Fashion and the Void

After a very inspiring chat with my second year tutor, I was encouraged to think about what my plans are after university and to incorporate this into my degree show. I guess I had been ignoring life after University, partly because it is too scary to think about, and also because I plan on going travelling for a bit when I finish so will not be looking for a career straight away. However, I knew it was something I would have to think about, and it made sense to bring this into my work. I work part-time for a shoe retailer and have always been interested in fashion and advertising. Although I do not know exactly what I want to do, I would love to work in the creative industry and fashion is something I have always been surrounded by. So moving on from my current work, I now plan to incorporate a fashion show-like aspect to my degree show. I will still be sticking to my theme of white and voids but creating what could possibly be a fashion film or fashion photography.

When previously researching urban voids, what appealed to me the most about them was that often people didn’t notice the unusual emptiness. My aim with all my work is to make people really need to stop and look to see what is happening. Making people take notice is the main concern of advertising and also relates to fashion itself. Whether its with my all-white ghost prints that viewers need to go in close and concentrate to make out the image, or with a fashion show in an urban void, I want my audience to pay attention to what is not there.

Making clothes is not my strong suit but I feel that in my final year I should be pushing myself to do things that scare me. I have been researching fashion that incorporates voids and came across designer Charlotte Ham that has a fashion range all about the void. The cut-out detail is beautiful and architectural and the geometric shapes would make a fitting opposition to an empty, wild urban environment.

Inspired by Ham, I drew up some of my own designs of all white outfits that incorporate the void with a fashion edge.

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I have been looking into material that I can use to make the outfits and have been fascinated by Tyvek, a synthetic material made of polyethylene fibers often used as a housewrap to protect buildings during construction. This material is difficult to tear and liquid cannot pass through it. I love that it is both white and textured, and will bubble up when heat is applied to it. I think it is fascinating that the material is used to protect buildings as my performance will take place in a site that no longer hosts a building. I also hope to bring in the shaving foam to add more texture to the outfits and tie this work in with my prints.

The most important part of the fashion show, however, is the site. This perfrmance will be very site specific as the idea of the void comes from the space itself. The site I hope to work on is where Park Place Primary School used to stand, this space is one of the first places I photographed when looking into public voids and is situated right in the heart of the bustling university district. The unusual emptiness of the site is often overlooked and it is this idea that I want to concentrate on. I went to the council to get the footprint of the old school that stood there and found out that Dundee University now own this land. My plan is to map out the shape of the old school using tape on this land and have my models walk around following the shape.

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I contacted many people to see if I could gain access to this empty land and found out that it is now the responsibility of the contractor as they had started clearing it out. I am currently in negotiations to gain access to the site but there is a possibility that they will be starting construction soon and I will be unable to use the land. If this is the case, I will need to use other land but hopefully I can still use the same idea and get the same results.

So for now I am scouring Dundee looking for urban voids and sourcing Tyvek to start creating outfit designs. I am very excited about where this project is leading and cannot wait to get stuck in!

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