The journal of a plus size Melbourne Fashion student in her 3rd and final year of the Bachelor Degree of Fashion Design. This blog will take you through the whole process of designing and creating a final collection from start to finish.
For my second outfit I chose a fitted skirt and crop top ensemble.
This was my original sketch from my visual diary:
The skirt repeats the same hem line as the fitted dress and is made from the same fabric, being my digitally printed satin, though I will place the feather print section on the hem rather than at the waist, giving a different effect. The crop top is to be made from black ponte fabric in the body area, pleather at the shoulders and stretchy mesh for the sleeves. I would like to have the sleeves rubber printed with a Celtic knot work print down the arms. This would not only bring in more of my Celtic feel to the outfit but also add another design feature and create more of a unique, intricate look. Though this will need to be done by a professional and the top may need to be re-made to have this done.
Below is my first toille for the skirt:
The skirt required a bit of work to get the fit perfect and to get the point at the back to sit the way I wanted but luckily this was not too difficult to achieve.
For my first outfit, I decided to go with a fitted dress paired with a long chiffon underskirt which would be worn with a leather body harness with a feather embellishment to complete the look. This was my first toille:
After viewing my toille on the mannequin, I wanted to see how the underskirt would look over the fitted dress instead. I really liked how this looked so I decided adapt this change.
I added the feature of a waistband/harness that crosses over at the front that will be made out of pleather.
My original plan was to make the fitted part of the dress in black sateen and pleather panels on the side, and the overskirt would be my printed chiffon.
After completing the outer shell of the fitted dress, I just wasn’t happy with how it was coming together. The pleather panels were not playing nicely with the sateen and it was bringing down the look of the overall dress. I decided to scrap this first attempt and swicth my fabrics. Now the fitted dress will be made out of my printed satin and the overskirt will be plain black chiffon. All that was left to do was perfect the fit of the main dress and wait for my printed fabric to arrive from Sydney.
My final toille – a perfect fit. (The snake skin print satin was the most similar fabric available the the actual fabric I was going to use)
As part of our course work we were required to design a digital print to go with our range concept. I chose to go ahead and have it printed on to actual fabric. These were 2 of my designs.
I chose a feather pattern as it represents the raven which is a key aspect of my concept. I highlighted the iridescence of the feathers and increased the colour saturation to bring out the beautiful green and purple tones of the iridescent feathers. I had three designs printed on chiffon and the last, on heavy stretch satin.
After much deliberation, I decided that making a plus size range was the most important thing to me as I would love to start my own plus size label in the future. I stuck with the Celtic theme and started to think about what kind of range I’d like to create. I decided that wanted a powerful, dramatic and dark yet elegant and beautiful aesthetic. I took design inspiration from these key images:
These images inspired some designs which I sketched in my visual diary:
There was so much to think about. My dream is to start my own brand of Plus size women’s clothing for a young alternative market. So at first, this was my idea for a collection – design a range suitable for my very own brand. Rockabilly, punk, goth, edgy, fun and flattering that fit bigger bodies.
Later, when I was on my summer holiday at my mother’s house in Queensland, I remembered something that our 3rd year design teacher had said when she was explaining the brief: pick something you can write about. We had to write an essay and a blog (yes this one!) about our collection and concept, so make sure it’s a solid idea and there is plenty to write about. What can you write about an alternative range? Hmm.. I began to think my idea wasn’t a very solid “concept” – it may look cool and may even sell well but.. it’s been done and there is no much of a story behind it. I felt a little deflated.. but not for long. I looked over at the pile of Celtic books that my mum had borrowed from the library that I had been thumbing through earlier. “What about a celtic range..? I have Scottish ancestry!” I decided to make a mind map/pros and cons list to help me decide.
In the end it was the Celtic range that won. I had also decided that I wouldn’t do a plus size range as it would make it very difficult for myself. Also, as third years, we have the opportunity to apply to be in the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW) Emerging designer fashion show and they don’t allow plus sizes *heavy sigh* So, standard size 10 it was.
I began reading, then sketching and ideas started flowing in and I started to come up with a real concept:
Scottish – celtic – knotwork – mythology – animals – ravens – battle – armor – leather – kilts – tartan – pleats – draped shawls – tunics – draped flowy fabric – drapey + leather – knotwork +leather – knotwork IN leather – leather carving!
I put together a collage to show my design teacher and sent it off to see what she thought.
Her reply stated that she loved my Celtic raven mythology idea which was great to hear so I stuck with it.
Before the end of our second year, we were given the brief for our design subject to read so that we could start thinking about what we might like to do for our final collection in third year. The brief asked us to design a range of our choosing – women’s, men’s, childrens, evening, swimwear – anything. We were all a little excited and nervous at the thought, though we had the whole summer break and half of the 1st term to come up with the concept and design our ranges.
We were asked to think of our target market – age, gender, income, occupation, etc. and design specifically for them, taking into account the cost, practicality, saleability and what trends were forecast for the season we had chosen. As for the design side of things, the brief stated that we should think of ways in which we could show our creativity and find our signature style that we could express in our range.
Easier said than done.