Archive for May, 2009

Technology, My Friend, My Foe

May 29, 2009

So after taking my computer to a professional and getting told that I’m no longer covered under a warranty, I have decided to fix my laptop myself. Which means erasing 3 years worth of projects, and starting over. At least I have the summer to get some work back. At least I still have my traditional portfolio to copy from. This will give me a chance to really revise my work so that I am proud of it. I have to ruthless about the work I present to the world now. No more fillers, or portfolio padding. Everything has to be top notch.

I am so bad, I never back up my work, and this is what happens. I’ve learned my lesson this time, and will probably be getting an external hard drive to work off of. And back up my work.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll be going to work for the next 3 days, will be back next week.

Personal growth and my blog

May 26, 2009

Hi everyone! I’ve been away the past week or so because my laptop broke, and I need to get it fixed. This has given me time to think a little bit more about the direction of this blog, and I’ve decided to change the format a little bit due to changes that have happened that have allowed me to refocus the intent of this blog.

Changes to the Blog
Originally the intent of this blog was to showcase and document my 4th year collection. Now that 4th year is looming just a couple short months away, I want to refocus the blog to that original goal. There are things that I am passionate about, but I feel like I have lost the personal angle I want to convey from this blog. I felt as if I was forcing an identity through the facets of fashion I was interested in, rather than developing my identity through creative self exploration, which was what I had wanted.

I feel that the best way for me to learn and grow is to be creative while still maintaining my thirst for knowledge and research. This I think will be best done through fewer posts a week so that I can focus on my creative energy rather than editing and presentation for this blog. I will be working with 3 regular posts a week that deal with creative inspiration and innovation (Inspired!), theories and thoughts on topics about self, fashion, creativity, all from a personal angle (Piece of My Mind), and a visual recount of my week through my sketchbook and finished work (The Showcase), as well as posts documenting the progress and process of developing my 4th year collection (more about that in the next post).

Part of the Journey
This change in blogging came through as I started blogging, while not connecting with my intent and true self. What led me to this was a change in my actual life. The last week I was faced with feelings of self-doubt, sadness, and failure. I consider myself to be an optimistic person with a healthy outlook on life. I am excited and passionate about the future and my work. However, not placing as a finalist in a design contest last week was the trigger for me to doubt myself. Added to that, what I thought was my first freelance job turned out to be a bust. And I started to feel undervalued at my part-time job. All 3 events happened within a week, all as a result of me having certain expectations that fell short. Not only that, but events in my personal life coincided that made me feel like a failure.

It took a few days before this dark mood fully took control, but with some help, it became the catalyst for me to keep growing.

In fashion, we are particularly susceptible to feelings of failure, self doubt, and detachment, as with other creative fields. It is not always easy. But I accept that it is a part of the journey. I will not always place first, I will not always place at all, I will not always know I’m doing, and I will need to work my way up. Most of all, I had to finally deal with the fact that I cannot settle with the talent that I already have and just practice and get better at it – I have to really get down and gritty by pushing my boundaries and growing creatively.

This morning, I took a look at the 30 design contest finalists and realized what they had that I lacked. I took notes, and I felt a lot better about not making it in, because I did in fact settle with my design entry. I received great feedback from my boss about the work I have done for his business. I also booked my trip to London for September, after debating with myself back and forth for months about whether or not I should actually go. After learning my lesson, I realized that I look too much at possibility, and not enough at how to make those possibilities realities.

If my hard drive gets erased, I will be fine with it. My work will be cleansed and I get to start with a blank canvas and portfolio.

The life of a designer requires careful balance, in my opinion. For me, at least. Making blogging my central focus from the start hinders my ability to grow creatively, so I am taking a step back and refocusing to fewer posts, with more personal content. I’m sure there are people who are interested in the elusive world of a design student, from someone who actually cares enough to write about it. If not, then at least I have fun doing this and learning from it.

Piece of My Mind / “Stuff”

May 13, 2009

pieceofmymind

I am in the midst of cleaning out not only my closet and giving it a complete rehaul, but my room as well. Humans have the unique ability to acquire LOTS. OF. JUNK. I am definitely no exception, but am making it a priority to live as simply and streamlined as possible.

This post from Think Simple Now was really enlightening. My parents are notorious pack-rats, and growing up in the environment that I did, I came to the realization early on that I didn’t want a lot of stuff. I saw the impact having lots of stuff had on them in physical, emotional and spiritual ways, and I knew that it was not the way I wanted to live.

Sometimes it is a bit of a struggle. I am in a highly materialistic industry, let alone society. Fashion is built on seasons, and on acquiring more stuff. I want to appear stylish and creative, professional yet artistic. It is a part of playing the role. It’s not as if I don’t have enough clothes, though. I just don’t have the right clothes. I like fashion. I appreciate art and beauty. And yet, having so much junk, I’ve realized, makes me appreciate the things I love less. I really don’t need that much stuff. In fact, I won’t even miss any of it.

Of course, some things I just can’t get rid of for their sentimental value. I keep all my childhood projects and work in a box, but other than that, I have been trying to be as ruthless as I can about my stuff. I promised myself that I would not start buying anything else until I have finished getting rid of what I don’t want now. I have my eye on some pieces that I actually need. This was a good opportunity to finally be able to see with clarity what I actually have and figure out what I actually need to be living my desired life.

In the article, Tina speaks about moving residences as the opportunity to take stock of what she had and let go of some of it. Perhaps this is what prompted me to try to clean out what I have acquired over the past almost-21 years of living in this house, as I am anticipating the way I want to live (independently, simply, and passionately) and preparing my life for that moment. I have had to let go of 4 garbage bags of clothing, which, I have to say, was mostly not mine in the first place.

I feel like these changes in my life are at the same time a reflection of me growing up as well as a stepping stone for me to grow up. This letting go of material things is paving the way for me to acquire more intellectual and creative awareness, something I believe makes sense for the world right now. I think that people are going to be streamlining their lives, as we move into an increasingly technology-driven world, where information and communication will take the place material goods have in filling that void in our lives.

This change will no doubt be reflected in my design philosophy as I go into fourth year in designing my grad collection. I know that I will focus on creating clothes that are beautiful, functional, and well designed so that they retain their worth season after season, year after year. I want my clothes to be treasured as well as worn. I want them to be high quality. As the economic downturn has taught us, bad times make people think more carefully about what they buy. I want people to think about what I design, and still buy it. I want them to love it the more they wear it. I want my pieces to have true value, to not be thought of as frivolous, but as a necessary and worthy indulgence that aids in their lives, not detract from their dreams, values, and lifestyles.

Fashion: Meet Technology / ShopFlick

May 12, 2009

fashionmeettechnology

Fashion: Meet Technology is my weekly discovery of technology’s impact and influence in the fashion industry.

Last week I discovered ShopFlick, a video-based indie marketplace. The concept creates an innovative shopping experience, allowing for the intersection between discovery, entertainment, and community.

Online shopping used to take a major backseat to the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, but with the rise of social media, that is no longer the case. Shopping online has so many advantages, among them 24/7 opening hours, the ability to shop without a pushy salesperson, complete product information, etc.

ShopFlick brings another dimension to online shopping, and I am excited to see what further innovations will be made.

Inspired!: Creating happiness

May 11, 2009

inspired

Inspired! is my start to the week: a piece of advice, aesthetic inspiration in art and fashion, or just something that makes me want to get up and do the week right. Today’s edition looks at inspiration in leading a happy life.

For those of you who haven’t yet been on TED, check it out. It is a media communication platform that first came out of a set of conferences on Technology, Entertainment, Design (though the talks range far beyond that). We used it as a resource in my first Creativity and Innovation class this semester, and it was first introduced to me in a design class about a year ago. As I was browsing recently, one talk really stood out to me as it brought up issues that are both interesting and inspiring.

The gist of it:
Being stuck with one choice creates happiness. Hmm, seeing as how I stuck with my choice of going to design school and I am immensely happy with my decision, I’d say that theory rings true. This is inspiring me to make lifestyle choices and to stick by them, rather than worry about what I would be missing out on.

What else?
The view that human misdeeds come as the result of overhyped view one has of the difference between one situation’s ability to bring happiness and another’s. Agreed.

One more thing…
How I was able to bring this back to fashion: this manufactured sense of want for material things in the hopes that they bring happiness moreso than not having these things is what makes the economy go ’round and ’round. It all comes back to sustaining what we have created out of ourselves.

Watch it, Dan Gilbert makes a good case. Examine why you strive for the things you strive for, so that you have the awareness to be able to go beyond that in creating and designing an authentic life.

I was also inspired by his ability to grip an audience. I wonder if I could do that someday. What would I have to talk about?

I <3, You Click: May 8, 2009

May 8, 2009

ilikeyouclick

Here are some links I found interesting this week:

Productivity, Creativity, and Self

# 6 Steps to Eliminate Limiting Beliefs (Think Simple Now)
# The 4 Hour Workday – getting it all done before noon to free up the rest of your day (Think Simple Now)
# The power of mindfulness and how to live life to the fullest. Tip: Do the one month challenge (Zen Habits)

Fashion

# Haute  Tech Marries Fashion and Technology: a more recent look at the haute tech industry and what it is up to (Newsweek)
# Profile on Vancouver label Nixxi, love the photography (Vancouver Fashion Ezine)
# Slick flip-through online portfolio by 2007 Kwantlen grad Cara Sumpton
# Fashion blog leads to the Paris runway: using social media to break into the fashion biz (CNN)
# Fashion can learn a thing or two from singing sensation Susan Boyle re: social media and the celebration of authenticity (The Business of Fashion)

Piece of My Mind / Slash Careers

May 6, 2009

pieceofmymind

Piece of My Mind has a little bit more of a personal angle – my musings, updates on my life, and in today’s case, thoughts on a book and the theories it presented to me, and how they relate to my life.

The aforementioned book is One Person, Multiple Careers by Marci Alboher. This is the first time I’ve heard of the “Slash Effect”, basically the premise is that one person can have multiple careers that all contribute equally to creating the life one desires.

After reading this book, I thought about what I would see being my primary career and what would be my “orbiter” career. Growing up, I always felt so limited when forced to choose one single career path. The people I most admire are the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, people who are good at many things. I wanted to be an astronaut, a writer, an architect, a designer, and yes, a superhero.

The book itself isn’t amazing, but it did open my eyes to the idea that not only is the “slash effect” okay, but it will soon be readily embraced. Not only that, but it aids in creating a satisfying and fulfilling life.

The problem is, although I’ve narrowed my field of interest down to fashion, the fashion industry in itself has so many careers that interest me. Mainly this summer is a huge opportunity for me to explore what fields I want to get into, which you’ll get to see through this blog. My greatest hope for my grad collection is that it strongly connects to the part of the industry that I want to head towards, and will perhaps aid me in making that decision, and if that happens to change over my lifetime, I’m cool with it.

I love the excitement of not knowing what the future brings, and am anxious of the uncertainty that lies ahead. Right now, I guess I am a student/part-time photo assistant, but in less than one year, that will all change. I know that I do not lie with the majority of college students, who basically “freak out” at the thought of graduation – I am eager, because I know that opportunity is aplenty, and I can make and carve my own identity in this new world where people are defining their own lifestyles and careers. I love that feeling. Now, if only I could decide…this blog really is a way for me to connect with my own interests and to share them with others.

I highly recommend reading this book especially if you are the type of person who feels confined at the thought of doing one thing only, even if you are extremely passionate about it for the reason that you have more to offer doing other things as well. The book was a great way to solidify the idea that it is okay and beneficial for me to head down that way, and took away a lot of the unease I was feeling about heading into the real world.

I am extremely interested in people who are living the “slash effect”. I would imagine quite a few people in fashion do – I’d love to know more about them. I think I will investigate this – will require a follow-up post and some research. P.S. If you are reading this and are happily living two careers, I’d love to hear from you.

Fashion: Meet Technology / Milk dresses

May 5, 2009

fashionmeettechnology

Fashion: Meet Technology is my weekly post presenting finds and discussions of fashion meeting with technology. Yesterday’s post about haute tech fashion designer Angel Chang is an example of using technology to create fashion, and creating fashion to make sense for a life that interacts with technology on a daily basis. I thought today would be a great opportunity for me to showcase work in the field of photography, combining the glamour of fashion with the tools of technology.

While browsing Trendhunter, one of favorite clicks for inspiration and eye candy, I came across these milk dresses photographed by Russian photographer Andrey Razumovsky and digitally manipulated. The effect is provocative, beautiful, interesting, and humorous, a combo not easy to find. I like it.

At my part time job, I digitally enhance bridal photography (going beyond nothing more than enhancing colour, lighting, correcting skin tone and erasing imperfections) but I am learning more and more about Photoshop and its capabilities, and in the field of fashion photography, where often the aim is to capture a mood that inspires and creates buzz and controversy, the tools we have available today really help with that. There’s a fine line between enhancement and pure illusion, although in this case, that line is pretty clear. As my boss likes to say, it’s like magic. 😉

Inspired! / Angel Chang

May 4, 2009

inspired2

For my inaugural Inspired! post, I decided to focus on inspiration as it comes through at a cross-meeting of influential ideas and material goods; not one or the other, but both, and I didn’t have to look far, as I decided to look to one of the designers who most inspires me.

Being human in nature, we always respond to visual stimuli, making pretty clothes a lure and fascination. It is almost too easy to make pretty clothes now, but yet we still respond with the awe and greed that has become the fuel for our society to be mass consumers. One of the designers I greatly admire is ANGEL CHANG because she has not only found the answer to this issue, but is trying to do something about it with a line that aims to bridge fashion with technology. Her eponymous collection makes me want to do something more for fashion other than make pretty clothes, and that is why I find her so inspiring. I have admiration for people who aim to make a difference in a way that moves forward and may not be readily accepted as a deviation of the norm (most interpretations of “haute tech” conjure up images of neon spacesuits, 80s fashion fads, and distaste – not exactly ready-to-wear for a woman who wants to look fashionable, not ridiculous).

A few pieces from her collections:

From her bio: “Angel Chang is a New York-based fashion designer who creates versatile dressing solutions for worldly women on the go. Her namesake collection, ANGEL CHANG (founded in 2006), grew out of a vision to offer women wardrobes that could actually “do things”—beyond just looking good. The collection’s use of innovative materials—including color-changing prints, light-up fabrics, and self-heating linings—was a first for the American luxury designer market. As a result of these pioneering efforts, the company received the coveted Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award and the prestigious Cartier Women’s Initiative Award within the first year of launching.

The collection’s initial aims were to inspire innovation within the fashion industry and to simultaneously stimulate deeper collaborations with technology companies. Each design was created in collaboration with a range of experienced technologists to offer women versatile designs to compliment their fast-paced and multi-faceted lifestyles. The ANGEL CHANG collection will continue to balance future novelty with everyday practicality as the label grows into a global fashion lifestyle brand.”

What is fascinating to me is that her work incorporates textile design techniques and traditional inspiration with technology, so she really is fusing two worlds. Each piece has something unique and artistic about it – I would expect nothing less of a label that is in the luxury realm, so fashion and art must be in equation, which they are. I love reading about concepts and inspiration behind tangible items, so having a concept for each piece as Angel Chang does on her website resonates with me, and allows further for material goods to be seen as having meaning, utility, and worth (not just the $$ kind).

I encourage everyone to read her manifesto, available for download in PDF format here. This is where it first clicked for me that fashion isn’t just aesthetics and identity. Angel Chang is, however, the only designer off the top of my head who is doing this kind of work – technology-infused fashion for the luxury ready-to-wear market, although other companies are dabbling in it I’m sure. To me, this type of market is more than just a niche; it’s a segment for the more advanced consumer that will one day transition to the mainstream (at least, that’s the hope these “haute tech” designers have, that their influence reaches beyond press and interest, and into actual sales and people wearing their clothes on the streets).

As a young, emerging designer whose ideas have helped shaped mine, Angel Chang is a designer I try to keep up with. Many designers find inspiration from the fashion greats, the 20th century designers who, for the most part, have built fashion empires that are now run by business execs and are no longer bringing fresh ideas to the table beyond aesthetics. I like to find inspiration with young and vibrant creatives, as they have the ability to bridge worlds in a way that previous generations don’t.

FOR MORE…
Angel Chang will be on the new Bravo series THE FASHION SHOW, premiering May 7. I will definitely tune in that, if only to see how her ideas translate to the cutthroat entertainment-focused nature of reality TV.

Visit www.angelchang.com. For updates, she also has a Facebook page.

Have a good week! Thanks for reading.