A Captive Audience

Fashioning Self Gets Wild with Inspiration from the Natural World
May 23, 2011, 12:18 am
Filed under: Research | Tags: , ,

Fashioning Self Gets Wild with Inspiration from the Natural World | EcoSalon | Conscious Culture and Fashion.

Beautiful, inspirational collection of designers doing lovely things with natural materials, or more accurately, materials that relate to the natural world, as many include a variety of fibre compositions, and this collection has been arranged around the symbolic value of natural materials.


Community Repair Exhibition
May 20, 2011, 8:01 am
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Community Repair Exhibition – 14-15 May – Foundation Showroom, Old Street « Centre for Sustainable Fashion.

A writeup on the CSF blog and some more images from the exhibition.

Community Repair Exhibition

The Red Carpet Project
February 3, 2011, 5:52 am
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The Red Carpet Project blog is up and running!  This is an online exhibition space documenting my design projects and is directed at a broad, fashion interested audience.  I will continue gathering ideas, inspiration and thoughts here at Captive Audience while posting weekly on my design practice at The Red Carpet Project.

What is unstitched?
December 1, 2010, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Development | Tags: , ,

I’ve called my gowns Unstitched.  This, in fact was not entirely true, they were lightly stitched, or even highly stitched, but in different ways to how a garment is conventionally stitched.  Certainly, they are a reaction against special occasionwear that is tightly stitched – too much so for it’s required durability.  (Although the durability requirements of a gown might be a source of contention – based on the salon sample/retail model of the designer)  In any case, my question here is who else is doing unstitched?

A search of the term “Unstitched” reveals that it is used predominantly in regards to Indian fabrics.  It doesn’t mean fabric that will never be cut or sewn, rather denotes fabric that is yet to be made into clothes.  The advantage in unstitched fabric is that it is intended for custom manufacture to suit the individual.

This process is descibed in a number of websites such as Buzzle or here is a supplier in Pakistan selling unstitched blouses.  Unstitched might have an embroidery detail around the neckline.  This can be cut around and the garment made up to fit the individual.  In the same vein,  this online retailer offers unstitched Salwar Kameez.

According to Wikipedia, a draped garment is “a garment that is made of unstitched cloth that is held to the body by means of pins, fibulae, or clasps, sashes or belts, tying or friction and gravity alone.  Many draped garments are one-piece garments.” Examples of such garments include:

This is interesting in that it encourages me to expand the thinking of what I might be designing and making outside the realm of “gown”.  In considering drape, I have previously kept my idea of drape close to the western notion of drape – a draped gown, usually bias cut and related to Vionnet, or a draped outer layer of a gown, manipulated over a corset.

Button Masala is a concept by designer Anuj Sharma.  It aims to make people more involved with their clothes.  It is a simple concept of a length of fabric sewn with buttons and straps.  The arrangement of the fabric and attachment of the straps is flexible.

Others using the word “unstitched” include:

Unstitched Utilities is a shoe company that designs street shoes.  For this brand – unstitched means espousing corporate careers for the freedom associated with running ones own fashion and fashion and design label.  They also do an eco-friendly range of Tyvek shoes called Unpressed.

UN-stitched is the name of a blog that profiles emerging fashion designers and the influence of new media in fashion.

Australian Fashion Unstitched is a book chronicling the last 60 year of Australian fashion.

Photoshoot locations
October 13, 2010, 12:12 pm
Filed under: Development | Tags: ,

This is along the Upfield bike track in Brunswick.  It’s part of a Moreland art project along the bike track and it looked spectacular.  On Monday.  Today, Chris rode past and said the heavy wind had left it in a mess.  The other problem is access – it’s in a fenced off tramways owned bit of land.

These pics are at APM in Fairfield.  The bales of cardboard ready for recycling would be a spectacular backdrop – but again the problem is access.  The place is like an army barracks with garbage trucks driving in and out of boom gates and there are also forklifts scooting about so I imagine health and safety is pretty important and it would take ages to arrange access.

These are at Fairfield above and below.  The grassy spot is nice, I liked the way it dropped away with the trees in the background, but maybe too nice.  The ones below are nearby, I suspect they will be busy on Sunday with joggers.  The red carpet will get dirty here.  It is a little walk from the carpark as well, over the pedestrian bridge.


These are all behind the museum in the Carlton gardens.  I like the rings around the trees, how it’s wrapping and constraining the trees.  I wonder if the grey would be good to set off the colour (and white) in the dresses?  The aircon vents are quite interesting and they blow out air which we could use to make the dresses flutter!

Would the red carpet work here?  Again, this is the museum.  It could be a bit like a take on the bridal shoots that are always going on around the museum, but with a twist.

It was raining today of course.  I don’t know what Sunday is meant to be like.  If it’s nice the park will get busy, but maybe the people around are ok, just part of the circus?


More harm than good
August 30, 2010, 2:14 pm
Filed under: Development | Tags: , ,

Particularly as the intention of this project is to provoke messages around sustainability, I am aware of the potential to create more harm than good, even while the intention might be perfectly honorable.

Musing on the phrase more harm than good led me to think about another phrase; Looks can be deceiving.  When I began to create the wrapped threads from the collected and found materials an urban bird’s nest came to mind.  At some point I must have seen a bird’s nest with man made materials woven among the natural ones.  How resourceful, I thought, that a bird might adapt to its urbanised environment by using Its traditional nest building techniques alongside discarded human litter.  The randomness of the waste is given order, shape and pattern by the bird’s deft work. I represented this in my visual diary below.

I imagined a photographer might have captured many splendid nests such as this for my design inspiration however The RSPCA World of Animal Welfare site told a counter tale:

“Magpies, Crows, Currawongs and Butcher birds build stick nests which are sometimes quite elaborate. You can help them nest safely by keeping your rubbish in a bin where Black and white birds can’t get at it. Firstly because they may forage in rubbish inadvertently getting it caught around their feet, body or beaks, and secondly, because they may use it as nesting material. Basically they will use string, twine, wire, wool, netting or any material they can find to build a nest. When the chicks grow up in the nest, their feet and legs often get entwined in this rubbish. Many of these birds become attached to the nest and the tree branch. They become tethered to the nest as if they are on a lead and when they fledge (try to leave the nest to fly) they are either totally unable to leave or injured and deformed rendering them unable to forage, perch and therefore live a healthy life.”

Another example of an enticing image is the one below of a 90 kilo cluster of fishing net and debris which can trap marine life. One cannot help but be drawn to the beautiful and sculptural nature of the work first before understanding its ecological ramifications second. Looks can be deceiving.

I acknowledged the unfortunate story of the birds and pressed on with wrapping strips of fabric in a mixture of nylon, cotton, metallic and wool threads.  See here a selection of the cords.

The artwork below titled Up Drop is by Aurora Robson

In an interview in Issue 36 of Frankie Magazine, Robson says of her work “I felt guilty making more ‘stuff’ in a world that I already saw as having too much stuff – or maybe more than that, seeing ‘stuff’ being very unevenly distributed and made with planned obsolescence or blatant disregard for the limited resources on this planet that we are all lucky enough to be living on. Once I embraced PET bottles as a sculpting medium I started to feel much more excited by all the challenges associated with working with ‘trash’”

I do not mean to judge Robson’s methods or question whether or not it comprises more harm than good.  I do not know enough about her work to be able to say.  I use the example because I have inferred from her statements that as an artist, she finds the process of using the found objects around her morally rewarding.  As have I.  The question I would like to now ask myself is, do my cords do more harm than good?

Refinity – Fioen van Balgooi
August 20, 2010, 2:34 am
Filed under: Research | Tags: , ,

Refinity – Fioen van Balgooi.

A garment that can be worn in multiple ways. The customer will have less need to buy new clothes because of the variation. Refinity and Berber Soepboer developed a click/fold system. Stitching yarn is no longer needed. Garments can simply be clicked together. Because of this it is possible to wash or replace the parts separately. It is made of C2C wool flannel, which is so harmless you could “so to speak” eat it.