Co-Everything: Defining Co-Design for fashion and textiles

Friday 6th November ‘09
3.30pm – 5pm
Lecture Theatre, Chelsea Millbank
TFRG / PhD Student Jen Ballie presents:‘Co-Everything: Defining Co-design for Fashion and Textiles’
Co-design is an all-encompassing term to describe participatory action, but how does it fit fashion? This presentation will explore a series of co-design terms and define them within a fashion context, to offer a series of solutions for designers for discussion with the audience.
If you are a undergraduate/ postgraduate student from the University of the Arts, London and have an interest in this area please come along or contact me or more info.


Oxfam DIY

Picture 2Oxfam are hosting a DIY section at their Camden store with the help of fashion stylist to the stars Mrs Jones who has styled the likes of Kyle and The Killers…

She will be running a series of workshops within the store and be on hand to offer customisation tips & tricks. This is an exciting way to re-style and re-use reclaimed materials. Offering such support has the potential to inspire people to be more creative with discarded clothing…

Running parallel to the workshops are DIY tools online and a DIY fashion competition. Visit their website for more information…Picture 1

Mary Queen of Charity Shops











Mary with the volunteers from Save The Children

I watched the finale of Mary Queen of Charity Shops last night and am really impressed with Mary’s efforts. She collaborated with the charity Save the Children and took on the challenge of making charity shops profitable and desirable. When I watched the first episode I thought what a challenge!

I love vintage and thrift shop fashion so shopping in charity shops really appeals to me. But as they explained the effort they have to invest in sorting through soiled clothing to find the rare gem… I was shocked. I carefully select what I donate to a charity shop and though everything was donated lovingly! I liked the given with love campaign but it did make me feel slightly embarrassed as I should be donating more than I do…

I love the people who volunteered and really felt for them at times. Last nights episode showed the volunteers pitched D-Day (Donate, don’t dump) to big corporations like Google… The finale showed what a journey Mary and the volunteers have taken and I think it’s going to make people think about charity shops differently. The also visited Ravensbourne College and invited the students to sell their designs. One student was upcyling bags through reclaimed materials…

I visited Mary’s “Living and Giving” Charity shop in Westfield’s last Saturday… and I thought it was fab! There was a really friendly, welcoming atmosphere and lots of fashion treasures! Apparently the store has raised £60,ooo so far!

 Its open until the 27th June head down to Westfields Shopping Centre and check it out…

Vintage Barbie – Mix n Match

This barbie advert was a little before my time but I think the way the child places the clothing and the doll in front on the mirror conveys how much consideration children apply when dressing their dolls/ playing dress up…

My barbie days have definitely had an impact on my ‘grown up’ fashion experiences. I think it was then that I realised what a joy clothing can bring…

Theatre de la Mode

I met with my friend Matty today an Art Historian and she introduced me to the world of Theater de la Mode.  It was introduced in post war Paris by the courtiers as a format to present their collections as fabric and clients were in limited supply.

The concept was introduced by Robert Ricci (son of Nina Ricci) who was head of Chambre Syndicale.  Allowed courtiers to produce everything in minature 1:3 scale allowing them to send dolls dressed in their collections to faraway buyers.
The dolls were designed by Eliane Bonabel (an illustrator) and Joan Rebull (a sculptor). Amazingly 53 design houses participated including well established labels such as Schiaparelli, Hermes, Balenciaga, plus many more…
Each participating design house was asked to design five outfits and they applied impeccable detailing to each creation – lots of hand beading work and intricate finishing processes, paying full attention to lining and fastenings. All of the outfits were accessories with miniature shoes, hats, purses, gloves – representing the detail of a finished “real size” collection.
I ran a google search and came across the modern version of Theatre de la Mode an emerging label by Sara Flamm and Christopher Kelly. They present their wearable range of men’s and women’s wear on bespoke hand made mannequins. (I will post their video – following this posting)
I think this creative concept is fantastic and really exciting. The courtiers of Paris came together to ensure Haute Couture continued through desperate times. At present fashion is under interrogation due to global environmental and economical difficulties. By reflecting we can to take note, to become more innovative, resourceful and considerate to ensure beautiful fashion continues.

Schway Fashion – more interaction

Hello again, someone kindly left me another link for a new fashion interaction website called Schway Fashion”. Its engineered to allow you to mix and match different garments (including accessories) which can be saved or emailed to your friends – or even uploaded to your facebook profile.

The process begins with a mannequin for which you can select the underwear, garments and full accessoriesbasically create your own look from head to toe! There are garments from Ted Baker, and high end luxury classics from Chanel, Gucci, Christain Louboutin, Ralph Lauren and Jimmy Choo. As I pieced together my own little collection my heart did a little flutter as the virtual calculator tallied the cost below the outfit!!
What I like about this website is that it is easy to use which allows you to create looks with minimal effort. The sharing features presents opportunities to exchange ideas and interact with fellow fashion enthusiasts.
I think technology is changing at a rapid pace changing the ways we interact and engage with the objects around us. As tools like this become available it presents consumers with the opportunity to become more independent by exploring all fashion alternatives in opposed to trends dictated to them.  This will allow consumers to identify their own personal style making them more considerate when selecting their closing.
A lot of fashion magazines are touching upon the theme of consideration and thoughtful consumption. As we enter the new fashion season we are seeing a transition towards timeless and well made clothing. We should try to find ways to re-style our current items by co-ordinating with new accessories or accompanying with stable key pieces which will carry us into the next season. Interactive fashion tools can support this thinking by allowing us to catalogue fashion creations in an intangible way – reducing disposable consumption and promoting beautiful style.

Cloth Kits

I have been thinking about Cloth Kits since I came across their beautiful stand at the knit and stitch show at Alexandra Palace, London (2008). They are a great way to explore dressmaking if your a novice. The kit consists of a pattern pre-printed onto fabric so no dressmaking pattern or pins are required.

This isn’t a new concept and goes back to 1988, a mail order company who once employed 400 workers. The brand was re-bought in 2007 and re-launched with newly designed fabrics and garments all printed in the UK.
I am going to order this beautiful skirt (shown left) I think the quirky print will cheer me up over the rest of the wintry days teamed with some tights and then again into summer days with a pair of flip flops and a t-shirt. I’ll report back with some photos of my attempts to cut and sew. Have a look on their website – there are lots of different garments and accessories to choose from.
I think this is a wonderful concept to allow the masses to participate in dressmaking in a time where skills have become lost. As prices on the high street continue to drop, it makes fashion more accessible and saves time and pennies (it costs more to make your own). But as skills are no longer passed from generation to generation – who will uphold tradition and value. If I think of the most valued possession in my wardrobe – a handmade black pinafore/skirt (the straps remove) it fits perfect and co-ordinates with almost anything. A friend of my mums made it for me in a day after I presented her with some clippings from vogue. She was so advanced in dressmaking she didn’t even pull out a measuring tape and it still amazes me that its the best fitted item in my wardrobe!
I think a lot can be learned from buying a clothkit we just have to learn to make some time!