WGSN – SATORIAL TREND S/S 2016

WGSN, anyone in the fashion/design industry will have heard of this website.
My first year in Textile Design was more focused towards experimentation of technique and branching out into different ideas and concepts and I didn’t learn much in terms of the industry and the commercial side of textile and print design. I chose to take the Digital Surface Design class at Parsons as I wanted to strengthen my digital skills and I also wanted to find out more of how it is used in the fashion industry, creating colour way prints etc.
I have researched the WGSN theme of Satorial and looked into merging different sceneries. I took photographs of reflections in shop windows and made it difficult to tell what was on the inside and what was being reflected. This created both abstract and detailed prints.
I created six digital prints from my own photographs, drawings and collages. I have taken the specific colour palette of the theme Satorial and used this in my prints.
A number of my prints are from using methods of layering, creating repeat patterns and focusing on one specific detail.

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Constructing and designing my very own shoes

Parsons School of Design is know for its initiative courses, however I never thought I would have the chance of constructing my own pair of shoes!
My teacher is a wonderful crazy lady who works in the metric system just to confuse things for the pupils, of course this suits me perfectly!
Crazy is fun, who would want a sane design teacher?!

Shoe construction, easy peasy I thought, there are machines for this, it’ll all be about the designing!
Oh how wrong I was.
This is HARD.
So hard in fact that I have to go to two classes a week just to make sure I have done it correctly (you may have caught on by now I am a workaholic).
We were to make a set of designs (I made 10), as I was so indecisive I went for a mule, hoping this would be quicker to make and therefore I would have the chance to make more than one pair of shoes.
Then I had to go a buy all the equipment, little did I know it was going to make me pretty much bankrupt. I had to venture all the way to Brooklyn to a specific store to buy lasts (this is what determines the size and style of shoe) after going to the wrong place and nearly crying in anger I finally found the store and it was CLOSED. After a good 10 minutes of practically begging the store owner to let me in I found the lasts I wanted weren’t in my size, in fact NONE were in my size. I ended up leaving the store with lasts one size too big and having a heeled last meaning I had to recreate my entire design. This left me deflated and horrendously angry (sorry to anyone who saw me after this incident).

After the complete distress of buying tools it was time to go fabric shopping.
OMG I have fallen in love with the entire garment district. London need to seriously up their game! Elegant fabrics, Mood Fabrics, BandJ Fabrics, Global Leathers…my list could go on. I loved them all! After what was supposed to be a trip shopping for fabric for my shoes I ended up leaving each store with at least a yard of fabric I had no clue what I was going to use for.
My new obsession is mate metallic and pony skin. I left global leathers with two AMAZING fabrics (I will shortly be adding a picture to this post). I will be using the navy pony skin for the outer of the shoe and the metallic leather will be the tongue of the shoe.
I am extremely excited for the outcome!
Wish me luck!

NYFW

New York fashion week has begun and is in full swing.
The city is usually buzzing but its on overload since the beginning of fashion week.
I am craving to wear beautiful boots and amazing jackets but it is so hot in NYC at the moment wearing anything at all is uncomfortable. The fashionistas are going to struggle this week! But I’m sure many will surprise me!
Going to a fashion University definitely has it’s perks when it comes to fashion week. Everyone is in the know of every thing that’s going on during the week, who’s showing who’s walking where the after parties are etc.
Many of my class mates are working at New York fashion week, which I am incredibly envious of! (I am unable to work in the US as I am J-1 VISA student.) Although, I am currently trying to muster up a master plan of sneaking in to at least one of the shows!
With the online live runway shows pretty much everyone anywhere in the world can have a front row seat and be in the know instantly about each collection. Social media has definitely made even people who aren’t interested in fashion unable to avoid it;
my entire Instagram feed is currently filled with photos of fashion week! I will definitely be out and about with my camera capturing the amazing NY street style this week.

On Thursday H&M had the unveiling of the new studio collection. I had the chance to attend the unveiling of Kate Mara and Johnny Wujek’s curated window displays showcasing their styling and creative vision for the fall H&M studio collection. Not only were Kate Mara, a very talented actress (best known for part in House of Cards), and Johnny Wujek, a celebrity stylist, there, the head of design at H&M, Ann-Sofie Johanssan was also there!

Queuing up on a red carpet just to get into H&M was pretty bizarre but I wasn’t complaining! They arrived ‘fashionably’ late and then began talking about the lead up to the collection and how they had chosen what would be worn with what on the runway showing.
Having only ever seen Kate Mara acting in House of Cards I was intrigued to see how she would act out of character. She sat shyly leaning in toward Johnny and giggling after every word, the two are clearly very close! She is TINY in life, however she looked amazing in one of H&M’s new tuxedo dresses and cute embellished brogues.
Kate didn’t spill much gossip about House of Cards. It was interesting to hear that she wasn’t at all interested in fashion when she was younger and she has somehow ‘stumbled’ into it (life just isn’t fair!).

Johnny Wujek looked impeccable in a soft grey fitted suit and an open collar shirt, sophisticated but comfortable and casual. The odd socks were a winner for me! How does someone make odd socks look so perfectly thought out and purposeful?!
Sofia seemed a quite character with an intriguing accent, you could tell from what she spoke about that fashion had been her main priority for many years.

On to the collection it’s self! Before actually seeing the clothes the audience was teased by seeing a video of the models strut their sexy selves down the runway. Definitely false hope for the rest of the world.
The jackets from the collection were my favourite. I have already picked out at least two I shall be purchasing before fall is upon us. I won’t give too much away other than Solange Knowles was wearing a suit from H&M studio collection to the VMAS, good enough for a celeb, good enough for us!

My First Week at Parsons

Starting Uni again.
My summer has been cut dramatically short, I started back on 25th August and in London I wouldn’t be going back until late September.
The truth is, I really don’t care about starting back early! I am so excited to get stuck into projects again! You could definitely say starting at a new uni in New York helps!

Monday Morning 9am, Pattern-making. This is called a ‘core’ subject meaning it’s mandatory that I take it.
I study textile design and so the thought of being a fashion major in a new uni was pretty daunting! My work has a strong focus toward fashion so understanding the principles of construction is really important when being a textile designer in the fashion industry – I was ready to begin learning!
Finding the room I was supposed to be in was a challenge in its self! I walked in 2 minutes early and everyone was already sat down. I looked around trying to find a stool the same size as theres and ultimately failed. I was stuck with a sewing machine chair which meant My eyes were only just able to peer over the table – I looked like a lost child sat at the wrong table. Making a joke about ‘looking like a midget’ didn’t really go down too well either.
We had to do the whole ‘introduce yourself, where you come from, what you major in’ etc. The Americans seem to LOVE that. Not what I’m used to in England where the tutors don’t really care to remember your name.

Two hours and forty minutes later and I was exhausted with the amount of info I’d just had to take in. My teacher definitely likes to chat. He also exclaimed he didn’t want to watch us cut out our first pattern as that was ‘Totally boring’ and he wanted to get on with teaching the fun stuff. So I have my first assigned homework. The very beginning of a barrel of work to come – wish me luck!

Throughout the rest of the week I went through intros to all the other classes I have chosen to take:
Construction Sewing
Pattern-making
Draping
Shoe Construction
Textile Design Exploration
Digital Surface Design
Hand Knitting for Fashion

Of course I received homework for all of these classes too! They really do like to push you to your limit at Parsons. My construction sewing teacher said ‘Your summer is over now. This is going to be what you put all your efforts in until Christmas, forget about your social life, if you want to do well you won’t have one.’
Hmmmm brilliant! No, I make her sound negative but she was actually an extremely inspiring person. She told us about all her experience in the fashion industry and really did make you feel like you were taking the best course in the world!
I can’t explain how lucky I feel to here. Not only are the people around me paying $30 000 for half a year of Uni and I’m just continuing to pay £4500 I pay at home, after just one week of Parsons I wish I had chosen to do my full degree here.
The teaching is incredible and I genuinely cannot wait for the weeks to come!
The facilities are out of this world! And the new building is beautiful. I have already fallen in love with Parsons and New York. I say BRING ON THE HARD WORK…and plenty of fun please.

Cycling madness in Central Park

On the hottest day ever, well it certainly seemed it, I decided it would be a great idea to go cycling around Central Park. Bare in mind I haven’t cycled since I was around 11, and when people say the phrase ‘It’s like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it’, well I beg to differ!
It was a wobbly start and the guy renting the bike to me had made my seat far too low down! He clearly thought I was the height of a small weasel/runt. I was unsuccessful in attempting to heighten the seat so I was stuck with bending my legs at a ridiculous angle whilst cycling.
Tessa, who was of course in front of me, speeded off, leaving me looking like an absolute delinquent around a mile behind.
Central Park is HUGE. We didn’t even manage to find the centre.
AND I had a whole list of things to see, the bit on Stuart Little where he did the boat race (I know so cultural and iconic!), the fountain the cast of friends danced around in the intro to the first season, and the garden on Alice in Wonderland.
We severely underestimated the size of the park and having only rented the bikes for an hour meant all I managed to see were the out skirts of Central Park. Oh and plenty of signs warning me I was cycling head on into the traffic – always reassuring.
Thank god I am here until December – I will definitely make sure I find the time to visit all the cultural land marks on my list.

After the treacherous bike ride (physical exercise of any kind really isn’t my speciality), we sat and watched a classic American baseball game and had the cutest of picnics. We then strolled around and at 8pm came back to Central Park and watched an outdoor movie! I sadly don’t have any pictures acceptable enough to put up. But I will tell you that I tried to capture the moment – much to the people around me’s dismay. They didn’t really care for the blinding flash coming from my camera during the film- only trying to remember the moment guys!
It was pretty cool! Even if I couldn’t really see due to forgetting my glasses.

The forever enticing Bookshop

I am a definite sucker for buying things I don’t actually need.
Especially when in a new place. My constant excuse is ‘Well I am in New York, it’s something different, yes I 100% need it.’
I recently purchased three books that have no relevance to me whatsoever, I was not thinking about buying them, they simply caught my eye, seduced me and that was that.
Strand book store, located about 2 minutes from my accommodation, has such charm that it makes you want to buy books on pretty much anything, even Star-warz was intriguing – bare in mind I have never in my life taken an interest in Star-warz.
Two more books caught my interest: ‘The lady’s Guide to Perfect Gentility (1856)’, and ‘Apple Internet Connection Kit Getting Started (1995)’. I ended up purchasing both after reading about half a page of each and convincing myself these were books I needed.

A quote from ‘The lady’s Guide to Perfect Gentility’, “Be careful how you indulge in sarcasm. If you are constitutionally inclined to this, you will find that there is no point in your character which needs to be more faithfully guarded.”
My reason for wanting to read more of this was due to how fascinating it was to hear how girls my age were ‘supposed’ to act in the 1800s. I believe a little sarcasm never hurt anyone! Not sure how well I would have done in the 1800s!

What I love most about Strand book store is the fact half the shop is outside with rows and rows of books to choose from. I haven’t yet walked past the store without seeing at least a dozen people sifting through the $1 books on offer (YES ONE GENUINE DOLLAR!).
Having the books outside is also trusting that the people on the streets won’t just pick up a few and walk off with them, you have to actually go inside to pay.
I see this book shop as doing the customer a favour; it makes you stop and pick things up you would never normally seek out. Their trust in you to not take the books also makes you respect the store more.
I predict that I will be returning most weeks!

Food for thought.

American Food.
America is home to 236 333 fast food restaurants. No wonder America has the worst reputation for eating badly.
Since coming to America many of my friends have joked that I will come home ‘fat’, morbidly obese etc.
Not exactly funny topics in the long run. However I beg to differ as Galaxy chocolate is nowhere to be seen! (anyone willing to send me minstrels feel free! )
Due to America having a reputation of all things HUGE from the cities, the stores, the portion sizes, the buildings even the people, I wanted to try this ridiculous food out for size.

Uptown NYC, seemingly where all things beautiful are, walking out of the subway and I was stood directly opposite  Bloomingdales (to my delight visitors get a 10% discount on any purchase – this almost forces you to purchase something).
Also home to Johnny Rockets diner. I walked in the door, dubious having seen the outside looking rather worse for wear.
Although it was cheesy I have to admit I rather enjoyed it. You could pay 5c and choose a song on the duke box. It was almost too American?!

I ordered the ‘Smoke House single burger’, half onion rings and half fries. On the menu they had chosen to put the CALORIES next to each meal?! Almost as though they are justifying the hideous amount of grease and fat by telling you exactly how much you’re eating. Such nice people.
They even had the calorie amount next to the milkshakes which, wait for it, had 920 CALORIES in a drink, a single DRINK!
My burger was brought to me by an overly friendly waiter dressed in a bow tie and hat mimicking ‘fine dining’. My burger looked God damn delicious!
This is what enticed me into choosing the smoke house, the menu read:
“An exceptional blend of flavours, this is a one of a kind hamburger. Smoked bacon, crispy sourdough onion rings, cheddar cheese and our special recipe ‘Smoke House’ BBQ ranch sauce.”
No salad to be seen. Just the way a hamburger in America should be!
1740 calories later and I was full to brim but highly satisfied! Johnny Rockets I shan’t be a regular but I will 100% be back, maybe it’ll be the Double Smoke House burger next time!

 

Gallery

My surroundings.

The first thing I wanted to do when arriving in NYC was to explore every inch of the city.
However I realised without having google maps strapped to my hand knowing my way around would be a challenge.
I decided a challenge would be thrilling so off I walked out of my little flat on 12th street onto the streets of NYC.

The New York Grid System made getting around surprisingly painless!
I felt like a tiny ant surrounded by all these unnecessarily tall buildings! I mean really who needs 100 floors in one building?! No one is the answer. Imagine if the lifts broke, good god. I would take up residency in my office. Or have a casual emergency slide down the side of the building, either or (I am already starting to sound American?!)