Wood(6):Wood Peacock

Personally, I love peacocks. They are amazingly beautiful creatures. However, there’s one little thing about peacocks that I don’t appreciate that much, and that is the color. Well, I’m not a big fan of blueish colors; they make me feel sad whenever I am. However, I do use the color blue in my design a lot. But anyway.

I got the inspiration of the dress above from the beautiful tail of the peacock. I’m just fascinated by its geometry and the way it spreads and extends elegantly to the two sides. I was wondering if I could mimic a similar construction in my wood collection but with a warmer and cozier set of colors, and obviously, it was hard. Feathers and wood have very different textures. Soft and fuzzy feathers cover the stiff skeleton of the tail and that’s what we see, a fan with soft edges. How could you use woods, I mean the dullest material ever, to create a lovely feather fan?

As I mentioned in my previous posts, I found out that leaves, bushes, and especially rattans could soften the stiffness of the wood a little bit. When you have a bunch of rattans surrounded those muscular wood hunks, they look much kinder. Therefore, I applied this method to this piece and again, it worked. Well, more or less.

When I’m done, I took a look at this piece and thought it didn’t look like a peacock tail at all, right? BUT, I do love it. One highlight of this dress is no doubt the geometric shape of the “tail”, especially the two symmetric curves in the middle. I love geometric prints, patterns and constructions in fashion design, and you can find them everywhere in my sketchbook.

One last thing about this dress. The greenish bodycon dress is supposed to make out of some kind of smooth and porcelain-feeling materials. Since the outer wood part has a rough and “coarse” texture, I think it will be better if the inner dress is surprisingly shiny and polished. Also, it is composed by hexagons of different greenish colors. Geometry again.

Hope you like my dress!

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Wood(5):Mushroom

       I guess this is an unique one in my wood collection. Mushroom? Seriously? Mushrooms grow on woods, aren’t they?

I love the idea of attaching purple mushroom pieces on the wood block. At first, I was kind of nervous to blend the purple color and brownish color together because I thought this combination might look messy and bizarre. However, after I sketched out some draft pieces, I found they actually looked pretty good together! What a discovery! However, I did need to pay special attention to how “purple” I want the mushroom to be. They can’t be just 100% purplish. I need to blend some brownish color in it. Anyway, the color is pretty successful.

I was confused about where to attach my mushroom pieces on the dress at first. The first place that I came up with was the lower left corner of the skirt. I thought it would look pretty chic if the mushroom kind of popped up in the corner. They would add some 3D flavor to the design. Next, I thought about actually create a mushroom-shaped scallop collar. After that, what about a wide mushroom belt on the waist? Last but not least, a lovely mushroom hat.

This dress could absolutely be my party wear next time if I am able to find the right materials and create it by hands. Emm. I actually have no idea about how to make those mushroom pieces. This is another stay-on-paper-forever design.

But still, hope you like my dress!

Wood(4):So Grow Tall

         I played with the fashion design stereotype involving roots&fibre+wood+leaves in this piece. This is definitely an exciting and surprising one, and I like it. I remembered that as soon as I finished it, I showed it to my mom and the lady was like, Wtf is this? At least the roots should go beneath the wood instead of crawling on top of it. That makes sense mom. I’ve seen a lot of fashion design pieces that make wood blocks a bandeau top and the roots skirt. This design totally make sense. Wood are relatively stiff and it is an ideal pattern for a stylish but simple top; roots, on the other hand, are free-shaped and demonstrate an idea of crawling, spreading, and binding the body, therefore, it is pretty nice to make a skirt out of it.

However, this time, I did try something different. I deliberately put roots&fibre on the upper part of the body and tried to create a top out of it. What I ended up drawing on the paper was a one-shoulder top with a thick root strap. The main component of the top include a bodycon grass-green polyester base with some randomly arranged fibre on top of it. One thing I really like about this design is the harmony of the figure-hugging bandeau top with the oh-so-free-spirited fibre. In general, this top gives an impression of spreading out and expanding outward. I will say it is a pretty aggressive-looking top.

Since the top is “expanding” outward enough, I decided to design a more shrinking and slim feeling skirt, well if you call it a skirt, to balance out the general feeling of the dress. I like piling stuff and you can definitely see that in my pencil shaving dress. Similarly, this time, I piled wood blocks and they almost look like a torch, or an ice cream cone. I really enjoy the idea of creating something skinny and slim by those big pieces of blocks. Since the top is relatively plane, and what I mean by “plane” is that although the fibre give out a stretchy and spreading impression, the top in general is not very dimensional. However, the skirt is pretty active in many planes :p And actually, the lower part feels heavier than the top, which obeys the rules and totally  “stabilize” this design.

One thing I like the best about the dress is the idea of “disorder”. The normal order of different parts of a plant should be: leaves, branches&twigs, trunk, roots and fibre. However, this weird piece suggests another order:leaves&branches, roots, fibre and finally trunk. This is totally against common sense. But who cares about common sense in fashion?

There are a few things that I still haven’t figured out about this design yet:

1. How to connect the top piece and the blocks together somewhere near her waist?

2. How to give a perfect ending to the wood block dress near her ankle?

3. What about her back? Will the lower design on the back be a simple piece of maxi skirt or am I going to continue adding more wood blocks?

Anyway, this is an interesting piece in my collection and hope you like it!

Wood (3): Girly Wood

       Here comes my second piece of “wood”. I created it at the very beginning of my senior year in high school, while I was driven insane slowly by tons of college apps, SAT Is and IIs, and APs. Luckily, I found sketching some interesting-looking dresses on paper to be relaxing, and I spent most of my spare time sitting in front of my sketchbook. Although this dress is pretty old, it remains one of my favorites in this collection. I don’t usually use girly elements in my design such as reddish color, floral print, symmetric hair accessories, etc. However, I did add two cute red flowers in this design and I love how they came out.

       The idea of this dress is to make wood more girly and simply fancier. Although the material wood demonstrates a general stiff feeling, I want to try a different style that actually “softens” the texture. To do this, I rotate several green vines along the dress. I guess the soft and fragile texture of the vines could balance the stiffness of the well-constructed wooden dress more or less.

       I’m always the most excited about the hat part. Similar to the last one, I create a rectangular wooden hat, but, with two dramatic red flowers on both ends of it. I like the hallucination of two flowers blossoming and almost exploding out of the wooden hat, which is like a  tree stump.

     Hope you like my dress!

Wood(2):Here Comes the Real Piece

          So here is the first piece I’ve done for the “wood” collection, a wooden dress that I still consider to be one of the most successful works in the collection even though it is a starting piece. I’m particular in love with the stiff and inelastic feeling that both the design of the dress and the wood texture share. I focused on elements like block back, angular shapes, folded  detail,sharp hat to match the texture of wood. One highlight of this dress is the use of faded color and the lovely green bushes on the hat.

Honestly, I got the inspiration from one dress in one of McQueen’s collections in which he focused on a heavy incorporation of Asian culture and the idea of “garden” and “greens”. I saw this wonderful piece in a book that my friend gave me as birthday gift, called “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”, a book that I’m sure most of you have encountered somewhere since it has such an intriguing cover of McQueen’s head+a skull. Anyway. Although I’m not usually a big fan of McQueen’s creepy-looking creations,this classy dress, which I’d like to name as “Chinese Garden”,  is truly a masterpiece. I love love the idea of combining a somewhat oriental vintage style with natural elements including grass, vines, flowers, etc. One highlight of this dress is the hat part. The elegant shape and these falling vines are so reminiscent that I can’t stop thinking about those beautiful window designs in traditional Chinese architectures. Also, I’m wondering if McQueen actually borrowed the design of the hat directly from the one that was worn by those maids in Chinese imperial palaces. They are quite similar.

I obviously borrowed many ideas from McQueen to my own collection, the hat design in particular. However, since I tried to demonstrate the idea of “nature” instead of “asia”, I just ignored the exquisite floral patterns on the original design. Personally, I prefer b old and clean designs with minimal elaborations. That’s why I added nothing but a wood block on the back of the dress.

Hope you like my dress!

Wood(1): Forest Queen-The Starting Point

My wood collection really started with my love for pencil shavings. As a weirdo in the 21st century who has no interest in technology and all those stuff, I still use wooden pencils and the old pencil sharpeners. I create piles and piles of pencil shavings every day, and I’m just fascinated by them. These amazing fellows have every elements I love for fashion: scallop edge, natural brownish color, wooden texture, neat folds on the surface, and free shapes. I’m even fond of its crispiness and fragility. Pencil shavings=unique beauty.

So there was this one day in 2011, as soon as I finished sharpening my pencils and was ready to sketch out some new dresses in my dorm, I came up with this idea of actually creating a dress out of pencil shavings. I started my project by listing a series of words that I would use to describe wood. Some of them were natural, wild, free, wet, etc. I ended up deciding to create a luxurious maxi dress and I named it “The Forest Queen”.

        The idea of this dress is to demonstrate a sense of authority, elegance, and wildness in a feminal way. Maxi dress always gives an impression of confidence and nobility, and one-shoulder adds on some sense of sexiness and liveliness. One of the highlights of the design is the growth ring pattern in the middle of the dress. This pattern later appears frequently in this collection. And the colors, yellow, orange, and brown, also become the color base of my work later.

To express the idea of “forest” in a more direct and interesting way, I decided to add a set of antlers, or an “antler crown” if you prefer to call it this way, to the “queen”. By the way, reindeer is one of my favorite animals.

The most challenging part of the project was not about designing the dress on paper, but actually constructing it by hands. I started the process by making the paper base of the dress. After that, I colored the dress and labeled the place where I wanted to add pencil shavings on. Then the annoying part came. It was almost impossible for me to control the pencil sharpener so that it always gave out the best pencil shavings. I tried really hard to adjust the strength of my hands, and tried to figure out the most appropriate way to rotate the sharpener, but failed. I got piles of broken or tiny pencil shavings of low quality. Sometimes, I even destroyed some perfect shavings by myself accidentally. They fell down from my desk, stuck in some edges on the floor or were trampled on by people. They were simply so delicate that I must treat them like babies. Once I got a satisfying piece of shaving, I immediately picked it up cautiously and place it in a glass jar. In this way, I collected enough pieces so that I could make the dress. The whole process took me about 40 min, and I run out of two pencils.

The gluing process was even more patience-demanding. The method that I used was to put some glue on the paper dress first, and then pressed the shaving pieces carefully on top of it. Needless to say that I broke many pieces by pressing them too hard. This was actually the few moment that I felt a little exhausted and frustrated about creating artwork. But anyway.

I used another one hour working on the pencil shavings. Tired to the max, I finished the rest of the project very quickly, and that included cutting out the background of the dress and making some decorations by tissue paper. When I’m finally done with it, I examined it closely for a while and I told myself I liked it.

So this dress is the actual beginning point of my wood collection. I became obsessed with the wood theme and idea of natural elegance and wildness after that.

I would like to summarize some highlights of this dress below:

1. Sources: I just can’t find a better source to illustrate the idea of “wood” than something that is actually made out of wood. Interestingly enough, everything I use in this dress, including paper, pencil shavings and tissue paper, are all related to wood. Nice choice!

2. Color: The combination of yellow-orange-brown later becomes my favorite set of color. Such a warm, natural and passion personalities that it demonstrates.

3. The technique of fading effect.To mix yellow-orange-brown in the best way, I chose to color the center of each growth ring yellow, the middle part orange and the outer part brown. To fade away the edge of each layer of the color, I used color pencils in a very light way. I used similar techniques in the collection very frequently later.

Hope you like my dress!

I Am Back!

Hi my friends,

After a long-and-dull summer back home and a crazy freshman month in college, I’m bringing my new designs back! Yayy!

My new collection will include a clothing line focusing on “woods and nature” and some letter designs. I’ll post them regularly online in the following month. Also, I may post some Barbie news, healthy eating stuff randomly, too. So please stay tuned.

 

Ray

Not Everybody Wants a Tan!

         Barbie is always leading the trend. Well, sometimes she simply follows our fashion, too. This tanned doll, called Then and Now Bathing Suit Barbie, reflects a dream that not only females but also males have – to be tanned permanently! Beachy and sexy, the Bathing Suit Barbie has a sun kissed bronze skin that everyone envies. But why American people, especially teens, are so obsessed with tanning? Weren’t they love alabaster skin, well, hundreds of years ago (just like the vintage Barbie on the right)? This is such an interesting topic to talk about.

         According to Dr. Sandra, a dermatologist in Washington D.C., American teens are “fighting a Darwinian struggle here” because they regard tanned skin as “a sign of health and attractiveness and a potential good partner to mate with.” However, we’re not satisfied with this answer at all. Tanning to be a “potential good partner?” Although this might be human being’s real passion behind tanning, it’s a little bit hard for us to understand. Actually, the reason for tanning can’t be simpler: we go to tanning parlor and apply sunless tanning lotion regularly because we think tanned skin is attractive. Additionally, those gorgeous celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, etc., are all tanned. Girls who are loyal followers of these fashion queens naturally mimic their styles. How simple is that? There are some good examples of how crazy teenage girl are about tanning: in Kennedy’s cheerleading squad, a year-round tan is becoming part of the uniform.

        While American teens are so obsessed with tanning, things are quite different among Asian young people. To be specific, we don’t want dark skin at all. White skin? Yes! The whiter, the better; the paler, the prettier. Whitening cosmetics are always the best sellers. Tanning products? No! We don’t have any. We have sunscreen protection gel, cream, serum, moisture…all items that can prevent us from having darker skin under sunshine. When we reunite with our friends after summer vacation and find them as dark as a piece of coal, we will laugh and joke about their sun kissed skin instead of praising their tan.

        It seems that people are just not satisfied with their current appearance and we always want a change. While white people want tanned skin, yellow-faced people want whiter appearance. In this way, tanning is just a way by which Americans seek such a change. There’s no particular reason behind that but people’s desire for a more exciting and adventurous life. 

(Resources are from: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1220506,00.html#ixzz1ufqPaeO2)

Lashes: The Longer, The Better

          Have you ever wondered why people prefer girls with long and thick lashes? Scientific researchers say that people, especially males, are always seeking females who look healthy enough to give birth to babies by instinct. This is an appetence that we inherit our animal ancestors, but obviously, human beings express this desire in a much fancier way. Therefore, we appreciate girls with  these special “healthy” signs, including a round and firm butt, full breasts, and strangely enough, long lashes. Researchers say that girls with long lashes look healthier and trustworthier. That’s why we build our ideal female models with long and thick lashes, including Barbie dolls.

        Combing Barbie’s lashes used to be my childhood habit.  I remembered staring at her super curly and thick lashes and combing it with my fingers. When I grew up a little bit, I started to beg my mom to buy the mascara on the cosmetic shelf for me. I think for me at that time, long lashes were even more important than full lips, big eyes or well-defined eye brows. Long lashes can make a girl have bigger, more vibrant and sparkling eyes, and that’s what exactly what I wanted as a little girl. To look like a Barbie was my goal.

        There’s no doubt that my goal is shared by girls everywhere. That’s why we carefully glue the faked lashes layer-by-layer on our eyelids and then apply the thick and dark mascara in order to make them look more natural. Although we know that applying mascara can be pretty dangerous because it carries bacterias that can contaminate our eyes, but still, we want sparkling eyes. I saw a piece of news online the other day, which really upset me. According some health researchers, aged mascara can cause a series of very severe eye problems, and blindness is one possible result if the bacteria-laden mascara gets into the eye. Therefore, according to the researchers, purchasers of mascara should “consider buying only the smaller sized containers of mascara to force the purchaser to buy new mascara more often. “Long lashes finally lead to blindness; that’s pretty scary.  

      Celebrities also help to promote the popularity of long lashes. Nicki Minaj, for example, alway appears on stage with incredibly long and curly lashes. Well, I guess this is just part of her Barbie make-up. 

         

Woaaah Bald Barbie?!

        (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/03/29/mattel-to-produce-bald-friend-of-barbie/)

        This may surprise you, but, yes, we do have a BALD Barbie and she’s just as beautiful as her friends. Designed to raise awareness and care for girls who suffer hair loss due to medical treatment of cancer, the Bald Barbie was released in March this year. According to its designer, Mattel, these special-looking dolls will be distributed exclusively to children’s hospitals and become the new friends of girls there. In this way, girls who seem to be blocked from the outside world will have the equal chance to have fun with Barbie.

        The massage sent by the bald Barbie is that being bald is beautiful, too. And actually, this statement is not at all just a relief to those unlucky girls, but also 100% true in the fashion world. Bald is no longer male’s proprietary now;  instead, some females, especially those who want to kind of “show off” their feminist belief and those who simply want to be unique and eye-catching, also shave off their hair. I’m fascinated by this phenomenon because while some girls, like me, are trying so hard to hide their huge pancake-flat face with thick, straight bangs, others choose to expose their entire head so as to look as independent and cool as a stereotype male. Well, I guess fashion is never just one theme. 

       Back in Asia, bang is something that almost every girl has. Even for those who already have oval face, they keep a very well-shaped bob hair in order to, I guess, look even slender with smaller face. It is interesting that this fashion trend matches the traditional view Asian people have for females, which is to be as conservative and isolated as possible. I remember that one big change that American feminist “Flippers” chose to raise the social status of female during 1920s was to wear shorter skirts and expose more skin. So I’m just wondering if feminism is still silent in Asia. Girls are still trying to hide themselves from the public, and that’s a pretty sad reality.

       So in my hometown, a bald girl absolutely stands out among bobs: ) Bald is therefore a symbol of arrogance, rebelliousness and nonconformity and is not at all welcomed among parents. Therefore the only chance for us to appreciate the beauty of bald is by watching bald actresses in movies. Here are some of my favorite pictures of bald actresses and they are just gorgeous. 

      

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