For my research I was walking through the school, and photographing students that stood out to me. Then, I wandered into one of the departments, and started to observe the people that were working there. As I watched, I noticed that they behave differently here then they do in the hallways. So much more comfortable, almost as if they are at home. That’s when I realized that the departments are like save havens for the students, a place where they feel in place. So I started taking pictures.
After taking a lot of photographs, I started to notice that there were connections visible between the students and their surroundings, either in color, shape ore material. So I started documenting the connections that became visible to me. I did this first through photographs, and later also through drawing and 3-D experiments. In the images below, I tried to visualize the connections that I saw between the girl in the checkered shirt and the materials that she was working with (in the pictures above). In this case I did this through drawing and a 3-D experiment.
After doing this research and the experiments, I decided that my concept for making an outfit would be ‘connecting to the school’ through clothing. So I started to make try-outs at home, using different techniques. My main focus at first was to let the clothing connect through shapes in it’s surroundings. I made two molds out of fabric, and started to put them on a dummy to create different shapes. On the pictures below you can see a few examples.
When I was done with experimenting with these shapes on the dummy, I realized that I wasn’t satisfied with them. They didn’t make the connections between the clothes and the environment clear enough. So I started to head in a different direction. My next idea was to make the connections clear through photographs. I started with small experiments, by taking a 360 turn in the classroom, and making a snapshot every time I turned. With these photographs, I then experimented with paper and fabric.
My idea now, is to take snapshots like this of the whole entire school, documenting every corner of the building. After that, I want to use the technique from the image above, to create an outfit completely constructed out of photographs, in which every angle of the building is visible, and connecting to it in a very visual way.
When I started to work on the actual outfit, I found out that it is nearly impossible to make a whole outfit out of this self-made grid-like material. So I decided that I would print out the pictures of the school on paper in stead of on fabric, and I proceeded to make the design that you see on the pictures below by sewing the paper onto fabric. After finishing that outfit, I really didn’t like it. It didn’t reflect what I had in mind ore my research. So I decided to make a completely new outfit, using the previous one as a prototype. This is the result.
Looking back on this project, I realize that I changed my mind many times. This started already at the beginning of the research, where I struggled with finding a good way of working. Eventually, I found that the best way for me was to just observe, seeing the connections that became visible to me between the students and the building, and trying to visualize these through drawings and photos. Then I got a bit stuck again, trying to incorporate the connections in forms. So I went into another direction, this is the direction that I stuck with until the end, making connections to the building by simply using photographic images of the school and incorporate them in the fabric of the garment. In this process, I again changed my mind while I was working, by going from using actual paper photographs to drawing the images onto the fabric by hand. The garment now feels as a real result of the research, a clear conclusion after a lot of doubts and changes.