Final Images and Evaluation

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Out of all of the projects for the FMP, this is my personal favourite and the piece I think is the strongest. Because of the powerful connection to the project, this was a bit of a emotional rollercoaster for me but it was a perfect way of honouring the people I miss, and almost a way for me to come to terms with the loss.

I’m so happy with how the dress came out. I have been asked where I bought it, which made me very happy because I wanted to create a highly professional looking dress that could be bought from a fashion brand. The finishing is perfect and my seamstress did a brilliant job. It turned out exactly how I imagined it would.

Creating the pattern was very challenging for me. I’ve never created a design as big as that, but thankfully it turned out perfect. The print is crisp, despite the fact that the images were blown up a lot larger than the original drawings. I think that although the meaning behind the print won’t be obvious to everyone, there is something about it that will make people think that it is more than just a decorative pattern. Venturing outside of my comfort zone to have such a deep, personal and meaningful concept was difficult for me but now I see that my work is so much stronger when a lot of thought goes into the design process.
Photographing and making the lookbook I felt was really important. I don’t usually undertake a lot of photography, and this project kind of made me fall back in love with it again. I now know the importance of using well thought out and beautiful photography in enhancing my illustration.
Using colour has never been my strong point, so I think I have done really well here in picking a beautiful colour palette that compliments each other really well. I also never draw flowers or fruits/vegetables ever, I used to be really bad at it and I didn’t enjoy it, but this project has pushed me to get better at one of my weak points in my drawing and designing. I also always stick to symmetry, so creating a print that was so random was really challenging, but it paid off here. A random design suits the subject matter and the flow of the dress so much better and gives the design a “natural” look.
I don’t know if I would produce more of these dresses, as this pattern is personal to me so I’d like to make this a one off. However, I see no reason as to why I can’t make similar designs to this with a similar dress.
I was initially worried that because I didn’t print the fabric or make the dress that it would seem like it wasn’t my work. However, i’ve come to realise that my role is that of an illustrator and designer – I’m not a printer or a seamstress. Focusing my efforts on being really good at one thing is really paying off for me. This year I have realised my strengths and limitations, and I know when things should be left to someone else more proficient in a skill to help me realise my ideas.
I will be collaborating with a clothing designer soon, so this project for me allowed me to get my skills up to scratch, so that when I create designs for fabric in the future it will be so much easier for me because I am already familiar with the technique. I really think that this piece will look fantastic in my portfolio, especially as up until now I have only created designs for t-shirts. Creating this dress and lookbook has strengthened my skills as an artist, and is helping me on my way to becoming a much more versatile illustrator. Although this design is dark, there’s no reason why I can’t soften up my work with brighter colours. I definitely think I could create work for more mainstream brands, which is key to me be able to secure more work and commissions in the future.

Constructing & Photographing The Lookbook

I had my lookbook printed at the same place as my Clockwork Orange book cover was printed.
I really liked the way my beer label photos came out so I set up the lookbook in the same place. I scattered the desk with dried petals which made the display look more interesting.


I found a greetings card box with a window that I thought would be perfect to keep my book safe. The window means that the cover is visible through the box so I wouldn’t have to worry about what the box had on the front.
I took some photos of the book to show the overall design, and then some detail shots. The petals really work well with the images because they’re bright and contrast against the black, but also the colours of the petals represent the tones of the photos and the dress colours.
I decided that I would include the digital files of each spread of the book. There didn’t seem to be much point in photographing photographs.

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I wanted the book spreads to match the rest of the photoshoot, so I created a petal border from some of the photos I took. I kept the background dark to mimic the photoshoot background and also to make the colours pop out.
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When I placed one of my double page spreads over the petals, it looked pretty tacky. The petals looked really odd and it looked a bit gimmicky. The petals were also too distracting from the photos and take away the focus somewhat.
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Even when I lowered the opacity of the petals they still didn’t look right.
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Even the black border looked pretty unnecessary – especially as my book doesn’t even have borders.
I decided that the best way to display the book pages is just to show how they are, with no gimmicks or other unnecessary elements.


I decided that I wanted to create a small lookbook for the dress. As I only have one garment, whereas usually clothing designers have a few different pieces, I decided that I would have to fill up the lookbook with other supporting images. I decided that the book should be a kind of ‘diary’ of how the dress came about.


Rick Owens Lookbook, 2011. I’m interested by the unusual layout style, although I’m not sure if it would work for my own images.


Ribbon binding found (here)
String binding found (here) 
I want to keep my lookbook as simple as possible, so I think one large image per page is the best bet.
I started out with some composition ideas for the front cover. I knew I wanted something very simple, white text against a black background.

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As all of my images are mainly portrait, I had to change the orientation of the book.
I decided I wanted a simple, effective monogram of “MM” (memento mori)

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This one was way too simple.

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Although I like this one, it’s perhaps a little too much for the front cover. This is a sketch I scanned in and then lowered the opacity of to make appear grey.

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I chose the Georgia typeface because I already use it for my logo.The letters are simple but really beautifully designed. The monogram is a bit more interesting but still very simple, and the added text gives the viewer more information about the title.

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I was going to add a box around everything but I felt that it didn’t need this – it makes it look too much like a fashion label which was not really what I wanted.

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Back and front cover
I made a list of the kinds of images I wanted to include in the book.

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I looked back through the photos I had already taken and chose a few that I felt were the best shots and also presented the ideas I wanted within my lookbook.
I loved this shot I took in the Horniman museum. I felt it represented my research really well – one of the starting places for me was research and museum trips. I edited the photos a little, trying to see how they might look really dark. I change the hue to a purple-ish colour to match the tones in the dress. I love how the dark black silhouettes look against the purple textured background.
I also edited this image similarly, but this time I reduced the saturation as well. I feel like this stage of my project was equally important – witnessing the decaying of flowers and life and also researching into the specific meanings of flowers which are now extremely important to my project and dress design.
I also found these images I took of some burnt petals. The colours aren’t really right – my design doesn’t feature the colour yellow. I liked the decaying look to them, how they look so fragile.

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I rotated the image to match the orientation of the others, and edited it using the same methods as the Horniman Museum photo. The purplish colours are a really important factor of both the dress and book, which is why I’ve been changing the colour balance of all of my images.
Using the same set up as what I was using to photograph my other two projects, I used my photobox with the black backdrop. I used my macro lense to get some closeup shots of the drawings, and also the cicada on a flower. I used a lamp on one side to give the objects dramatic lighting. I set my camera up on a tripod to maintain steady photos. This set up was very easy but really effective as I managed to get some great shots.


Photos of the drawings. I tried to achieve an interesting angle and depth of field – so that the drawing looked more interesting than just the scan. I also wanted to show some of the detail of the pencil lines and marks.
The photograph I chose to use. I picked it because it shows a lot of detail in the drawing, the depth of filed and angle is interesting and I also realised that the pomegranate fruit doesn’t feature anywhere else in the book yet so I needed to include it. I inverted it because the original was so bright it looked odd because all of the other photos are so dark.
Photos of the cicada. These were really difficult to achieve but the depth of field is so interesting.
The photos I chose – the insect was easily distinguishable and the angle and depth of field were really interesting.


After editing. This one has a more pinkish orange tone, but this isn’t a problem because I know that the dress has a few of these colours on it. I will place this image alongside another one that shares the same colour palette.
I laid the dress down in the photobox to act as draped fabric that occurs so frequently in Vanitas paintings. on top of that I arranged a still life using insects, flowers and vegetables/fruit.
Some of the photos. I had a hard time with this shoot, the beetle wouldn’t stay still and I had to rearrange the display several times. Eventually I took a few photos that I was really pleased with.
After editing. I lowered saturation but didn’t need to change the colour balance as the tones in the objects already match the purples of the dress colours.


The image I chose. The objects are clear, the composition is really effective. It feels like an old vanitas painting which is what I wanted to accomplish. The print on the fabric is visible but doesn’t take anything away from the objects.
I also took some photos of the dress hanging up against a white wall. I wanted to achieve very strong lighting and shadows on the wall behind the dress. I took the photos from an odd angle because I wanted to make the photos more abstract than just a standard photo of the dress.
Some edits of the photo – altering the saturation and levels to make the photo dark and mysterious.

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I chose this one in the end because the composition is the best – the front view means that you can still tell what the image is of, but the angle is still interesting enough that the photo doesn’t feel boring. The shadows cast by the dress on the wall give the photo a mysterious, etherial feel and also makes the dress feel like it’s moving.
I also took a couple of photos with my macro lens of the detail of the fabric. I wanted to show that the fabric is translucent so I overlapped the fabric slightly to achieve that layered effect.


I chose this photo because I felt it would work best with the closeup of the cicada insect. The layering shows that the fabric is floaty and the composition is the better one out of the ones I took.


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First page – the meaning of memento mori in Georgia typeface to keep things consistent.

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Second page – a photo I took in the Horniman museum, edited to have a faded colour that matched the colouring of the dress.

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Third page – inverted photograph of one of my drawings for the dress.

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Fourth page – one of my reference photos of the flowers, edited to be washed out and darker to match the dress and make it look a little more dramatic.
Fifth and sixth page – Vanitas style image of my dress as draped fabric, along with some objects depicted on the dress.
Seventh page – detail of the dress fabric

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Eighth page – close up macro shot of a cicada insect

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Ninth page – petal closeup.
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Tenth page – image of the dress hanging so as to see the detail and shape better.