Tuesday, 15 May 2012

I am very excited to be competing in the Triumph Inspiration Award National Final on 23rd May 2012.

The Triumph Inspiration Award acts as a platform for design students to show their work to a global audience by designing a showpiece garment. The theme this year is ‘Butterflies and Dragons’ and the criteria which the garment will be judged against are:
  • Innovation and creativity (interpreting the design theme)                  
  • Individuality and uniqueness
  • Concept
  • Aesthetics
  • Quality in design and execution
  • Presentation
These criteria have been considered throughout the design and construction of the garment.

The most direct inspiration for the created showpiece garment is a butterflies chrysalis, and the contrast between the plain exterior and beautiful creature inside. The beauty and fragility was something that it was important to convey in the garment. After initial research into butterflies an interest in metamorphosis and transformation developed. China itself is a country that has transformed in recent years so the theme seemed particularly appropriate considering the international final for the competition will be held in Shanghai.

The garment designed is a one-piece body as this reflects the chrysalis ‘cocooning’ the body. The silhouette of the garment is strong and edgy but simple as it acts as a backdrop for the more conceptual elements of the garment. A wire is inserted around the neckline to give the garment a strong shape and structured feel appropriate to the design inspiration.

When considering how the concept of transformation could be realised as a 3D outcome, and how the garment could appear in a catwalk environment, the idea of light as a revealer developed. Inner light could suggest the new life hidden inside a chrysalis, it could reveal a quality or element previously hidden. A garment that initially looks plain could through light be revealed to have a whole other dimension and if this was revealed in front of a judging panel could create interest in the garment.

The garment exterior is made out of hand made paper, with the shaping largely made out of folds as opposed to separate pattern pieces. Having only four pattern pieces gives the garment the feeling of being wrapped around and enveloping the body, like a chrysalis. Paper has long been associated with China and plays a role in many Chinese spiritual beliefs. It was important to select the right paper for the garment as it needed to be light enough to allow the light to shine through, but heavy enough to obscure the lining when not illuminated. The look of the paper was also important, selecting a paper with a texture and visible fibres gave the garment a more natural feel and these qualities are highlighted further when light is shone through the paper. The fragility of the paper used in the garment creates a sense of delicate beauty. 

The interior contrasts sharply with the exterior. The interior is a more traditional material, a synthetic silk, and features a bright, modern digital print of a butterflies wings. The print is symmetrical throughout the garment for added impact. When the garment is worn the inner print is entirely hidden, but when light is shone through the garment the inner print is revealed to the onlooker. The glow of the garment could be seen as a visual reference to Chinese lanterns.

The garment fits all criteria as an innovative showpiece garment - interesting materials and striking design are combined, backed up by a strong concept. Although not a highly wearable piece, concepts from the garment could easily be translated into a more wearable garment for when Triumph look to create the commercial version. The idea of a plain exterior but beautiful interior (only known about by the wearer) could be developed into a garment appropriate for the Triumph consumer and experimentation could be done remaking the one-piece body with more traditional lingerie fabrics.

You can vote for my design at http://www.triumphinspirationawarduk.com/vote/?v=1 by 'liking' the photo.

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