There comes a time in every fashion designers life where they take their first pair of needles, their first ball of yarn and learn to knit.
My first knitting experience occurred during the autumn of ’11, something I doubt I’ll ever forget. Our Design Brief was “padded sheath“ with a Winter white colour palette and highlights of light grey, flesh or baby yellow tones. This had to be designed in relation to our researched non-western culture.
Hours and hour of research go into the history factor within design. It is important you know what comes from where, and especially how it got there! During my research I decided to choose home, none other than the indigenous aborigines of Australia. In particular I looked at the aborigines of the Arnhem Land, Their art, their history, what their story was, and what they were trying to tell us. Within my research I found that these particular inhabitants had a certain style of art known as Rarrk. Rarrk was the style of cross hatching within their art, usually characterised by a number of parallel lines, and a repeated pattern of different diagonal segments. I gained inspiration from this for my Jacket and Skirt.
So now I knew directly where my inspiration was coming from and exactly what my boundaries for colour and concept were. I adopted the style of rarrk and combined it with the padded sheath theme, and innovative sleeve ideas for my jacket. It took 4 weeks to come up with a complete look for this brief as it was my first time dealing with hand-knitting, padding and wadding. But we all know what that meant – another 4 weeks, to master knitting and finish the garment, as well as doing other assessments like my portfolios and attending other classes and their assessments. Monday through to Saturday I was at college. Waking up at 5.30, getting on a bus for 2 hours with the m2 traffic, being at college all day, coming home and being so exhausted – like never before. I would work on Sundays – a Full shift from nine till six to make up for the days I couldn’t work and sometimes I’d even pull a long 7 till 6 when asked.
I never complained, always did my work, put in my best efforts, sucked up any pain and just gave it all I had, because I had it in me. It was like a live wire, and it still exists. Its this crazy passion that motivates me and fuels my determination. I experienced 8 weeks of a rollercoaster, with my cousin flying in from Los Angeles for 6 weeks, as well as crazy deadlines every week, full time-no rest weeks, playing the role of student and tourist guide was a constant ride. Sometimes I wanted to break down on the ground and just cry and scream for hours to relieve me of all the built up pressure. You get tired with such intense hours, expectations and deadlines. You don’t get a break, no one feels sorry for you, there are no excuses, and you either work till you finish it or you die trying to. This is what you chose not the other way around !
It was my cousin who kept me strong though, her positive attitude and the fact that she was not from here, made me build a wall of strength for myself to lean up against. I honestly don’t know how i did it, but i got through it. It was the greatest pleasure having her and I loved every bit of it. Family is one my first priorities, Cousins from overseas really brighten up your day. It’s different when you live in Australia far far away from them all ! You really start to appreciate things people normally wouldn’t !
Life throws unexpected challenges your way and you just have to deal with it.
What i was yet to learn though was that there was something more to it all – this wasn’t the end – there was no happy vacation for me yet ! If anything this was just the beginning !
Monday – 2 days before Marking and shoot day Wednesday 29th June 2011. 7:30 pm I had reached the final stages of my garment but the design wasn’t going to work and it had to be changed – There was absolutely no way The original padded Skirt layers were going to stay on and work with the knitted skirt. What the hell was I going to do ? An absolute disaster. With only one full day Left to work on it – and that day being a Tuesday which I had a different class and assessment due – what was I going to do ? Luckily my Mentor and I sat down and Re-worked my design and my options. I had picked up crocheting throughout the term break and that is what I decided to use to portray the rarrk on the skirt. There was no other way of working an idea in such short period of time ! Eventually the process of this conceptual knitwear craze would be completed and all I’d have to worry about would be presentation for marking day and the shoot.
I had The Pleasure of having my beautiful Friend AND beautiful Model Marnee present it – The most amazingly kind hearted person I have ever met ! My Best friends Melina Bloc ( a very talented music artist) as the hair stylist and Yasmine Parker ( my lovely besty who captures the finest of moments) from 000 photography taking my shots. My cousin Nicole assisted with the makeup and together my friends and I had a blast !! It was a great day, Marnee was fantastic and patient as was everyone else ! Over 500 shots were taken in just over an hour and they all came out so great !
Watch the video and let me know what you think of it – as well as the Collaged Photos !!!!
Knitwear drove me insane, in fact knitwear made me sick – so sick that I had to have an operation.
To be continued … 2011 – Health – The Emotional Aspect.