Friday, November 08, 2013

Exhibit Ambush Phase 2: Specimen

This year’s Exhibit Ambush Phase 2 at the Port Pavilion was a success! After months of hard work from the team, we were all able to pull together and present amazing art, performances, and design to the public. This year, I presented my collection titled Specimen made with white plastic trash bags.  My outline of the process for this collection is below. 

Photo by David Del Valle

To begin, the creative process starts with brainstorming, direction, and what I like to call inspirational hoarding. The initial direction and the the finished designs are almost never consistent. The creative evolution that takes place along the way is usually a means of finding common ground between what you intend to create and what you are actually creating. Believe it or not, there is a big difference between both.

The direction for this particular collection began with moods.  I wanted to convey a sense of unease and discomfort in my collection while having it aesthetically pleasing and refined. I began writing up a character profile as a starting point. As I continued drawing upon concepts and ideas, the incorporation of literature and art was inevitable.  I began to draw ideas from Mannerist paintings, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and John Fowles’ The Collector.  I was inspired by moths, minimal colors, and linear textures.  Ultimately, what most influenced the designs of this this collection were moths, The Collector, and Kimbra’s song, Good Intent

After refining the designs, the initial work process is all experimentation.  The challenge of working with unconventional materials is the fact that one has to get used to the medium and see how it works.  It is very much akin to getting to know a person, the individual in this case being trash bags.  Processes and work methods are then developed in order to manipulate this medium into what you want.  So, after a long period of trial and error, we learned to get along.

The upside of working with plastic is that it behaves similar to leather and vinyl fabrics. The only difference of course is the thin and fragile texture.  Because of this, I was able to utilize many methods used in leather and vinyl textiles and those I learned constructing my first Ambush collection, Recurrence. In addition, I was also able to apply much of the priceless hand sewing, fitting, and crafting techniques I picked up working at the theatre during the spring.

The downside to working with thin plastic is the careful methods required during construction. Sewing machines are usually too rough to use with single sheets of the trash bags because the speed of the machine rips through the stitch lines. Because of this, a lot of hand stitching is involved meaning, slow and meticulous work.  Admittedly, hand sewing is utilized in much of the finishing processes for conventional garments as well, mostly in high fashion, costuming, and couture pieces. 

Behind the Scenes Photos by Jon Medel

The day of the show, I was still working on polishing up these garments with hand sewing.  Without the help of such an incredible collaborative team backstage, my garments, though they may have looked finished, would not be as “on point” as it ultimately was.  Special thanks to my fellow designers, amazing volunteers and dressers, my backstage support team, and my incredible models.  This inter-dependency and the collaboration involved in executing a well-produced show never fails to develop within me an immense amount of gratitude towards everyone involved and it is truly what I love most about this industry and these events.

Links to runway and event photos, reviews, and articles:
Discover SD
Ejje Photos
FG Photography
Jon Medel
N2 Design
Sergio Leon Lau Photography
Wade Courtney Photography

Dot Magazine

Models in my collection:
Cynthia Adams
I-Wen Anne Lei
Elizabeth Morrell
Anali Saiz
Maya Sawyer
Tiffany Williams

Stylist: Erica Ashley
Jewelry from: Sweet1985

Live, breathe, and create art.

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