Self-directed days review, week 2

Tuesday 28th March


This morning I started by looking over the the targets that I had written up at the end of last week. They were to:

  • Create a mood board to accompany the one that’s showing the more ‘traditional’ ideas about femininity, with a board that questions these.
  • Take extracts from the TED x Euston speech by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which can be responded to visually.
  • Put together a research sketchbook that shows my variety of research and gives a reference point to look back on during development stages.

I feel that over the weekend I was able to complete all three of these targets, either partially or fully and as a result I think my project is a lot more organised and ‘put together’. The first target, to create a second mood board, was something I did on Photoshop and put into my sketchbook alongside the original one. I feel that the board itself is successful in showing an alternative approach to the word ‘feminine’, but when placed next to the first board the message is clearer and strengthens the ‘history and ideology’ section of the research book.

The second target was to take the spoken elements of the speech I found on Youtube and use them to respond to visually. I feel that this target has been partially completed and I am happy with the outcome, but I could have improved by taking the idea further and doing more with it. The page in the research book shows a quote that I chose which I feel reflects a large part of what I am trying to put across with this project. I created the simple text in Photoshop and then added floral decals by hand around the text which, as they are seen as a very traditionally female image, add irony to reflect the message more strongly.


The two first targets have both been completed in an A4 research sketchbook, which was the third aim I came up with for week two. This has been completed fully and has allowed me to lay out my research in a straightforward way, showing the process I am taking with it and how different areas link to each other any why they are relevant. Currently I plan to include research into the history and ideology, diversity, book and magazine articles, designer research, ideas about colourways, WGSN, and research into brand competitors in this book.


Today I decided to focus on coming up with a list of designers to look into for the designer research section of the book. Using a mix of my WGSN research and information from this article ‘Fashion Week Shows that Made a Feminist Statement’ I found 7 collections/designers to look into. I chose to use this website because it looked back on the most recent fashion month and so keeps my research very up to date.

The list I made from these two sources combined is:

  • Dior ss17 RTW
  • Missoni aw17
  • Antoni Marras
  • Arwa Al Banawi
  • Prabal Gurung aw17
  • Chloe Gosselin
  • Mara Hoffman

Using this I will narrow my choices down to three or four to look into in-depth and collect imagery for the research book later in the week.

Friday 31st March

Today I have continued the work in my branding book which I started yesterday. Looking more specifically at typography and fonts, I have thought about how I might take influences from the companies and websites I have found which all use bold lettering to make a clear statement, something that needs to be shown in my own brand as this is a visual link to the message it is putting across. I narrowed down my ideas about using bold typography to the choice between more traditionl lettering used by retailers like Acne, or a clear-cut font seen in Glossier and Saint Laurent.

I think both styles would work effectively and are more suitable than a gentler script font or something with thinner lines. As a result of this I will stick to researching existing products and brands that use either or both of these typography styles.

Saturday 1st April

There is a gap between the work I completed yesterday and the pages I have worked on today in the branding book because I have collected some work which I plan to put between. However, today I finalised a list of name outcomes for my brand for which I decied to use language as a way of quickly creating an unusual title. I decided to simply take the word ‘woman’, as I am creating a company that champions the idea of feminism, and translate it into a number of different European and African languages. I came up with a shortlist of 18 names which sounded most ‘realistic’ and set them out in a questionnaire so people could vote for those they preferred and therefore give me a range of opinions rather than just choosing one myself. Rougly 20 people filled out the form, putting a mark next to the three translations that they felt would be best. After collecting the votes I narrowed the options down to three based on people’s preferences; Zena, Kvinde and Zenska. I wrote out the three options and decided in the end to go with Kvinde. My reasons for this are that visually I think it is the most interesting to look at, particularly because of the Danish combination of “KV” which isn’t easily pronounced and stands out as different from English words. Overall I just felt that the Danish translation ‘felt’ most applicable to a fashion brand out of the three, so I will go ahead with this name and begin applying it to development work. questionnaire scan

Sunday 2nd April

Today I went back to my research book and decided to create something to put on the first page to clearly show the intentions and ideas behind the project. I put together a quick digital moodboard on Photoshop using images of influential women throughout history and currently, making sure that I considered a variety of backgrounds, faiths, ethnicities and careers. I wanted to use photographs of the women which aren’t immediately recognisable as ‘iconic’, for example I included Marylin Monroe but didn’t want to use the famous white dress image, choosing something more candid which gives the overall moodboard more depth and makes it less generic; more about the women than their iconic roles or personas.

I think that not only does this quick project create a strong start to my first sketchbook, it can also offer inspiration and ideas for development if I look back on it later on. It acknowledges the work of women from the past and present which may have been overlooked, and takes into account the idea of diversity which was one of the key points I wanted to show in the project. The women shown are Winnie Harlow, Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Princess Diana, Marylin Monroe, Beyonce, Malala Yousafzai and Michelle Obama.



Daily review 7

Thursday 30th March

Today I have continued with the designer research I began yesterday, finalising the three collections I have looked into and printing images of each for sketchbook pages. When choosing which looks to include I firstly saved the ones that made best and most obvious use of the theme, such as the bold slogan t-shirts from Dior and Gurung, and from Hoffman I chose the looks which showed the ‘power dressing’ style best. I then looked at the close-up details of the garments, such as the intricate embroidery at Dior, choosing images that still somehow could be linked to the idea of empowerment. For example, the large emboidered sword motif at Dior and the Prabal Gurung’s use of exaggerated forms. After printing all the images I arranged them over one or two pages for each designer, giving Dior a double page as it had been the most inspiring to me out of the three.


Today I have also moved on to create a new sketchbook for different areas of research, with more specific ideas about branding. I have started the A5 book with the general ‘ethos’ that my brand holds. This would be written up in areas such as the brand’s website or even incorporated into pagacking and promotional material to make clear what the company has set out to achieve.  IMG_3214[1]

After this I started by including some initial packaging, colourway and typography inspiration that stand out to me and that I feel would work well with the ideas behind the brand.Three which stood out to me in particular are Glossier, Acne and & Other Stories. I think that each has a unique, bold aesthetic that is used effectively and as a result some of the colourways, fonts, etc are now synonymous with and can be linked straight back to the brand which shows that all the elements used in the marketing of products has been effective.

It is also interesting that, unintentionally, the imagery I included tends to follow a similar colour pattern of red, ‘millenial pink’ and white. I looked further into the current trend towards millenial pink and detailed this in my A4 research sketchbook in an article, as well as some screenshots from social media and a mood board of images. Because of this trend towards reds and pinks I think that these may be the colours I choose to incorporate at later stages of branding as I also think the idea of using pink, a traditionally feminine colour, in a brand aimed at promoting a move away from tradition is interesting. As well as ideas taken from these specific brands I have selected some examples from blogs and websites and also some specific advertising campaigns such as Saint Laurent whose artistic style would combine well with my theme in creating promotional material or advertising campaigns.

Daily review 6

Wednesday 29th March

Today I have looked into and collected imagery for the designer research element of the book. It was important to show the links between the chosen designers and my project theme of empowerment, so I researched in-depth, mainly using the internet, as well as looking at empowering collections that I was already aware of such as the Dior ss17 ready-to-wear show. This website  also made the basis of my designer research as it included a diverse range of designers which stuck closely to the theme but utilised it in different ways, such as Mara Hoffman’s bright take on power-dressing and the political slogan t-shirts incorporated by Prabal Gurung. The Dior collection took to the theme more subtly but Maria Grazia Chiuri’s involvement was a strong enough link for me to include the show in my research, as in relation to the ss17 designs she has talked about questioning femininity;

“The message, really, is that there is not one kind of woman,”

Each of these three collections have been chosen carefully to try to reflect my ideas behind this project in a high-end, designer context. The large choice of relevant collections that I was able to find and choose from indicates that the idea of feminism in fashion, “Femvertising”, is becoming more common and so there is now a large market for the politically-influenced but wearable pieces which my brand would be marketing.

Daily review 5

Monday 27th March

This week started with a long to-do list that I had written up over the weekend. Going into the second and final week of research I knew that this week I wanted to move into thinking more about branding, specifically coming up with a brand name that has been through enough development stages to make sure it has significance and isn’t just a randomly chosen word. This is something that I will be looking at from Wednesday but at the beginning of the week I plan to continue with background and contextual research into feminism and empowerment through fashion.

Today I started by re-reading in more detail the pages in Mairi Mackenzie’s book on the history of fashion movements which I marked out on Sunday. I then looked briefly at some Pinterest imagery for the two movements I picked out as being relevant to this project, Empire Revivalism and the British Boutique movement. These images will be printed and put into the A4 research sketchbook with some notes I will take from the book. Although these historical references are important, I didn’t want to get too sidetracked by researching them in a lot of depth and finding lots of imagery which is why I just stuck to some fairly quick Pinterest searches.

Today I have also read two relevant articles in an old issue of Frankie magazine which I found at home. The first, ‘Odd One Out’, talks to Shirley Manson about ageing, feminism, and why “being normal sucks”. A key quote from this interview describes Manson’s feelings about the world her nice will grow up in;img_2685

There’s a new urgency to her feminism. A new imperative to open that famous mouth of hers and fight the powers that be. “It’s suddenly ignited this real interest in women’s rights and a determination inside myself to really speak up and push for equality across the board, across the world, for women… I think each generation has a duty to really push to ensure that their kinfolk have an easier time of it than they did.”

The second article I chose because it is reflective of the idea of diversity within feminism that I want to make sure I include in FMP. ‘Butch is Not A Dirty Word’ is a short text where Esther Godoy celebrates female masculinity and talks about her new zine project.

I might present masculine, but internally I feel very feminine. And I feel very female-identified in my emotions and my mentality. I often joke that the only butch thing about me is my haircut and the way I dress. People think masculinity belongs to men and femininity belongs to women. But they don’t. Those two things are anyone’s. They’re anyone’s to use and play with and adapt to and take and leave at any point in their lives.”

In the afternoon I went back to online research and used WGSN to search for themes of feminism in their trend reports. The search produced many useful posts, both recent and from the archive. The reports are mostly text rather than the image-based trend boards that I have looked at on WGSN for previous specialism projects, but they have still been very useful. ‘Feminism in Marketing: Can it Work for Brands?’ is a report that is ideal for my final major project as the aim is to create a brand that shows empowerment through fashion. In total I found six different reports that had one or more pages linked to my theme. I took screenshots from these relevant pages, printed and highlighted key points and added them to the research sketchbook.


Self-directed days review, week 1

Tuesday 21st March

As opposed to the more text-based research I began with on Monday, today I moved into a more visual way of investigating my chosen theme(s). Mainly using Pinterest, I have looked at a wide range of topics within feminism that have been represented through visual artwork, photography or fashion pieces. la femme board

I felt that it made sense for the ‘base’ or starting point of the research to be looking into the history and ideologies of feminist movements, so the one piece of non-visual research I have looked at today is some information on the beginnings of the movement(s), and also how it has split off into many different branches of thought. It is commonly considered that the large number of these different branches/ideas about what feminism actually is has caused confusion and hostility towards the movement as a whole, and in response to this I created a simple piece of work on Photoshop that I think represents how the true definition is so often lost in arguments about the ‘agenda’ of feminists. This work will also be printed onto acetate and mounted in my research sketchbook.Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 14.27.12Friday 24th March

On Friday I visited one of the gallery exhibitons I had looked into at the start of the week. S(HE) is an exhibition at the Laing  which explores the prescence of women in the Hatton collection. It’s theme is very closely linked to the one this project follows and so I visited the gallery to collect primary sources in the form of photographs and notes about pieces featured, and what I can take from S(HE) to inspire me and apply to later development work.

“S(HE) is an exhibition which voices, maps and investigates the presence of women in the Hatton Gallery collection. The combination of works is designed to spark discussion on the roles played by women in the wider art historical narrative. The show navigates throughout the art history from the 16th to the 21st century provoking questions concerning the current state of gender inequality in art.”

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The exhibition was fairly small but gave a some visual inspiration as well as a lot of contextual information and background about the problems caused by a gender imbalance and less obvious female prescence, specifically to do with the art world. The paintings were set alongsite quotes and small pieces of text that talked about oppression and questioned the reasons behind the low proportion of work created by women in the Hatton collection but also the different creative industries as a whole.

“The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself” – Virginia Woolf

“Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.” – Sojourner Truth


Saturday 25th March


The first thing I did on Saturday was to scan the reading material that I took from the S(HE) exhibition (shown in this PDF) so that I could have some digital copies as well as the paper versions that I put into the research sketchbook. I then looked through all of my old fashion magazines to to find the ELLE ‘Feminism Issue’ from 2014, so that I could scan some pages from this. Some people were critical of the magazine when it came out, pointing out the ‘irony’ of using a fashion magazine to market the message of empowerment. However, I think this is a good example of how complex the arguments about feminism have become, which I have talked about in some evaluations this week. I also think that this can be linked to one of the key points I took from the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speech on Monday which was about not thinking that being a feminist and enjoying ‘feminine’ things such as fashion are mutually exclusive. This is something I want to tackle during the development of my brand in FMP. This point is even made in the magazine, as Sophia Amoruso, CEO of Nasty Gal and author of #Girlboss, states:

“What does a feminist look like? That’s the trick! Feminists look like you and me, like a woman in 6in stilettos or a woman in men’s clothing. Feminism is a way of thinking and being, not a way of dressing. You know a feminist by her gaze, not her neckline.”

Furthermore, an interview on page 223 with Diane Von Furstenberg puts it very simply;

LC: “Feminism. Good or bad word?”

DVF: “I love this word, it’s beautiful. It means strength but it doesnt mean you can’t be feminine.”

ELLE magazine – selection of scans: 1,2,3

Sunday 26th March

On Sunday I started by looking through the book ‘Understanding Fashion’ by Mairi Mackenzie. I thought this might be especially useful because it looks at all of the Western fashion movements from the 1600’s onwards and most importantly the 20th Century, where these movements would have run alongside all of the developments that feminsim saw in the 1900’s and would have definietly ‘shaped’ by eachother. From the book I took that the most relevant movements to the theme of my project are Empire Revivalism, The New Look and the British Boutique Movement. Coincidentally (or not) the first and third of these were taking place around the same time as the ‘first’ and ‘second’ waves of feminism, in the 1910’s and then the 1960’s. After identifying some historical fashion movements that were likely influenced and shaped by feminist argument, I can now research in a bit more detail these key fashion eras that are more strongly linked to my FMP themes than other movements. I can then take inspiration from these and apply similar design features, etc, to my brand development which will keep it closely linked to the history and background of feminism, keeping everything consistent and ensuring that every area of the brand has a deeper meaning.

Daily review 2 & 3

Tuesday (self-directed)

As opposed to the more text-based research I began with on Monday, today I moved into a more visual way of investigating my chosen theme(s). Mainly using Pinterest, I have looked at a wide range of topics within feminism that have been represented through visual artwork, photography or fashion pieces. la femme board

I felt that it made sense for the ‘base’ or starting point of the research to be looking into the history and ideologies of feminist movements, so the one piece of non-visual research I have looked at today is some information on the beginnings of the movement(s), and also how it has split off into many different branches of thought. It is commonly considered that the large number of these different branches/ideas about what feminism actually is has caused confusion and hostility towards the movement as a whole, and in response to this I created a simple piece of work on Photoshop that I think represents how the true definition is so often lost in arguments about the ‘agenda’ of feminists. This work will also be printed onto acetate and mounted in my research sketchbook.Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 14.27.12


Today I have continued with the more visual side of research that I was carrying out yesterday, primarily using Pinterest as a way of collating all of the imagery from across the internet that I have found. Key themes in my research today have been the idea of diversity. Thinking about the political issues in the West that have brought women’s issues to the forefront of many people’s minds (i.e. this article), the ongoing and often more serious problems faced by women and girls in poorer countries are forgotten. Not only this, but even the struggles faced by women of colour in Western countries are so often overlooked by a problematic “white feminism”. Because of this I wanted to make sure my resarch is very diverse and takes into account a wide range of different problems faced by women across the world, so that my responses to the theme aren’t ignorant or only think about one kind of woman or one set of problems. One example that has been covered widely recently is the ongoing tradition of child brides in many African and Middle Eastern countries, although the practice does happen in European nations as well. Looking at issues such as these is important not only to ensure my response work doesn’t overlook struggles faced by all kinds of women, but to keep in mind there is more than one direction in which to take this project. As a result of the research looked at today I went on to create a couple of concept boards that when placed side-by-side are clear contrasts of what might come to most people’s mind when they think of the word “woman” or “feminine” (board 1), and a more serious and diverse set of images put together to question why you might think about the visuals of board 1 rather than 2 when asked what it means to be “feminine”. The final area of reseach that I looked at today is the famous TEDxEuston speech by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Whilst the whole speech contains many important and interesting points, in particular 22:00 – 23:50 stood out to me as being most relevant to how I am using the themes of her speech for this project.Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 14.31.58