Author suits: From contemporary art jewellery to fashion design

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Master’s Programme in Fashion, Clothing and Textile Design
This Master’s Thesis explores the possibilities of materiality in fashion design, by contaminating menswear tailoring with contemporary jewellery.With a written text and an artistic component of two menswear looks, this work intends to understand how a fashion practitioner can produce garments with additional meaning. The input of this research came from personal impressions of fashion production’s state, and the curiosity towards the general inattention to craft and textile design in clothes. Nowadays clothes are conceived as immaterial, their value is lessened and their consumption is more erratic, devaluing garment-making: this work seeks to rediscover the value that materiality and craft confer to fashion design. Material appreciation is pivotal in traditional jewellery to determine the value of its products, whereas in contemporary jewellery materials are a channel to convey personal visions and ideas. Contemporary jewellery is a form of jewellery design that conceives jewel-making like creating a piece of art: it places into criticality jewellery’s archetypes to generate thoughtful and unique pieces.With an analysis of this discipline it was possible to understand how a fashion practitioner could enrich their projects and create clothes with more meaning. Menswear tailoring was the chosen context for two reasons: suits have not changed for the last two hundred years and they are constructed to magnify their wearer, a common characteristic with conventional jewels. Furthermore, traditionally suits make a spare use of expressive textiles.Textile design for fashion was applied as a tool to express critical thinking: to appreciate fashion’s materials led to appreciate textile making. Literature review and design practice informed one another to carry out this research.With the applied method of Heuristic Inquiry, found written notions could tackle previous knowledge to decide design directives that moved towards the scope.Vice versa, design practice could expand the found information. Personal experience, impressions and intuition, along with literature, brought to two fabrics for two suits, and their accessories. Through a practitioner’s point of view, this was an effective experiment: by applying contemporary jewellery’s archetypes in fashion design and considering textile design as tools for artistic expression, it was possible to add value to my production, which can be identified with artistic thinking and material appreciation. The outcome of this research helps to understand that, by focusing on designing their own materials, fashion designers can place in discussion current fashion staples and help the discipline to enrich with new meanings.
Salolainen, Maarit
Thesis advisor
Valle Noronha, Julia
Leppisaari, Anna-Mari
fashion materiality, textile-led fashion, textile design, jewellery, contemporary jewellery, tailoring
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