Design Understanding 2

I find it hard to write about school sometimes, because we use certain phrases in the curriculum that I find hard to translate accurately. One of these is "Designverständnis". It's one of 5 general "fields of study" we're taught during what is called the "forum". Every semester consists of a forum, which are made up of the 5 different (mostly weekly) courses, and a project we work on on our own (what I shared in my last post). The courses are:

"Designverständnis", which can be translated to design understanding. So far we've delved into the impact every stage of a piece of clothing has on the environment; methods for designing besides drawing, like life-size collages, stylings with objects; texts on subcultures, fashion and gender etc.

"Körperverständnis", which I guess would be understanding of the body, or "bodily awareness". We work with a Feldenkrais practitioner for this. Here's a bit about Feldenkrais from wikipedia: "The Feldenkrais Method, often referred to simply as "Feldenkrais", is a somatic educational system designed by Moshé Feldenkrais (1904–1984). Feldenkrais aims to reduce pain or limitations in movement, to improve physical function, and to promote general wellbeing by increasing students' awareness of themselves and by expanding students' movement repertoire. [...] The Feldenkrais Method is therefore a movement pedagogy, similar to the Alexander Technique in being educational and not a form of manipulative therapy." Since clothing is something we wear on our bodies (duh), my school feels it's important to be aware of your own. We also use how our bodies feel after the Feldenkrais work as design inspiration (for example, if my legs feel super heavy, my partner will try to interpret that in some way with paper or tapes or fabric, that's how the first image in this post came to be)

"Kollektion & Fläche": collection & surface, where we learn a lot of technical skills like patternmaking & sewing techniques, but also delve deeper into the design process (fabrics!! that's the "surface" part :), but also quickly developing silhouettes, ideas for colors and accessories)

"Präsentation & Kommunikation": presentation & communication, pretty self explanatory I think. We learn about photography, graphic design, performance... basically all the ways you can present your work. And it's not just about the skills, it's also about developing an idea of how you would like to present your work and finding your own visual language/doing things differently than the ads that might be printed in Vogue (unless you totally dig those). It's also about finding efficient ways of testing ideas in this area, and doing things on a tight budget.

"Konzept & Prozess": concept and process. This one I personally find very exhausting. Very important, but exhausting. It's basically about figuring out your "vision". What you want to do, why you want to do it, how it might be relevant, for whom you want to do it, where and with which materials, what you don't want to do, what you want to change and how... All those big questions. They don't expect us to find something right from the start and forever stick to it, but it's important to them (and I think that's good) that we ask ourselves these questions, and figure out in which direction we'd like to go. On a smaller scale it's also about how to gather inspiration, and formulate a concept for a project based on it, and how to go about further research (primary research where we test methods and design ideas ourselves, and secondary research where we looks for images / texts that help/inspire us).

Well, today I'd like to share my results from this semesters design understanding. It was a really cool set up: a creativity workshop spread across 3 days. The first day we spent a half day doing short challenges (write a love letter to your favorite piece of clothing, make a sculpture from 3 different materials lying around, sketch it in 4 different ways, stuff like that), and a half day "pimping" process photos from last project. We have to document our project, and some of those photos don't turn out too great, but we need them. So in different groups we figured out ways to make them into something more useable through different methods (digital (photoshop, smartphone apps) and analog (laminating, burning, scribbling, collage etc.))

On the second day we displayed all of our results (images and texts) around the room and the different groups explained what they did. Then we each had about an our to pick out our favorite things from the whole room, make a moodboard from them, and set ourselves an assignment. We had a day for the assignment.

These images are from my documentation I have to hand in next week:

left page is the challenge I had: take an old piece of clothing, "pimp it" in a few minutes ( I added glitter, tinsel, dish sponges and "copper rags"). Then we had 10 minutes each to go find someone to wear the piece and take a picture with it. After this we had to print the photos and add sentences from the "love letters" the others wrote (some of those sentences were really funny taken out of context, like "I fell in love with you from the moment I saw you hanging from that pole" - german word for rack is also the word for pole :))

right page are my analog process images from project 1 that I manipulated (laminator, photocopier, pens, collage)

left side is my "group sourced moodboard", some of my own images in there, but also from my classmates. I sorted the images according to what I wanted to take from them (color & pattern, silhouette, materiality & dimension, shapes & layering). The assignment I gave myself, was to come up with silhouette ideas based on simple geometric shapes and layering of those shapes, that I could clarify into actual designs in a later step.

To do this I used two methods: quick "material collages" (above right), with scraps from my material collection, and kinda abstract sketches that are roughly based on the shape of the human body (below). I think the material collages are my favorite, because in my past project I found it hard to merge the fabrics I was drawn to, to the silhouettes I came up with based on the concept. The method I tried here was a good way for me to take into consideration texture and color alongside the silhouette.


and finally, I colored the sketches and wrote down different ideas of what the shapes could be. Jacket? Cape? Top? Dress? Pants? Belt? Bag?

I hope I can use these collages/sketches in my next project :)