Entry 036

Entry 036: Final Entry on Proposal

  • Main updates since last proposal entry- 
  • new title: The Adorned Humanity An investigation into the human ritual of adornment, maximalist decoration and hyper- embellishment.Explorations into the emotional connection we share to adornment and how it is used as an outlet for personal expression, identity and empowerment. Collisions of femininity and masculinity; minimalism and maximalism; and fluidity against control, will be explored through a juxtaposing light and dark, floral aesthetic, creating a cohesive, balanced collection.
  • Shift to explore a wider variety of cultures- not just Geisha.
  • Shift to focus more on maximalism
  • heightened focus on emotion/ empowerment and adornment


P R O J E C T   P R O P O S A L

Humans have adorned themselves across the world for centuries; from ancient Chinese dynasties and Japanese Geisha, to Native American bead work and embroidery. The practice of adornment is an established, age-old human ritual, not only to convey wealth or social status; but as a form of self-expression, identification, and empowerment.

Adornment has a synonymous link throughout history with women and craft and often creates tangible connections between the generations, as traditional handmade skills and treasured possessions are passed down from mother to daughter

In today’s contemporary world, fashion and style is of increasing significance and we continue to question the practice of ‘fast fashion’. Items of adornment that project a strong personal identity, hold more than just monetary value, and act as talismans of empowerment; are more important than ever.

The exploration of sentimental longevity and the personal connection we share with adornment, has been at the core of this highly personal project. I have taken inspiration from my own experiences, along with a celebration of my love for embroidery to create the final collection. 



Entry 036

Entry 036: Collection update

I feel that I've made a huge amount of progress in the past couple of weeks with my collection, getting some things totally finished and other items have moved much further along in the process of being finished. I definitely feel that resolving and finalising my proposal has really helped me with the progression of my collection. Within my collection currently I now have 1 pair of shoes finished, 1 pair of socks, 2 minimally embellished mesh dresses, a belt/headscarf, and 1 of my jackets totally finished. 

I still have my 3d embroidery black denim jacket, my hyper embellished black and blue jacket to finish and a third mesh dress with lots of embellishment. 

I would still also like to get some other accessory pieces finished including a second and potentially third pair of shoes, a second belt/headscarf, and an arm cuff. 

My biggest worry at the moment in terms of my collection, is creating jewellery pieces as I really want to make sure I have enough time to produce at least 1 pair of incredible earrings and 1 necklace with 3d embroidery. 

I also really want to discuss with Debbie what to do with my sketchbook and portfolio. I am really not happy with my sketchbook currently so i want to try and think of a better way to present this. I had also originally planned to have a collection of textile samples that I was going to put onto portfolio boards, but I now think that pretty much all of my work will be incorporated into garments or be displayed in my final exhibition as a development pin board. My plan will be to continue to create textile samples in future to add to my portfolio but I would rather focus on garment and jewellery pieces along with a look book for the uni deadline. 

I am planning my photo-shoot for the end of this week so I feel on schedule to get my look book completed for the deadline. I would also like to get my completed project proposal printed and bound. 

Other things that I feel still need more work:

  • More market research still!
  • Technical recording!!
  • sort out sketchbook for hand in
  • Moodboards or other portfolio boards. 

News/ other updates: 

  • Winner of the Young Creative Awards fashion and textiles category - uni marketing coming to take images in studio in thursday. 
  • Selected for New Designers! - final selection of work on 13th - try to complete as much as possible before then/ focus on blue and black jacket and highly embellished mesh dress. 
  • Dr martens collab- 1st pair of shoes totally finished and other trials in progress. 
  • Texselect interview done! find out from wednesday 27th.

Images below of new/recent updates:


Entry 035: April feedback 

Debbie/Sean's Feedback:

Areas of Strength:

·       Presentation was confident and articulate. Beautifully presented, really good use of visuals and quotes to contextualise your project.

  • I'm really pleased that this was picked up on as I feel that my photography skills in particular are one of my strongest skills and one of the strongest aspects to my project. Im really glad that I decided to revisit this photography series within my MA and build on it. For the final presentation I would like to build on my presentation skills and do something a little bit different/exciting.

·      Project Proposal is a very comprehensive body of work, beautiful designed with relevant images, quotes that underpin the breadth of your research and your intentions. Key words - Tradition, Maximalist, Feminity, Styled, Considered - substantiate you project. Clear aims and objectives identified and strategic planning.

  • Again, I'm really pleased that this was picked up on as I spent a huge amount of time on my proposal and it actually became a hugely important and influential part of my project which has really influenced my development and progression and where I see the project going. The level of research that went into the proposal really underpinned my direction for my work. 

·      Reflective Blog - you are using this format really well to communicate and critically analyse your progression. Good recording of notes and reflections from tutorials, contextualising throughout with images to document new ideas and developments.

  • I feel that I can still continue to build and improve on my reflective blog. I feel that its a really useful tool for me but I feel that more regular posts with more detail in places could improve this further. 

·      Contextual and market research are informing your design decisions, showcasing embellished garments as well as jewellery pieces, clearly identifying your market level.

  • I feel very happy that my contextual research within my file is really covering everything that I have looked at and everything that has influenced me along the way. Although I feel happy that I have identified my market level I feel that this still needs a lot of expansion and a lot more examples.

     Sample collection is exciting - created heavily embellished samples, utilising both hand and digital techniques - multi-head embroidery, hand embroidery, beading, and 3D manipulations.  Wonderful exploration of colour, tactility, volume and drama. Technical level and skill is excellent. Garment ideas are starting to evolve, good consideration of placement and pushing the maximalist approach. 

Areas to improve:

·       Application - garments need to be considered much more, be careful that you do not chose the wrong shape and colour. Consider the placement on the body more - Work with and away from the body, SCALE - go much bigger, think volume - be flamboyant! Push the maximalist aspect with your hyper embellishments.

  • I would agree with this- working with garments has been completely new to me so this is definitely something that I am still learning more about everyday as I go along. It has been quite stressful trying to find the right garments to work on, and I have gone backwards and forwards quite a lot on whether or not to try and design and make my own garments or work with someone to try and make some garments for me. However, I think that due to the time that this would take it would not be practical and after many conversations with Debbie, Sean and Jo cope, I realise that this would not be a good use of my time and as an embroidery and embellishment designer, this is what I should be focusing on. My biggest concern in collecting store bought garments was that they wouldn't be unique- I was also concerned with the quality of garment that I would be able to afford. 
  • I decided that the best way to approach this would be to stick to fairly simple but classic garments that I can transform with my maximalist hyper embellishment. Hopefully the simplicity of the garments will not take away from my work which is the most important part. I have also chosen to work on all black to give a level of continuity to the collection. I have sourced the best quality that I could afford and also decided to reduce my plan of doing 5 garments down to 3 with a plan to produce 3 jackets; 1 black denim jacket, 1 velvet bomber jacket and 1 tailored blazer/jacket. 

·       Review the number of garments that you aim to produce 4-5 may be too much, perhaps better to do three really heavily embellished pieces. Aim for diversity within your outcomes - really want to see embroidery on shoes (Dr Martins) and jewellery pieces.

  • As Above- In heinsight my plan to produce 5 garments along with jewellery/accessory pieces was too ambitious and this has now been reduced to 3. I feel this will allow for more time to focus on quality and also to have a range of products. 

·       Market research still need more, do a customer profile, expand as you have mentioned two different market levels and customer

  • Again, as previously mentioned above - I am very aware that this is a part of my project that still requires much more work. I think doing a customer profile would be really beneficial. 

·      You need to improve on your confidence and communication of your work in peer debate and discussions, I don't think you realise how talented you are- don't let this hold you back.

·       Time management - be careful to plan and that you are not trying to achieve too much - quality/ impact are key. Allow time to do a photoshoot and create a look book.

  • I feel that by deciding the reduce the amount of garments I want to produce will really help this. I also initially stated that I wanted to produce 8-10 jewellery/accessory pieces which was also perhaps too much. I think focusing on quality and maximalism is so important within this project so I would much rather produce less pieces but at a much higher standard. I believe my collection will be small and focused on creating one full outfit, and 2 additional jackets- including:
  1. Jacket 1 - A heavily embroidered/embellished denim jacket
  2. Jacket 2 - A heavily embellished structured jacket/ blazer 
  3. The full Outfit - starting firstly with jacket 3 - the embroidered velvet bomber jacket
  4. An embellished headscarf 
  5. A necklace
  6. Earrings
  7.  Mesh underlay dress to go under jacket with some embellishment 
  8. An embellished tie-belt 
  9. Embellished socks
  10. Embellished Shoes (1 pair of Dm's) 

If there is time I would like to try and produce a second pair of embellished shoes and possibly a second necklace- but I would like to focus firstly on producing the full outfit that I photograph for a cookbook interchanging the jackets.

·       Ethical approach?  - not really touched on this much - you have some lovely quotes in your proposal regarding the emotional connection with jewellery - expand on this further - research into a wide range of designers exploring this within their work. How would this impact on your approach / materials etc.

  • Need to discuss this with Debbie and start doing some research on this.

      Technical file - do you have one? How are you recording your processes and new developments and reflections?

  • I do not have a technical file as of yet as all my technical beading samples are currently still pinned into my board in my studio space at uni.  I feel that at the moment whilst I am still in the creative process where I am constantly looking back at my samples to inspire final pieces I want to have them in my space where I can can access them and see them easily. My plan will be to put together a technical file later on when I feel that I am finished with these. One thing I could start doing would be to print off all my production worksheets for the digital embroidery designs I have worked on and started collating these into a file.


Entry 034

Entry 034: April Presentation

Initial feedback given straight after the recent April Presentation:

  • Some really positive feedback on the look of my presentation in terms of the graphics/slides and photography and communicated well. 
  • Positive feedback on the planning and organisation of my presentation although I think they could tell I was a little nervous. 
  • Really great response from everyone on my samples as they were passed around the room. 
  • A couple of things to improve on: 
  • I think both Sean and Debbie felt that my plan to do 5 garments may be a little over ambitious but also probably unnecessary. They both suggested that it would have been good to see some clear and strong visualisations of my planned products so this was easier to see and understand. 
  • Also feel that I need a more clear and realistic critical path to stick to, to ensure that I can produce as much as possible at a really high standard for the end of the year. 

More Updates to come when I have received my official feedback. 


Entry 033

Entry 033: New Designers initial visualisation

Idea from pitch group - made after discussing with Debbie potential ideas for display/ exhibition options. The current plan will be to have a large size A2 or larger pin board with lots of final swatches and some development samples pinned in- this idea has been developed from the pin board currently in my studio space that I have been using to show my samples. I will also plan to have 1 mannequin with one of my final garments and some kind of table for jewellery/ accessory pieces. My and Debbie also talked about the idea of -rather than a table- having a set of drawers, with some pulled out to have thread cascading out or have some drawers filled with embroidered shapes- almost to replicate the drawers of a couture embroidery atelier. 

Moving forward I think I need to start planing and considering the mastered exhibition at NTU as this will be a larger exhibition space where I'll be able to show more of my work; I also need to begin searching and sourcing potential props.

Plan Below:

Entry 032

Entry 032: New Embroidery files

I began to develop some of the new line drawings I'd created into detailed digital embroidery files and started to develop some into large design compositions. The images below show some of the variety of designs I now have ready to stitch out. I've tried to use a variety of stitch types as well and I plan to continue playing with this. Moving forward I'd really like to design some huge pieces that I could get stitched out on the pantograph size frames at uni. 

Jo cope Group tutorial: 

a few notes also from the Jo Cope group tutorial- things to work on/ develop, advice and general notes:

  • got to find your unique selling point - what is your innovation and how is this an interesting and exciting ma project?
  • got to be able to talk about project confidently 
  • look up stats for florals within embroidery and embellishment - my work needs to be a universal yet futuristic floral language
  •  Suggestion that the progression of the digital age is forcing us to go back to traditional techniques.
  • Real success is in the blue and black piece hyper embellished piece - really work on developing this and doing it on a large scale.
  • Flat digital embroidery - into 3d - subverting the flat digital and linking back to my overall concept
  • develop new fashion illustrations and use photographs of my sample to cut and paste and build up quick visualisations of all over embellishment and embroidery
  • Needs to have as much impact as possible - super 3d scale
  • Consider placement - perhaps seams that showcase and frame the embroidery
  • Consider proportional use of colour

Entry 031

Entry 031: New Drawings and Design Development

After a really good week of design development and sampling, I started to feel that my progress was slowing down slightly.  I felt that I needed to revisit my drawing to generate some more detailed components and shapes. I wanted to move away from the more abstract collage pieces I'd previously worked on, to create some beautiful line work that could be translated directly into really detailed, intricate embroidery designs. My abstract drawings will still help to inspire my choices for appliqués and beading techniques. Moving forward I'd like to create a new series of drawings combining all the different styles I've worked on so far; including detailed line drawings, abstract painting and illustrations, and collage work.  

I've also been working more with garment shapes, beginning to pin my designs directly onto shapes and planning how to move forward. Its been a bit of a learning curve for me using garments and having to consider fabric weights and drape for the first time but its really exciting to see my embroideries come to life. 

My planned garment embroideries are:

  • A black feather/ tropical leaf embroidery design with dark grey trapped fringing, hand painted and hand cut purple petals, Petrol blue bugle bead and couched electric blue thread trails. This design will be repeated sparsely onto an oversized black coat with drape details and oversized lapels. The coat will be finished with raw edges. A dark and refined colour palette. 
  • A white denim jacket will be covered all over the back, over the shoulders partly onto the front and partly over the top of the sleeves with detailed embellishment, 3d digital embroidered components and cut fabric elements. Super bright colour palette. 
  • Im planning a structured style jacket with hyper 3d embellished epaulettes with necklace chains connecting between the two, moveable embellished charms and embellished elbow patches. 
  • Planning a pink jumper with the pink floral embroidery I've been working on all down one side and all down one hight detailed sleeve. 
  • Im also planning 2-3 garments including something like a black velvet jacket with huge fully digitally embroidery designs on the backs that will be left also solely as embroidery with minimal embellishment. 
  • I would also like to try t-shirts, embellished shoes and socks. 
  • I am also still hoping to have a small collection of embellished/embroidered  jewellery and accessory designs. 

Images below show some of my new line drawings and new garment trials.

Entry 030

Entry 030: Group Tutorial

Just wanted to add in some quick notes from today's group tutorial:

  • Really successful group tutorial today- although sometimes I can find it quite hard to talk when there are a lot of confident characters in the group, it was really nice to see everyones reaction to my work. As people don't really tend to see my work in the studio due to wear I sit, it was so lovely and a bit overwhelming to see that my work got such a positive response.
  • It was also really nice to see the development of other peoples projects, and all the different really interesting things other people are working on. 
  • I think my reflection from today is that I need to have more confidence in myself and my abilities. although I don't feel that I've done a massive quantity of work compared to some others which can often make me feel a bit inadequate, I think I need to believe that what I have done, is quality work and I think people can see and understand this and understand the time that is put into it. 
  • I know that I need to try and be more confident in tutorials and engage a bit more- talk/ communicate more. 
  • Although pretty much all my feedback was super positive from everyone in the group and most people were suggesting things that me and Sean or me and Debbie had already discussed (e.g embellished shoes, multifunctional accessories) I think everyone felt that I still need to go much bigger with SCALE! 
  • I also feel happy that everyone backed up the idea to source a garment - I think when people see my work they realise that the embroidery/ embellishment is the most important thing I need to concentrate on and the garment will really just be a simple vehicle in which to show it. 
  • I also had some good advice to try sourcing a bead sponsorship.

All around, a positive tutorial! 

Entry 029

Entry 029: Fashion Illustrations and Sample Developments 

Continuing on from my last post, I have begun developing some of my small samples and trials into larger portfolio swatches and even accessory or garment embellishment ideas. This has been so exciting beginning to see ideas come together and I've been so happy with the success of these pieces and the huge step forward this has given me in my project. I think the piece that has been particularly successful is the hyper 3D black and blue piece. The technique was developed from one of my previous small samples and I love the height and movement it gives. I also really worked hard to control my colour palette and just use black and blue shades, which I think has given this piece the real sophistication and elegance that I've been striving for. At this point, I've left this as a loose embellished patch as I plan to take some images of it on the mannequin in different placement. 

Other techniques that have been developed include, some digital machine embroidery, beading and embellishment techniques developing on from my small samples, hand cutting fabric and sequin film shapes, hand painting leather petals, and more recently- a really beautiful and delicate technique couching down hand embroidery threads onto the surface of fabric to create really naturally flowing, fluid movement, exploring cascades and gravity.

 Elements to continue developing and improving: 

  • Although I don't think you can ever have too many ideas, I feel really happy with all my beading and embellishment techniques that I've developed so far and I feel confident with this. So now I feel that I need to focus more on the digital embroidery and fabric components to my work. 
  • As in the last post, I really feel that I need to revisit my drawing and photographs as I think this will help to inspire the digital embroidery . I feel that some really lovely drawings and paintings would be great to scan in and do some detailed multi head work. I also think it could be interesting to explore the really delicate line work simply using running stitch in digital. My photographs will help to inspire shape and I think some new collage work incorporating both photograph and painted elements will help to inspire composition. 

At the bottom of this post I've also posted some images of some fashion illustrations that I've been developing. This has really helped to start visualising how I could begin to use my ideas on the body. I plan to continue developing these. 

Finally for todays post, here are some notes from my most recent tutorial with Debbie: 

  • MARKET RESEARCH - keep going with this, keep adding to it all the time. 
  • Keep adding to proposal adding in new notes/quotes found from reading. Plan to schedule a tutorial solely on this. 
  • Within practical work, feedback for my current samples was brilliant, Debbie really loved everything and encouraged me to carry on but also suggested I keep exploring multi-functionality within my adorned accessories.
  • explore jewellery findings/ finishes/ attachments/ joinings/ ribbons/ ropes/ knotting/ clipping on & off/ moving etc. 
  • explore scale, proportion and composition 
  • explore footwear embellishments on elastics/ shoe tongues/ embellished socks etc. 
  • princess pleating! 
  • keep exploring gravity, falling tendrils, droplets, cascades etc. 
  • keep pushing more types of materials- to give rich layering.
  • Really start engaging with shapes and garments- react to the body shape. Perhaps buy a garment to start doing this for now.  

Entry 028

Entry 029: Samples and developments

The series of images in this post shows all of my small samples and embellishment ideas to date, which is pretty much what I have been working on for the last 2 weeks solid! Although a lot of them might look quite small and insignificant at the stage, I have mostly just been trialling really intricate and detailed beading/embellishment techniques. This obviously takes time and resources, so doing small samples means I can test out lots of techniques, to see if they will actually work first, and then I have the small samples as records, to remember how the technique was done, before developing it further or doing it larger scale or on a larger surface area. 

Some of the techniques I have been trialling below include: 

  • Lots of bead/sequin stacking- trying a multitude of ways that I can build sequin or bead stacks to create 3d surfaces and effects and build height into my samples. Dependant of which beads/ sequins I used and there size and shape, determined the overall effect of the stack. Also trialled looping and curving the stacks.
  • Lots of trials hand cutting fabrics, sequin film and plastics. - trying different ways these could then be folded/ looped and twisted.
  • Folded sequin techniques - again similar to the bead stacks, this differs dependant on the size of sequin and the way in which it is folded, and there are lots of different ways this simple technique can be used. 
  • Using components to create bead patterns.
  • Some initial simple digital embroidery trials. Very simple shapes and colours at this stage but again this was to trial using the digital embroidery machine to generate a volume of components - essentially stitching my own sequins/embellishments - that can be hand cut and built up in the same way as the sequins and used to create some really interesting, really 3 dimensional forms.
  • folding/ sculpting and forming 3d petals from embroidered shapes or from fabrics.

(Note to Self!: need to start putting together a technical file! Using all my small samples, I'll create a folder recording each of the processes and techniques I've tried and how I did them.)

Overall I'm really happy with all these samples as a starting point. I think there are some that have come out better than others, but overall I think they have all be fairly successful and its been a really good exercise to go through, to get back into beading and start thinking in an innovative way, about how the beads and sequins can be used away from the norm. I think I can definitely still push the innovation much more though, definitely by incorporating more of the embroidered components. I think I need to revisit my drawing and really explore more surface textural qualaties to inspire stitch - so far the digital embroidery aspects have been very simple and this needs to be pushed much further to make this more interesting and make it more of an integral part of the design, rather than it just being something that could be interchangeable with cut fabric shapes- the embroidery needs to be justified in its own right. I also need to try more ideas cutting and sculpting the plastics, fabrics and sequin film, as a way to generate my own handmade embellishments. I think at this stage its very much still a case of playing and trialling. There are some of the more successful ideas that I think ill start to develop further, and start looking back at my photography and some of my existing drawings to influence composition and shape.  

Some final notes for this post from my tutorial with Sean: 

  • Briefly discussed Hand and Lock prize / also organising a possible tour of the Atelier.
  • We also spoke briefly about the possibility of being able to do a lecture or some small tutorial groups with first or second years as I really want to start getting some lecturing experience. Hopefully going to speak to Debbie and Tina about this. 
  • We also spoke a bit about some potential collaboration ideas; I've hopefully got a connection that I may be able to collab with on a garment or 2, but I also mentioned how keen I was to perhaps do some embellished shoes. Hopefully Sean may be able to send me the information of some contacts at Dr. Martins to maybe work on a conceptual collaboration for some really highly embellished docs. 
  • We talked a lot about some potential ideas I've got to develop my samples and discussed the idea of multifunctional accessory/ jewellery pieces that almost work with the garment- e.g embellished patches that can be moved and repositioned on the body using magnets for example.
  • Lastly we discussed 2d portfolio development and a bit about what I hope to have by the end of the year. As I aim to do a real mixture of stuff when I complete my MA we discussed what It might be good to have, e.g.;
  1. A portfolio of flat sketchbooks, drawings, mood boards and swatches/ samples of 2D A2 portfolio boards that I could take for interviews as I hope to expand my freelance portfolio. I also think this will showcase a range of my skills and my understanding of the design process to show at interviews for lecturing positions. 
  2. A2 Boxes for some special 3D drawings/ collage pieces.
  3. Boxes for 3D textile samples and swatches. 
  4. A collection of perhaps up to 10 pieces including jewellery, accessory or garment outcomes that will be displayed at my end of year show and can later be shown to buyers/ retailers as I plan to expand my business and stockist base- particularly focusing on a more high end, luxury sector. I will need to consider how these will be transported/ presented e.g in boxes printed with my logo?
  5. Produce a magazine/ look book or trend zine sort of thing, filled with beautiful photography of my work, including photography of jewellery/ accessories and garments on a model. This will be handed in as part of my final submission but would also be taken for interviews and I could perhaps produce a smaller, paper back almost leaflet style version to send out with CV.
  6. An updated, highly creative CV.
  7. Project proposal, professionally printed with a similar look/ feel to look book - again to hand in with final submission. 
  8. An updated, clearly branded website- As I already have a website this is a great start, I think it will simply be a case of updating some of the images/ graphics and maybe questioning my name/ logo and if these are still relevant or if they need to be updated also?  

Entry 027

Entry 027: More Colour Work!

Another aspect of my project I have continued to work on since the last assessesment is my colour palette. Although I would still like to incorporate bright saturated colours, I really want to work on the dark/ moody side of the palette and really push myself to work outside my comfort zone to create the sophisticated, elegant more nuanced side of the project. Below is a reminder of my original photography from my BA, that was really my starting point for my MA and what I really wanted to revisit and use as inspiration for my current project. These images already show a beautiful colour palette so I think moving forward, its just about sticking to this and making sure to capture the rich, layered quality of the colours. 

Entry 026

Entry 026: Sketchbook development 

Over the past few days, one of the main things I have been focusing on is my sketchbook. So far, I've mostly just been working on loose sheets, which although I enjoy for drawing, on reflection after the last presentation, I felt concerned that the visual journey and development of my project wasn't documented clearly enough. Creating this sketchbook has really helped, I think, to show the progression of the project, and my plan will be to input my loose drawings as I continue. I've created clear mood boards, showing all my initial inspiration; much of which was imagery that I had in my workspace at the start of the year; photography pages from my research at kew gardens, colour pages, new drawings, new visual research and an ideas page, which has collated all of my quick little drawings on scraps of paper showing ideas for jewellery, embroidery and display.

Sketchbook inspiration ideas:

Sources 1-9:

  1. 1. Yvonne Kwok, designer- graduate sketchbook
  2. Illustration by Urmila Raini, FAD student
  3. Soyin Yun, 2014, Central Saint Martins
  4. Inspiration board, by Roseline at This Is Glamorous
  5. Source Unknown, found via Pinterest
  6. M.i.H Jeans 
  7. Harry Harvey, beading drawing, London College of Fashion
  8. Nicole Paskauskas, London college of fashion 
  9. Julie Hamilton, colour board

Entry 025

Entry 025: New Fashion Inspiration

New York Fashion Week:

Naeem Khan:

Khan's collection presented "highly ornamented but still, furiously strong and confident women" in highly decorative, embroidered and sequinned garments. Reference: Brooke Bobb, Feb 13th 2018, New York, Vogue. https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/fall-2018-ready-to-wear/naeem-khan. 

I felt that there were some strong links to cultural adornment practices such as Mexican embroidery, Mongolian style embroidered capes and jackets, and Japanese kimono, obi belts and silk embroidered flowers.  

Vivienne Tam

"Vivienne Tam’s Fall 2018 collection, which she laid out as a “spiritual journey” through the Himalayas to Tibet. It was a celebration both of the region’s rich culture and the search for inner peace." - Reference Monica Kim, Feb 14th 2018, New York, Vogue. https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/fall-2018-ready-to-wear/vivienne-tam

Entry 024

Entry 024: February Assessment

Initial Feedback from Presentation:

  • Confident and articulate presentation, well planned for the time with clear and cohesive slides. Good aesthetic that was consistent throughout. Well explained and documented with good imagery. Really nice photography/ editing/styling.
  • Reflective feedback:
  • PUSH minimalism/ maximalism - make the maximal MORE and the minimal much more controlled/refined. Push the two to the extreme to create a really strong contrast.
  • Colour Palette- I reflected on this myself, during my presentation, but Sean and Debbie both agreed that working on the dark/ minimal side of the palette was one of the biggest areas I needed to work on- to bring in the sophistication/ elegance/ nuanced tonality I want to create. To balance the collection.
  • Unexpected Materials! another big area of feedback was to keep pushing my materials and really start experimenting now with some really exciting and unexpected things. 
  • Keep working on the mannequin - I think we all agreed how much this had pushed my project forward significantly so I just need to continue this but the keep considering scale and placement. I also need to consider draping a background fabric on to the mannequin before I start building my placements so they aren't just being photographed on the calico backing- really consider the relationship between the base fabric and the design - as per my research images. 
  • Although I've been very focused on creating jewellery/ accessories pieces- we spoke about the definite possibility of producing some very outlandish embroidered/embellished placements on garments.
  • Examples below of a few of my presentation slides:
Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 14.08.35.png
Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 14.08.59.png
Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 14.09.10.png
Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 14.09.36.png

Entry 023

Entry 023: Colour Boards 

To continue working on my feedback from my recent tutorial, and to continue with the activity me and Debbie had starting, beginning to build the material colour stories, I have created a series of mini material palettes working with tonal, nuanced colour and presented as a colour board- shown below.

This has been a really useful process for me to go through, and has firstly made me realise how many great base materials I have to work with already, even before any editing/ distressing/ dying/ painting takes place. I also feel now, that I have this board available as a constant tool/resource to keep referring back too for when I begin sampling/ creating my jewellery pieces. I can already see how these palettes could inform and inspire tonal colour choices for some of my creations and how much this would benefit my project, to bring in the level of sophistication and elegance that I want it to have. I feel having these areas of either darker/ softer or simply more tonal colour stories along side the super bright, saturated colours that i'm used to working with, will create the balance in the collection that I'm striving for. As someone who finds working with softer or darker tonal colour quite challenging, and as someone who is very comfortable working with multiple super brights- this has been a really invaluable design exercise for me to go through.


I've also been starting to gather some fresh inspiration/market research from the catwalks for the past few days as the new season starts to flood Vogue Collections. I've selected some of my favourite pieces below. 

Viktor & Rolf:




Entry 022

Entry 022: Market Research Trip

Recent market research tip to London on 29/01/18. Locations include Selfridges, Liberty, Fenwicks and John and Pearl. 


  • My research during this trip focused mainly on high end/ luxury embroidery and embellishment examples. Along side market inspiration, I also feel like I gathered a lot of really great images for future technique inspiration. 
  • Despite specialising predominantly in jewellery, a lot of the specific jewellery departments in these kind of stores, are extremely high end, 'fine' jewellery focusing mainly on silver/ gold/ diamond jewellery etc. I found very little contemporary textile or innovative material jewellery examples in these stores, so moving forward my plan will be to continue to research this particularly niche area online and in more independent small boutiques and brands. However, as my jewellery is created using a combination of embroidery/embellishment techniques and interesting materials, I still found this trip massively helpful for this and simply chose to focus my research on the women's wear and accessory departments. I am also still exploring the possibility of created some embroidered/ embellished garments too, so again, this is great inspiration for this. 
  • List of the brands I gathered research from: 
  • Mary Katrantzou
  • Fendi
  • Emilio Pucci
  • Victoria Beckham
  • Altuzarra
  • Erdem
  • Dries Van Noten
  • Anya Hindmarch
  • Anna E. Alex
  • Gucci 
  • Alexander McQueen
  • John + Pearl
  • MSGM
  • Liberty
  • Kate Spade
  • Elle Tahari
  • Velvet
  • Vil Shenko
  • Paul Smith 
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Point of analysis/ reflection from the trip: I felt that there was significantly less digital embroidery in the stores than there has been in recent months. The digital embroidery trend has had a really strong movement for almost a year, so it was interesting to see that many of the high end designers have opted for more traditionally embellished pieces this season, whilst the last of the digitally embroidered trend pieces remain in high street stores such as Zara. Whilst there was lots of traditional bead and sequin work, I noticed a significant about of blingy, 'diamonte' style beading shown specifically in the Emilio Pucci and McQueen examples. 
  • This wasn't a particular worry for me as obviously my product is quite unique and is a niche in the market, but I do feel that it will be really important for me to bring in an equal level of lavish hand beaded embellishment along side the digital embroidery to create a more hand finished, luxury feel. 
  • Again, whilst there was 3d embellishment work and 3d fabric textures, I didn't see any 3d embroidery concepts, so again I feel this is where there is a really interesting gap in the market that my work could fit perfectly into.
  • I really liked the laser cut perspex components on the Mary Katrantzou collars and pocket detailing. Although I'm not thinking at this time about working with perspex specifically, I just really loved how unique and individual this felt rather than the bog standard off the shelf beads/ sequins you usually see. I  just felt this was a great reminder to consider making my own kind of embellishments, so this is something definitely to think over the next 2 weeks of so. 
  • I also did some brief initial trim sourcing and researching at new trimmings. 

Entry 021

Entry 021: Tutorial

The Agenda for this tutorial was to discuss all the visualisations I'd be trialling on the mannequin, to discuss samples and also to talk about the direction for material and colour!

After having a comment that my palette was looking too garish and not sophisticated I was feeling quite concerned about this! I do feel that I have done a lot of work with the brights so far, generally as this is where I feel most comfortable and is how I would naturally work. However, as mentioned previously, I do want to have two strands to  my collection and really push myself to have some pieces that are much more minimal in colour, more nuanced and sophisticated, so this area really needs more work! I feel that if I can create a really beautiful colour palette with equal dark, moody, atmospheric colours to super bright, hyper-saturated hues, it will really help to relay the concepts of juxtaposition and light and dark. Debbie was really reassuring and wasn't worried about this. We discussed the fact that as a lot of my work so far has been drawings/collages with block colour matte paper, this was impacting on the mood of the palette and making it feel quite flat and garish. However we both agreed that once I start really moving forward with my samples and using a much wider range of fabrics and materiality, this will give the palette much more sophistication and depth. 

Debbie's feedback included:

  • That I look back at my original photography to inspire colour!- I think I need to get some of these printed off really high res and quite large to go on my wall as a constant reminder of this! This will help to bring a sophistication and pared down elegance to the project. 
  • Any new paper work/ drawings/ collages such incorporate a range of paper weights e.g tracing paper/ tissue paper. The different weights of paper will really impact on the intensity, quality and mood of the colours. 
  • Mostly though, most new work needs to be moving into fabrics - I already have lots of really beautiful fabrics that are incredibly usable for this project anyway so use these as a starting point. 
  • Again, look back at my original photographs to inspire texture as well! Debbie suggested that I start to build material palettes inspired by my photographs and drawings using tonal nuanced colours and a range of textures.
  • Edit the fabrics before using them! Again taking inspiration from my photography - nothing is flat! Consider the different techniques that could be done to the fabrics before cutting them up, e.g distressing them, dying them, painting onto them. I think to really achieve the look and feeling of depth that I want to achieve, I've got to go further with every process and consider everything to build up the rich layers of materiality. 
  • Debbie loved the 3d experiments on the mannequin! Continue this but consider more exploration of scale! 
  • Consider making some more detailed paintings that could inspire some detailed embroidery's. 

As an exercise during this tutorial, myself and Debbie started getting out all of my fabrics and began building these piles of tonal colour and materiality shown below. Already I can see how creating some of my designs/pieces using these collections of nuanced colour in a range of textures would really help to build a level of nuanced beauty and sophistication. 

Entry 020

Entry 020: Beginning Sampling

As I continue to work on my visualisations on the mannequin, which I feel are still really helping me to move forward; my plan is to keep moving away from paper and progress more and more into fabric samples/trials. For today's entry I wanted to show my first trial of some digital embroidery for this project and a few little beading ideas!

I feel like its taken a long time for my sampling to begin, but I do feel that I needed all my paper explorations first to get to this point. Although this sample isn't quite as polished as I wanted it to be, I really love the idea and can really see the potential in it. The idea of using digitally embroidered shapes to create 3 dimensional forms has been in my head since the start of the project, so I'm so pleased I've finally tried it and it has actually worked in the way I wanted it to. For the central flower in this composition, I stitched out lots of black embroidered petals in a mixture of satin stitch and tatami in a variety of scales. I stitched them onto a white sheer organza fabric- the light weight quality of this fabric really helped me to manipulate and sculpt the petals. I also do quite like the small frayed pale edge that is left after cutting all the shapes out. I simply started to pinch and fold the petals in different places and pinned them. Then I started layering them up to create a large flower composition, that had a similar feel to one of the paper pieces I had made in one of my 3d drawings. Taking it into the studio, I created a new composition based on my of my previous ideas that incorporated the large flower as the central component , pinned directly onto the mannequin. 

This could really easily be secured down with hand stitches onto a base fabric and still retain its 3d quality. On reflection I've definitely realised just how many petals/components I'm going to need to make these pieces really stand up and feel very 3 dimensional - its definitely more that I thought! Another aspect I am really going to have to consider in future trials is the backing, which shows up a lots when the petals are folded and manipulated. Bobbins for digital embroidery machine come pre-wound, in only black or white, which does create a slight limitation. For this piece it didn't matter as the top thread was black, but for other pieces this could really take away from the design. It may be that in future, I might have to try bonding down petals/ other shapes so that the underside is in a different colour/ fabric.

I have also included some images of some small beading ideas that ive tested. So far these are all just tiny sample, but this has really just been an exercise to get back into it and start thinking about the different ways that I can stack the beads and sequins to create different 3d compositions. 



Entry 019

Entry 019: Mannequin Visualisation Trial 3


This idea was another suggestion of a shoulder piece, A-symmetric necklace or embroidery placement on a garment. The idea was created with lots of hand cut leather elements and a few paper elements pinned directly onto the mannequin. In this idea I was trying to address the 'cascading' concept which I feel works well with these fan like shapes that appear to be falling. I think the overlapping and the feel of movement is helping this. I also wanted to try a piece addressing tonal colour. I am still hoping to have some more minimal pieces within my final collection that aren't so garish and have a more sophisticated palette and I think a good way to try an achieve this would be reducing my colour palette for some pieces to just one, but using lots of different materials so that the design feels nuanced/ tonal and sophisticated but not flat. 

I think  still need to grow my materials and get out of my comfort zone with leather! Overall though I am really happy with this idea and I think the tonal colour idea really works.

Documentation Below:


Entry 018:

Entry 018: Mannequin Trial 3

More visualisations on the mannequin have continued. Documentation of trial 3 below:


This is definitely my favourite idea so far! This was a really spontaneous piece where I hand cut each black line and pinned it straight onto the body, sculpting, twisting and intertwining as I went. I really like the free flowing lively feel of this one and how the pieces sculpt around the neck. I then selected a few of my favourite little elements to incorporate into the design. I think I could recreate the black lines easily with embroidery onto a soft fabric that would allow me to sculpt it but I would have to think how I could get the design to sit on the body. This piece would perhaps have to be attached onto a garment.