Working it out

‘…so hard to be doing what you really meant for, beauty
Huh, but don’t I make it look easy
Don’t I make it look good?’ – Anderson .Paak, Come Down

Thanks again, Anderson. The luxury of the opportunity to even try is not lost on me. So without putting too much pressure on this isolated moment in time, I’m using the occasion of this second graduation to make a ‘trailer’ for what I’m really meant to be doing. Explaining to others where I’m at in the process is like drawing water from a stone. I feel like it’s all there already, like a lump of clay, waiting for the grafting fingers of the sculptor (me (!) to reveal the form within. Form, which communicates a message. That’s what I’m after, and I think I’m struggling because I’m not clear on the message yet. In order to get to the message I need to find out what is imperative for me. What part of my story do I tell? Perhaps a way to find out, is to first look what the fashion industry needs to hear. And then have the mutual truths elevate each other.

Yesterday I found myself objectively watching a documentary clip on Kanye West called, The Art of Staging. I’m still firmly in the anti-Kanye camp because I don’t suffer fools, but this particular clip was about the artistry and transcendent aspirations of his live performances. I’m finding myself increasingly inspired by set design and the creation of an atmosphere. More than presentation, its Immersion, that’s going to capture the much divided attention of a modern audience. For this I want to include the digital tools I have access to –  like Dan’s 3D camera, my Adobe knowledge, and I’ve started to learn After Effects too. This last one, so that I can animate my fashion illustrations, replacing sewing with digital labour.
What is impressive about Kanye’s achievements and what I believe his talent to be, is his vision, the platform he’s created for himself and imperatively, the creation of an arena for others. There’s a strain of noble intention that manages to pierce through the tightened sphincter of the asshole through which he speaks. When you drown out the fart noises and just focus on that, his ability comes to the fore.
Another smart and definitively modern tactic is the alignment of his vision with like-minded creatives with dynamite expertise, such as set designer Es Devlin, my new found hero. In a talk to university students it becomes clear that she is the visual orchestrator of the psychology behind the evocative stage effects. This acknowledgement of the poetic backstory, and deep thinking behind something, which results in an impactful and resonant experience, is what gives me hope that I can apply what I have to the medium of fashion. It might even be indicative that a voice like mine is ripe for an airing. And that maybe its time that the fashion concept as it stands sheds some of its layers of vacuity, via my alienation at its ego driven nature.

At the same time there is a danger of contradiction where a self righteousness threatens to pervade and defeat the purpose of the exercise. Striking the right tone will be key and ensure that the end expression is joyful and enlightening, not preachy and equally up itself. I’ve therefore done a quick dictionary search to investigate the whereabouts of the fine line.
One way of describing Ego is as follows:

‘The “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.’

To find the flip side of this, I popped ‘ego’ into the Thesaurus and found, Conceit:

‘An excessively favorable opinion of one’s own ability, importance, wit,etc.’ or,
‘A fancy, purely decorative article.’

A fine line indeed. I think creativity needs the ego in order to be critical and come up with something new. If fashion reflects the times, then it has inflated alongside the human ego, which has curdled into conceit, souring the truly innovative function of fashion  and turning it into mass production.

When the consumer changes, so will the demand for superfluous, exploitative systems. So perhaps changing the way we consume, by offering alternatives, which add more depth to people’s experience of fashion, will at the very least awaken people to value different things, and contribute towards veering away from the throwaway habits prevalent in today’s clothing culture.

Perhaps that is the imperative, which shapes the message. And now I have to find a way of creating an analogous, immersive experience, which will serve as a framework for consuming fashion in a new way. Where the focus is more on the Seeing, than the ‘See and Be Seen’

My 2D teacher suggested that I find a big space and start experimenting; that I come to a few conclusions based on my research, assemble ingredients to play with and photograph them.

POA. Look for a space, book it. Seek the counsel of Mijs (studying set design) and Ionie (studied Man and Identity). Assemble materials (unfinished collection, mannequins, lights, etc. Experiment.


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