Reflective Statement.


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Since the beginning of my Research and Enquiry Module, I found myself searching for bibliography that was very distant from what I’m used to reading. At first, it was difficult to find books and journals related to my keyword because I was not aware of the authors I had to search for. My chosen keyword is interactive and, during this research process, I have discovered a two-path research that combines 60s groundbreaking theories and current journals and authors devoted to untangle the way in which we experience art, music, and design nowadays.

From the 60s, I discovered some canonical essays –such as Barthes’ The Death of Author– to find myself at the starting point of a very exhaustive research that lead into contemporary authors, such as Lev Manovich and his interpretation of the so-called “Remix Culture.” This research was a real challenge for me not only because of the unknown subject but for the short amount of time I had to discover this new world of interactivity. I usually trust major authors –such as Barthes– but I feel a bit less confident when it comes to present authors whose terminology and concepts I am not used to.

During this discovery, I found another groundbreaking theory that helped me place very good examples in the fields of Art and Design. This was Eco’s masterpiece Opera Aperta. Although I had read this book for other purposes, I found myself enjoying some new interpretations and links to all of the examples he cites in a subject that I had never analyzed before.

The art explosion of the 60s described by Eco opened the path for me to find present works of art that appeared to have followed the aims and experimentations of these artists. I have experienced some major exhibitions this year (The Venetian Biennale), have read uncountable journals, interviews and book chapters to nourish my poor knowledge of the subject, and have observed and accumulated thousands of images to break down and analyze. All of these searches have improved my blog post variety showing how my keyword could be experienced in various fields. I mostly enjoyed my posts on collective interactions and common feelings. I like how present art expressions have become more conscious of how we live in society.

However, my search had to relate at some point not only with my keyword but also to my main subject and the reason why I started the MA in the first place: translating Fashion Design into Graphic language for an educational purpose. This is my biggest defiance and the Research and Enquiry module has helped me set down the rules of what my graphic piece should look like.

Despite the fact that I found it easy to draw connections between subjects, I still feel that I have to work harder on trying not to narrow my searches. The contemporary authors I have read so far opened my curiosity but I still find it difficult to open myself to new authors.

I am confident that in the next steps I will be able to embrace in a practical form all the theory learnt in this module. My aim is to shape each main idea in my final practice piece.



A table Summary


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Every time I do some extensive research I try to capture all the information in one table. I do this in order to see where I stand, what I have learned and what I need to focus on. Here is my table for my Research and Enquiry module SAT 2.

All of the subjects that I have been writing about in this blog appear in the table. Each post relates in some way to my keyword or to a specific bibliography.


Collective Art / Experimentation


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Talking about experimentation with my work I remembered an artist I saw this year at the Venezia Biennale. I have already cited him in my Practice 1 FAT 1, but I really think his artwork is a great example of experimentation and collective activities—during my experimentation, I encouraged classmates to create outfits and, to my surprise, lots of the styles were made in groups.

The artist in matter is Koki Tanaka. He represented Japan at the Biennale and the work he showed consisted in videos about collective activities he encouraged different professionals to do. Among these activities, there was a piano played by five pianists at the same time and nine hairdressers cutting a girl’s hair simultaneously. He recorded every attempt of interaction and the conversations between the people involved. These artworks show interactivity through the process; it’s not aimed to be an interactive piece but to show how interactivity is the main key to deliver the final product.

Here are some of the videos he presented at the Biennale:

A piano played by five pianists:

A haircut done by nine hairdressers:

A poem written by five poets:

A pottery piece produced by five potters:

Each video shows how people with very personal careers have to work in group in order to create an object, a haircut or a poem. The videos are extremely long with almost no edited parts. They aren’t very dynamic; in fact, during my visit to the Japanese pavilion lots of people watching the video would leave without getting to the final product. I believe this was on purpose, because what’s important in these activities is not the result but the interactivity between the professionals.

It reminds me that usually Fashion students start their career in some way thinking that they will be designers on their own and in some point during their studies they realize that in most companies you have to work with a group of designers. Working not only refers to the technical part of the clothing (sewing, making patterns, printing, etc.), but also to the trend forecasts and the inspirations.

During these research posts, I realized that my graphic piece will not only be used by particulars, but it will have to find a way into collective interactivity. Whether it comes out as printed or digital, the two options –particular/collective– will be acknowledge.

Artist Source:

Tanaki, Koki. kktnk. Available at: [Accessed: 1/5/2014]



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Once I had all of my drawings I thought that it would be a good practice to let people mix and match their own outfits. So I took all of the drawn garments to my art class and encouraged my classmates to create different outfits. I photographed them and here’s the result:

They liked the activity and participated enthusiastically. One of my conclusions is that some of the outfits were created in group and made me realize that my final piece should have some kind of collective interaction (see my post on the Tate Christmas Tree and the Milka / Hope Soap ads). It doesn’t matter if the final product ends up being digital or printed, people should be allowed to create the outfits in teams.

Reflections on my illustration Process.


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After gathering and analyzing different types of Fashion Illustrations, it was time for me to start trying out some techniques. I started with some basic sketches trying to think about what historical garments I would like to mix in a collection. My first tryouts were made in ink and combined punk garments with Rococo skirts and wigs. This is a mixture often used by Vivienne Westwood which I thought would be appealing for anyone who wanted to get the app/graphic piece.

sketch_blog 1


The drawings were quite childish to appeal a Fashion designer, so I tried to make some more adult silhouettes. Between my first sketches and the newer drawings, I searched in the V & A permanent collections (since this is the Museum I plan to work with as a client) for a variety of garments that would allow me to do a great mix and match.


My search was guided by these parameters:

* Historical Periods: I should collect pieces from Ancient Egypt to the late decades of the twentieth century.

* Layers: I should look for garments with different uses on the body (underwear, outerwear, sleep wear, etc.)

* Silhouette: The search should have different types of silhouettes such as geometric (for example, YSL Mondrian dress or any late 60s Courreges), close fitting (from Egyptian Kalasiris to Herve Leger dresses), extra corporeal (all of the Victorian crinolines and bustles), draped (from Greek peplos to Madame Gres or Mariano Fortuny designs), and, of course, a multiplicity of accessories which are always relevant in the making of an outfit.

* Textiles: There should be a variety of both print and textiles (leather, crepe, cotton, knitted pieces, embroidered garments, etc.)

* Detail: Since pieces belong to a Museum, details are very important and should be considered in all of my illustrations.

Here’s part of the selection I made from the amazing V & A permanent collection:

I then tried some new sketches in pencil and ink to see how I could represent the actual garments in drawings.

The garments looked more detailed but the human body wasn’t working. The pose was stiff and didn’t have any expressiveness at all. So, I tried to make them with mixed media (pencil drawing, then traced and painted in Illustrator), but they got too flat for my aim as a Fashion Illustration.

So I got to the point where I needed to work on the pose and define a drawing technique. As I was a bit tangled, I decided to let my drawings flow without thinking about the final piece and I tried out some bigger illustrations.

practice 1

Finally, I ended up with my first illustrations for Practice 1, creating some new poses and drawing in pencil and watercolor each garment.


Below you can see some of the garments with their original inspiration:

Fashion Illustration Research.


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Once I knew my interactive piece would be based on Historical Costumes, I began a research on different types of Fashion Illustration. As it is aimed for Fashion Designers, the garments should be well represented and should include very precise details regarding buttons, zippers, studs, and any other small part that may intervene in their confection. Although the drawings needed expressiveness to make them attractive for designers to use them, I had to show every single detail in the garment almost as if they were technical drawings.

I found plenty of images that helped me on my practice. Here are some relevant examples that I chose in order to show what I aim form my garment illustrations.

Here is part of the visual research:



What I find interesting about this illustration is the detailed knitted piece on the left and how two textures are so well differentiated. I think the attitude of the model is well accomplished and shows a specific attitude defining the clothes.

Image source:

2February 1928 American magazine illustration of  the latest Paris fashions

Another type of Fashion Illustration I usually look for are the vintage fashion catalogues that were used for selling clothes, such as the Sears catalogue. Although the bodies are a bit stiff, the clothes have a great deal of detail and are shown as real as they could be.

Image source:



Some of my searches ended up in clothing in itself. This is important because, in my graphic piece, garments should appear independent from the body but they still should be attractive for users to try. It’s quite difficult to show clothes when they are not combined in an outfit, mostly when they are basic garments such as plain t-shirts or have quite simple patterns.

This image shows a trend that has been going on a while in Fashion Magazines. Independent magazines such as Frankie, Stella, Betty and Lula (by the way there is a trend in giving them girl names!, I just realized) have included Fashion illustration in their editorials and use them as a way to include mixed media in their issues. It’s a way to differentiate from major Fashion magazines that have big budgets for photographic editorials.

Another source for Fashion illustration are bloggers that use it as a way to show the fashion events they attended and the clothes they’ve seen in the catwalks. A great example is the blogger Garance Dore.

Image Source:

Fashion illustration in independent magazines and bloggers:

All Image Sources:



dressup doll

These are Stardustsoul paper-dolls. In my opinion, the way in which she represents the garments with their prints and details, and the body fitting with the natural folds of the fabric is really attractive.

Image Source:



This illustration caught my attention due to the print detail and the great color palette used.

More illustrations from Sunny Gu:

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What dragged me to save this image is the jewelry representation. My aim is to work for a Museum and there a lot of pieces of jewelry in their permanent collections.

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Similar Jewelry pieces from de V&A Museum:





The mixed media of pencil and kurecolor is quite impressive and helps the stripes come out as metallic.

Making Remix worth.


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During my Research and Analysis module, I’ve been looking a lot into the “Remix Culture” concept from different angles. From the birth of YouTube as the most important platform in the remix/ripping culture to my specific subject which is Fashion Remix. According to Lev Manovich, there are other concepts around what we nowadays call “remix”. In fact, “Remix” is what defined the post-modern culture and still continues to define our current generation (ripping and mash-ups are the most used practices in Art and Design in our present days). Similar practices in the past decades have helped Remix Culture get where it is today; for example, appropriation was much used to define some of the artists from the 80s who worked with collages based on other people’s photographs.[1] But here is what I want to focus on: Manovich in some way describes how this new Remix-Culture products now completely lack of meaningful content due to the speed in which ripping can be made, and what is most important, we are now seeing the ripping of the ripping where content that has been ripped is re-edited and flooded on the web (gifs are a great example of re-ripping).[2]

One of the subjects I teach at the University is Costume History in Fashion Design. Apart from being a major and fundamental source of inspiration for Fashion Designers and their collections, it is the foundation of what is called “Remix in Fashion” (see my post on Supermarket of Style). All of the clothing created in new collections in some ways rip off silhouettes, patterns, details, textures, and prints from older garments. The same happens in fashion editorials where Fashion Stylist and photographers create images that can be linked to iconic photographers as ‘homage’. In my opinion, the research on Costume History by students is used in a very simplistic way and the lack of significance pointed out by Manovich is there all the time. Another important fact is that it is really easy to have “Fashion” as a web-search topic; however, the outcome is full of wrong dated images that lead to misunderstanding when students are encouraged to do some research.

My aim for my Practice 1 Project is, on the one side, to accept and respect the Remix Culture we live in, trying to make the most out of it. If the final piece for a Fashion Design is undoubtedly a ripped piece of old contents, let these contents have the most significance from every angle. In The Fashion System, Barthes establishes three different structures for any particular garment, “one technological, another iconic, the third verbal. The technological structure appears as a mother tongue of which the real garments derived from it are only instances of ‘speech’. The two other structures (iconic and verbal) are also languages, but if we believe Fashion magazines, which always claim to discuss a primary real garment, these are derived languages, translated from the Mother tongue; they intervene as circulation relays between this mother tongue and its instances of ‘speech’ (the real garments).”[3]

What Barthes calls “technological” can be identified in Jules Prown’s Mind in Matter: An introduction to Material Culture Theory and Method as a Material Culture as “material culture” which “is also frequently used to refer to artefacts themselves, to the body of material available for such study” and “the study through artefacts the beliefs-values, ideas, attitudes, and assumptions of a particular community or society at a given time.”[4] Barthes defines this as the translations from the mother tongue, the derived languages.

Costume History as a subject is directly related to this analysis where not only the technological processes in which the garment was manufactured are relevant, but the assumptions on how that garment was used in each body, its relation to other garments creating an outfit and how it is used in terms of Fashion as a sociological event, all of which work together as a system. Every Fashion student should be aware of these aspects when looking for collection inspiration and that is why I’ve chosen to create an interactive piece with Costume History clothing in order to bring relevant and practical researches behind collections.

There are designers who work in more congruence with these concepts and embracing past costumes, not only for their constructions but also for their beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions. One of these designers is Vivienne Westwood. She manages to always make a statement through political issues and she always turns to historical costumes and the ways they were used to create new fashion proposals.

Screenshot 2014-01-04 15.15.39

Vivienne Westwood during the 70s in Punk outfits.

Screenshot 2014-01-04 15.17.36

1981 /1982: Designs based on Pirate costumes and Renaissance garments.

Screenshot 2014-01-04 15.19.08

1990 / 1991: Pagan inspired collections where she used corsets and Rococó pieces from The Wallace Collection in London.

Screenshot 2014-01-04 15.22.28

1995/1996: Anglomania collections using corsets, crinolines, bustles and Harris Tweed.


2012: Vivienne Westwood walks the catwalk on The Climate Revolution Collection.

Another designer that Manovich mentions in his article is John Galliano. He does recur to historical costumes but not as meaningfully as Westwood. He creates these enormous remixed outfits that gather so much information that they get nullified. In fact, the example that Manovich describes is perfect to see the difference between using old content to create a statement or just to make fuzz when it comes to the catwalk.


The 2004 / 2005 collection cited by Manovich where vagabond looks, yemenite traditions and East European motifs are mixed.

As a conclusion, the graphic piece I aim to is a tool to create re-mixings (here is where the interactivity makes it appearance) but with researched garments analysed and described by professionals in the subject (that’s why I chose a Museum as my client), which will give the student the educational tools for a Fashion statement.

[1] Manovich, Lev (2007) ‘What comes after Remix’. What comes after Remix. Available at: [Accessed: 1/4/2014]

[2] A great example of re ripping is the Visual Albúm released by Beyonce recently. The album contains 17 videos and some presentation videos that rip off the original ones. The web has been flooded with gifs of the ripped presentation videos which makes them a third rip of the original images. Re ripped gifs:

[3] Barthes, Roland (1983) The Fashion System. United States of America: University of California Press.

[4] Prown, Jules David (1982) ‘Mind in Matter: An introduction to Material Culture Theory and Method as a Material Culture’. Winterthur Portfolio. Vol. 17 (Spring, 1982). P 1-19

Images Sources:

Writing Techniques and interactivity.


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After doing research on different dress-up games for kids, I wanted to focus on the way I would approach my own graphic piece. One of the main things I’m interested on is the creation of an app where you can build your own style in a fast and simple way. But in order to get there, I want to try different interactive forms that could be made in printed/online versions.

So, with this idea in mind, I’ve explored several ways to make interactive pieces in paper. I was encouraged to look into writing methods such as exquisite corpses (which is also used in art and design) and A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems, both from the 60’s.

First, I looked for different examples in Fashion related to A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems, by Raymond Queneau. Each of the 10 sonnets created by Queneau has 14 lines, and these are written in strips so that any line can be replaced by another. There are infinite combinations of the sonnet, which leads to an interactive book.[1]


There’s also an online version[2] for Queneau sonnets were you can shuffle the lines (in print, these would be the strips) and create different sonnets. The main difference is that the shuffle button will always make a predetermined mix which in some way restricts the human interaction; the book is much more versatile when deciding which strip you will flip.

Screenshots from the online version:

Screenshot 2013-12-30 17.21.20


Screenshot 2013-12-30 17.21.25


Screenshot 2013-12-30 17.21.31 The most important aspect about this work and the time when it was created is the fact that the reader’s interaction is needed to complete the sonnet.

Using this work as a starting point, I’ve found a similar type of interaction in a fashion dress-up book. It’s called The Flip Fashion[3] and it’s a mix and match lookbook that contains multiple fashion styles (most of them street styles). The way in which the user creates different outfits is the same used in A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems, so you can choose how to move the strips to make your own style. The main difference is that the human body implies using garments that fit each part so you cannot replace garments from bottom to top or vice versa. The mix and match is quite limited but the outcome is really interesting. In any case, the author/creator of the piece provides a base that limits the final piece.

Pictures of the Flip Book:

IMG_4500 IMG_4499 IMG_4498

I’ve also looked for exquisite corpse exercises using fashion drawings. The original technique was created by surrealists: different people would write on a piece of paper a word or phrase and then fold the paper and pass it by to another person. This technique has very unique results because you can’t see what the other person has written, and that makes the interaction more open in terms of narrative styles. The same happens with art examples: the drawings have a very versatile mix of textures, colors, graphic styles, and scale.

This is an original piece created by André Breton, Jacques Hérold, Yves Tanguy, and Victor Brauner.[4]


And this is another example created by Esteban Francés, Remedios Varo, Oscar Dominguez, and Marcel Jean.[5]


When it comes to Fashion, there’s a digital example based on the last sentence in André Breton’s novel Nadja: “Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or will not be at all”. The video was conceived by Jerry Stafford and directed by photographer and director Sølve Sundsbø. The interaction is made in frames and the aim of the video is to show how fashion is in constant movement and playing with metamorphosis. Although the different frames in some way relate to each other (the vertical position and using Lara Stone as the only model), the exquisite corpse technique –where each frame represents a fold of paper– is used to bring certain surprise in the different assemblages.

[1] Gallix, Andrew (2013) The Guardian. Available at: [Accessed: 12/31/2013]

[2] Rowe, Beverly Charles (2013) Beverly Charles Rowe’s webpage. Available at: [Accessed: 12/31/2013]

[3] Clerc, Lucille. (2013) Flip Fashion: The mix ‘n’ match Lookbook. England. Laurence King Publishing

[4] André Breton, Jacques Hérold, Yves Tanguy, and Victor Brauner, 1934, 10 1/8 x 6 1/2″ (25.6 x 16.5 cm), Pencil on paper.

[5] Esteban Francés, Remedios Varo, Oscar Dominguez, and Marcel Jean, 1935, 10 7/8 x 8 1/4″ (27.3 x 20.8 cm), Cut-and-pasted printed paper on paper.

Costume Remix – Practice 1 so far.


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As part of my MA research, what I’m doing is to sum up all of the theories I’ve been working on and synthesize them in one graphic piece.

My first aim is to work on an interactive piece that will be educational. It will gather knowledge from Costume History and Fashion Design and deliver a graphic piece (I’m working on app design) that could be used by people of any age.

The first concept I’ve written about is how cultural conventions and feelings are used to create user-friendly platforms in graphic design. I’ve worked on an example by Milka, where empathy is used to make the consumer want to leave their last piece of chocolate to someone else, and on the Tate interactive Christmas Tree, where people were encourage to remember their best and worst holiday feelings.

During my research I came across a game I used to play when I was a child. This game is a dress up game where you can choose the clothing and accessories for your Barbie doll and create your own outfit. Of course, I used a very old version of this game then; now you can find it as an app—actually, there are over 2200 similar apps. I think that playing dress-up is a childhood memory that almost every person has; all of us have once attended a costume party or have dressed up as our favorite TV character.

I always liked the following quote from Kate Spade’s Thing we Love: Twenty years of inspiration, Intriguing Bits and other Curiosities: “Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.”

This is what my childhood game looked like:


There are many versions of dress-up games; you can also find dress-up stickers.


What I liked about this particular example is that the dress-up game is based in one kind of consumer. The theme is “Alice in Wonderland” but the style is attributed to a Japanese Gothic Lolita.


Another example could be these reusable sticker pads with different interactive scenes.



Some vintage versions with paper dolls and different house decorations.

The one with the context allows the child to understand how people lived in a certain period of time. What I like about the latter is the fact that it is educational and not only a game.


Another example are these magnets where you can dress a celebrity or politician. These are meant for adults and what I like about them is that you use them in a different context (fridge /kitchen).




And then there are uncountable apps where you can dress up different characters, from Barbie to a New York girl and so on. Most of these applications are meant to be used by young girls and children. I intend to develop a version not only for kids but that could be easily used by a Fashion Professional, too.

While thinking about this, I remembered a good website called Polyvore where the purpose is not exactly educational but it is meant to be used by grown-ups, since the aim is that you purchase the garment or accessory. It works in a similar way to a dress-up game where you can pick different designers or brand pieces and mix them into a collage to create a new style. Every single garment in the collage can be purchased on one click. It’s a good tool for designers to create mood boards and Trend forecasts.

polyvore-set polyvore

So here’s where I stand now. I’m looking forward to post my first ideas and continue my research on interactivity and dress-up games.


All image sources are available at:

Polyvore site:


Remix Culture in Fashion: Supermarket of style.


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During the research for my SAT 1, I found lots of materials regarding the subject I’m willing to analyse and discover in Practice 1. This topic is Remix and what some authors call “Remix Culture”.

According to Lev Manovich, we now live in a Remix[1] Culture. This is what came after Convergence[2] and it applies to all cultural and lifestyle areas. This means that the art of copying and pasting has become usual in music, fashion, web apps, food, and many other domains. Remix has been defining the 2000s and will continue to evolve in the following years. As part of my studies, I always try to find the way to connect what I’m reading about with what I have studied. Since I’m a fashion designer, I wanted to relate the term remix with today’s fashion culture. It is true that many contemporary plan their collections based on remix, mostly mixing different historical periods, cultures, textures, silhouettes, and motifs (one of the most renown designers who usually does this is John Galliano, for Dior). But my aim is not to describe the work of designers, but to explain what happens on the street and how this represents the term remix.

In order to understand how fashion is picked and put together by individuals these days, we need to refer to one of the most assertive authors on fashion matters: Ted Polhemus[3]. He has been analysing street culture and fashion for the past twenty years, to conclude that we now live in a Supermarket of style. The street style is what we may call the “fashion convergence” —different style periods are united to become the uniform of certain youth group— and the “supermarket of style”, which would be the fashion remix.

All of history’s street styles are lined up as if they were cans of soup on supermarket shelves and they are ‘sampled’.[4]

You can now mix different garments of different street styles as you please, and can even change radically your style from one day to another. The meaning of street style has been emptied. The most common example is how punk style can be seen in daily fashion without any of its violent content. A 12-year-old girl can wear a leather jacket with safety pins and studs, and no one would associate her look with any kind of violence. It’s just a fashion statement.

It’s a good exercise to break down street looks and find out which historical and street style reminiscences each of them has.


Image Sources:

60s: Boucher, Francois. (2009) Historia del Traje en Occidente. Desde los orígenes hasta la actualidad. España. Editorial Gustavo Gili.



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Teddy Boys:



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Lauren Bacall:



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Dior’s New Look: Boucher, Francois. (2009) Historia del Traje en Occidente. Desde los orígenes hasta la actualidad. España. Editorial Gustavo Gili.


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80’s Magazine:

Laura Ashley:


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Brigitte Bardot:



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Present Cara Delevigne:

Vivienne Westwood: Wilcox, Claire (2004). Vivienne Westwood. UK. V & A Publishing.



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40’s Catalogue:

[1] Generally speaking, remix culture can be defined as a global activity consisting of the creative and efficient exchange of information made possible by digital technologies. Remix as discourse is supported by the practice of cut/copy and paste. The concept of Remix that informs remix culture derives from the model of music remixes, which were produced around the late 60s and early 70s in New York City. Navas, Eduardo. 2012. Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of sampling. New York. Springer-Verlag/Wien

[2] Fagerjord defines convergence as the effect of media coming together, and claims that it has been going on since the 70s, when mass-media became digital. As a contemporary example he mentions YouTube.

[3] Polhemus, Ted. 2010. Street Style. UK. Pymca. For more information on the author, go to:

[4] Ibid.