I am currently a first year student on the Fashion Management with Marketing course. However, I have found that it is not the course for me and not what I am passionate about and wish to transfer to the Fashion Styling course, starting as a first year student in September 2015.
I have previously completed a Fashion Retail Level 3 diploma at college and this portfolio is a collection of work I did over my time on the course. The course covered every aspect of the fashion industry from fashion styling, to buying, to visual merchandising. I found the creative topics much more engaging and 'for me' than the more business based topics such as team management and finance.
Alongside my studies, I worked on the womenswear department at Debenhams as a sales assistant and often took over as the Personal Shopper, which really got me into and developed my interest in styling.
Sunday, 1 March 2015
When styling the scarves into an outfit, I had to think carefully about how the shape of the garments I made would flatter and suit the customer’s body shape. In this instance, my customer had a mostly straight body shape. Also, she was quite slim and tall and so I had to adjust the original idea to suit her.
My idea was to create a ‘forest fairy’ look, using muted greens and browns along with gold to give an almost fairytale feel. I imagined the dress I created to be worn at a relaxed garden party or event for someone with a typically usual boho, natural kind of style. With the scarves, I was trying to create a dress that gave an innocent and mystical feel, but was still flattering to the body and didn’t look too much like a fancy dress costume.
Firstly, I used a mannequin to create different shapes with a scarf as a dress. However, when I came to fit this on the customer, it wasn’t the same as how I had wanted it so had to change bits. Also, the customer required that the under scarf was modest and concealed the appropriate parts of the body. To do this, I had to use a range of methods of attaching the scarf, from clips to knots. In the end, clips worked fine and the customer’s requirements were met.
I wanted to create the illusion of an hourglass figure and give the silhouette a more defined look. To do this, I pulled the material tighter around the waist and used a net underskirt and gathered the top material to fill out the skirt and create volume around the hip area. To finish the look, accessories were essential. I chose to use gold jewellery and headband to compliment the gold accents on the brown organza scarf.
When styling the garment I had put together, I soon realised I had to think about how it would come across on camera. However, I found that difficult to imagine and found myself with some issues. For example, the back of the garment was a mess of clips and knots and so this affected the poses I could use on the model. When it came to shooting, I found I also had to adjust the dress a lot to hide loose bits and create the desired shape.
To create the mystical forest fairy feel, I tried to keep the whole colour story of the shoot to the green, brown and gold of the dress. For accessories, I chose a gold and brown necklace, a simple gold leaf headband and a gold arm bangle. These accessories gave the outfit a new dimension and effect, but did not take impact away from the dress itself. Also for props, I wanted to keep it simple and stick to the green forest theme. I chose to use cream and green flowers to give the photo image a bit more context and add a little bit extra. I also wanted the model to use glowing, light up flowers however these didn't show up under the lights. My intent, though, was to create a dim glow which signified the gentle glow of a dying camp fire.
I feel the poses are really what make these images. I decided on a range of different poses to try and find the best for the context. However, my favourite has to be the ‘fairy flying away’ pose. It looks so fairytale yet still quite earthy and natural and really shows the dress well. I also tried a range of poses with the model looking straight at the camera. The picture with the model holding the flowers strikes me as bold as the focus is taken away from the actual outfit, but still gives the magical feel I wanted. I feel the picture of the model looking straight at the camera gives the outfit a more realistic look and how it could be worn genuinely. I also decided to use the wind machine to create movement not only in the model’s hair, but also in the flowy organza scarf used as the skirt. I personally feel this gives a really interesting effect and beautifully showcases the delicate skirt that would have otherwise just been flat. I think the wind machine works particularly well with the picture of the fairy flying away and gives a really dynamic image.
Overall, this turned out better than expected. At first, I found it very difficult to imagine an outfit out of scarves and couldn't work out how best to use them. However, I think my theme turned out quite effective. I think it was a good idea to use the scarves I did as the colours and textures work well as an overall dress and also fit the theme perfectly. Also, the accessories I am happy with the accessories I used, and feel they really compliment the outfit.
If I was to do this again, I would think more carefully about a theme. I found it very hard coming up with an idea in the first place and therefore maybe it wasn't as effective as it could have been. Also, I would try and make better use of the scarves, perhaps by wrapping them in more interesting ways to create different shapes on the body. As for the actual image, I feel it could have been more effective to add a background to give the image some context. Although I personally think my theme idea is clear, people may interpret it in different ways. For example, one person thought my theme was Peter Pan. I would also have liked to change the lighting. I feel that for my theme, a darker, softer lighting would have worked more. However, in this instance, we couldn't control the lighting. With poses, I would have liked the model to be sitting down in some pictures - I think that could've given a really innocent natural look. More props also could've probably been used, like twigs and leaves to emphasise the forest idea. However, I am happy with how this shoot turned out.
In the retail environment, styling of garments can hugely effect sales. For example, if an item is styled really well and looks good and flatters the model, the customer may be more likely to buy the whole outfit as they’ll have more confidence in that it will look good. Also, in terms of marketing, a well styled outfit and an interesting shoot and theme catches the customers eye better in magazines. It also gives the brand a good image and can transform a customer’s view. For example, H&M are usually known for quite cheap, basic clothes. However the way they portray their clothes on models in adverts and magazines gives the brand a much more luxurious expensive feel. This may attract more customers who get to have that look too.
I chose to create a Brazilian inspired range as Brazil was relevant in the news with the World Cup being hosted there last summer. I think that launching the event around the same time created more of a buzz as people will have already been inspired by all the media surrounding Brazil. Brazil is also known for it’s Rio Carnival and the vibrant party culture that it entails which in turn makes for a very bright and colourful swimwear range.
Once I had finished the range, I had to think about the different PR activities that would be suitable for the target customer. As I was trying to attract a whole new customer base than Speedo previously had, I had to be very tactful in the PR methods and be really proactive in reaching out to these customers.
(social network accounts)
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
As part of the Visual Merchandising unit on my Fashion Retail course, I had the opportunity to experience the role of a visual merchandiser in the real world. I went into a vintage store in Brighton and got to design their Christmas windows. As inspiration, I looked around Brighton at other store's windows and then had to design to a specific criteria.