(Photos by Sara Montour)
This was my final project for Design Studies 153 (Fabric and Apparel Structures I), a class I took last spring (2009). The challenge was to create a jacket centered around a chosen word, with some kind of manipulation or embellishment. We all started off with this basic jacket pattern (view E or D), and went from there.
I selected the word ocean, focusing on its color fluctuations, movement, and life. These qualities affected my fabric choices. A variety of fabrics in a range of blues and greens represent the variegating colors of the ocean, and silver thread highlights the ocean’s reflectivity.
I went to NY over spring break, so I was able
to find the exact fabric I wanted for this jacket
at Mood Fabrics. Here I am holding onto
my silk taffeta, which I used for the majority
of the jacket.
Most of my jacket is constructed from a plain weave silk taffeta, which fluctuates in the light from a rich navy to a vivacious viridian. The fabric tubes are made from plain woven aqua silk organza and emerald green polyester organza. The slight stiffness, luminescence, and transparency of these fabrics make lively tubes that lay well. A dark green polyester satin weave makes the facing and lining of the collar, complementing my other fabric choices with its deep color and sheen. I also resist-dyed the aqua silk organza in a dark navy immersion bath to create rippling lines, by tightly wrapping ropes in it with floss. On my inspiration board is a scarf I dyed using this technique (second image from top right).
The fabric tubes and the pin-tuck technique on the taffeta are my embellishment choices. I drew these techniques from a Spring/Summer 1992 Maurizio Galante dress entitled “Circolare”, which is covered in fabric tubes that “look like the tentacles of aquatic organisms” every time they swing (top right); and a dress from Citrine (a dress boutique in Madison) with a row of pin tucks where a line of stitching is sewn in the opposite direction, creating a wave-like effect (top middle). The description of the Galante dress moved me to look to “aquatic organisms” like anemones for inspiration (left). “The Great Wave at Kanagawa” by Katsushika Hokusai inspired my asymmetrical wave-like collar (top left). The minute wavy pin-tucks of the 1925 Madeleine Vionnet dress helped me develop strong lines in my coat, particularly the curving line from the front to the back of the coat (right).
(Photos by Sara Montour)
Line, texture, repetition and unity play a strong role in my jacket design. Line and texture relate to the ocean’s movement, as its ripples form flowing lines and its waves create engaging texture. There is a flowing line that continues from the front to the back of my jacket, echoing the ocean waves. This line is reinforced with the fabric tubes bordering it, which are lines themselves. The lines in the dyed sections of the jacket and those in the pin-tucked sections also add to this rippling movement. My use of different fabrics and embellishment techniques give the jacket a captivating texture similar to the ocean’s waves. Repetition and unity reflect the continuity of the ocean. The fabric tubes are the most prominent repeat in the jacket, and they are an abstract representation of sea creatures. The ocean is full of life, with some species that have not even been discovered yet. In repeating the fabric tubes, I suggested the overwhelming amount of life that is found in the ocean. I created unity through continuous lines, such as the one from the front to back that also continues onto one sleeve; an analogous color palette; and repetition of embellishment techniques and materials throughout the jacket. For example, the dyed material is on the front and back, and on both sleeves; the pin-tuck technique is on the collar and on sections of both sleeves; and the tubes are around sections of the sleeves, the line from the front to back, and the collar.
My jacket reflects both the surface qualities and the underwater world of the ocean. Its color, texture and luminosity are much like the ocean’s surface, and its playful tubes suggest the life that brims beneath. I hope my jacket draws viewers in to discover its details, just as the ocean’s waves beckon beach spectators to dive in for a swim.
Displayed in the gallery of the May 2009 Flux student fashion show
(before I realized that women’s garments always close right over left)