitive but quite theraputic job. Everything, I soon realised, was hand done. The amount of patience and self-motivation needed in this kind of job was essential.

Sarcopha dressSarcopha Dress with snake chain detailing on sleeves. Found on Iris’s RTW site: www.irisvanherpen.com/webshop

Months quickly passed and I soon learned how to laser-cut, as I believed this could benefit my jewellery. First we cut tiny pieces of plexi-glass, a special hard plastic, which were to be hand-sewn onto dresses. Black patent leather was cut shortly after, which we used for strap dresses, beautifully cut into intricate strips to form the pattern for a short dress. It was truly amazing. These dresses became part of the “Embossed Sounds” Collection, where garments created sounds when pressed. My computer skills on Illustrator quickly improved after drawing detailed Spec sheets and laser files. These had to be perfect. Everything had to be perfect. If not, you were told to do it again.

Strap Dress over Liquid DressLaser-cut Strap Dress over Liquid Dress

Strap Dress and Plexi Dress Strap Dress and Plexi DressStrap and Plexi-Glass Dresses in “Embossed Sounds” Womanswear collection.

We even learned how to make the outer layer of stiletto heels. Winding snake chain round heels, shaping carbon and using black pony hair was all needed to create these shows. Cut, shaving and glueing, sanding, brushing, winding. These were some one-off heels alright. Hours of precise cutting to get the most accurate horse hair fit. However, the final result was stunning. Elegant and stylish and perfect for any fashion diva looking to ‘wow’ at a special event. But these heels must’ve been over 6 inches high! Hats off to whoever can walk in them.

 Iris Van Herpen Ponyskin BootBlack Ponyskin Boots found on ODD. Style website

After becoming a master of the laser-cutter, Iris handed me the job of replicating her famous ‘Water Dress’. A large wearable sculpture made from special plastic, formed into curling waves and splashes around the wearer. Iris is a polite but driven young woman. I felt honoured to be given such a job and listened to all her guidence carefully. Using gloves and tools, I began to heat up the plastic and stretch and bend it to form these amazing shapes. It was a kind of meditation. After hours of working it began to take its form and look fluid like water. I tended to make the edges of the plastic bubble so that it would look like the sea foam found on waves.

Water DressHeat formed Water Dress found on Iris Van Herpen’s Website, part of Crystallization collection.

At the end of the day, Iris approached me and was complimentary of my pieces, saying she was nervous to give somebody this job but that I had achieved the look she wanted perfectly. She was very happy so I was happy.

I reckon the best thing about working at Iris was experiencing what it is like to work in the high-fashion industry. You do not realise how many hours and dedication is needed for this kind of job. Also, most importantly, the people you meet. We became a family and helped one another through the highs and the lows. I met individuals from all over the world: Romania, Hong Kong, Australia, Morrocco, Poland, Germany, and so on. These contacts are invaluable and will stay with me forever.

If you would like to know more about Iris Van Herpen, visit her website: http://www.irisvanherpen.com/

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ROUSEY-WRAP Imake Project

In our Critical Making Module we were given a brief asking us to design a concept which improves your daily life via exploring traditional design & craft practice and new technologies. For me, waking up in the morning is a real task especially during the winter months, thus, decided to design some kind of alarm clock which assists your waking routine. I had a great time researching all kinds of alarm clocks, like one which wafts a smell of cooking bacon or freshly brewed coffee so you got to get up and replenish your appetite, and another which actually donates your hard-earned money to some charity so getting up is a MUST. Inspired by these quirky designs I started to think of my own.

I came up with a magnetic alarm clock concept. The idea was you would wear pyjamas fitted with small magnets and when the alarm went off the magnets would activate and quite literally pull you out of bed.

I also thought of a duvet which turns extremely cold which makes getting out of bed a relief. HOWEVER, I was a little scared because supposedly magnets can do horrible things to people with pacemakers and my grandpa has one so was against that idea. I decided to go for a safer option and design something that would actually physically shake you awake. In addition, looking into sleeping disorders and treatments helped me with my designs, in particular, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

SAD is basically a mood disorder which affects individuals in any season, but most commonly in winter (winter blues). It can cause depression and make getting out of bed extremely difficult. To be honest I think I suffer a bit from this and wanted to keep this in mind when designing.

I thought a designing a special duvet which could gradually brighten and gently vibrate rather than scare you awake with a blaring noise. For inspiration I looked at photographs taken on Guy Fawkes fireworks night and went on creating numerous fabric samples and even investing in Electroluminescent Wire which is amazing stuff! I dyed, melted, grated, sewed and pleated materials to try and achieve an effect I liked for the duvet.

Inspiration

Material Samples

The images above are plastic bags ironed together with metallic foils in between and embellished with sewn circles on the top to echo the circular shapes created by the fireworks in the photos.

Pleated materials to create texture and light effects when the fabric reflects.

The material above has been dyed using a rusty items so the brown rust transfers permanently to the fabric. Pretty cool tie-dye effect but does not really fit in with my project.

During this project I took part in an Arduino workshop run by Ali, Digital Interaction guy, which took a whole day. We were taught how to program LEDs, Light Dependant Resistors (light/dark sensor) and Variable Resistors (dimming/brightening device) through Arduino circuit boards which allowed us to understand how to incorporate technology into design. I got really excited to blend textiles and technology!

I discussed with Ali the types of motors and sensors I required for my duvet. I used Light Dependant Resistors to light up the EL wire when the surrounding area had no or very little light (i.e. sunrise, night, sunset), which were programmed through Lilypad circuit boards (perfect for textiles as they are small and washable).

So my final outcome is a beautiful yet medicinal duvet aimed for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective disorder. The EL wires turns on automatically at sunset before you go to bed so you can fall asleep to an ambient glow and at sunrise (or when it nears the time wanting to waken) it automatically turns on again gradually to act as a sunrise (especially good in winter). When it is time, the blanket will gently vibrate and arouse the sleeper awake. Overall, I believe this Rousey-Wrap can suit any occasion, whether it be for people who suffer from SAD or just as an elegant decorative item for your room.

Above is my first prototype however I thought the EL wires were a bit harsh when on so decided to conceal them with an layer of fabric so the wires would softly glow through.

Sorry but I tried to take photos of the blanket when the EL wires were on but the light was far too dim to catch anything on camera. But it does look very relaxing and ambient, perfect for a gentle glow in your room.

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Lorenzo Nanni: Prosthetic Jewellery

Lorenzo Nanni studied textiles at Duperré Art School in Paris. He is influenced by organic and living organisms, pulsating slightly eerie matter re-born and replicated in embroideries and silk. Nanni uses these materials in a very unusual way; using embroideries to imitate the texture of blood and producing fake skin out of silk. Reproducing the essence and beauty of nature is his goal.

 

 

His prosthetic pieces come encased in a glass dome so they can also be exhibited as an elaborate sculpture as well as worn to the human body. The pieces may take many forms, mostly all coming from natural resources, using animal life and vegetation, body tissue, veins and arteries, to produce stunning yet at times dark and cheerless pieces.

 

 

 

I really like Nanni’s works because they are unique and creative. His use of embroideries and silk are particularly imaginative; establishing interesting textures. I enjoy the contrast of beautiful versus sinister themes, you feel a sense of uneasiness which lures the viewer in and makes the pieces memorable. I am not sure if I would want to wear these pieces out, however, as an elaborate sculpture in the room would be ideal.

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