Week one reflection
Having attended Otis college of Arts and Designs for three years, I would say I have learned of the many ways of conducting a research and the different ways of writing research reports. This is creditable to the school’s well-structured curriculum which is tailored to prepare the students for their successful future through numerous opportunities.
I knew I wanted to major in Fashion design before attending Otis college of Arts and Designs. Although we only learned of the competence of artists and designers in the foundation year and did not go deeper into the fields that we wanted to pursue, there was still a chance for us to research on our interests. An example is the LAS classes. For each LAS course, we were required to write one or two research papers on things that we were interested in. It is during this time that I got the opportunity to research on fashion and learn more about the various aspects of fashion.
As I went through my portfolio and read the papers that I had written for each project, I realized that each research paper is a step forward towards my goal of becoming a fashion designer. While in my foundation year, the first research paper that I wrote was about two of the most well-known designers; Gabriel Chanel and Lavin. I learned about how they started their business and how they made it big, even to the point of becoming uniquely different from other brands. I also got to know how they started their brand with something that is different than what is sold in all the stores. For example, Chanel started the brand by making hats and suits. She has now expanded into making bags, shoes, clothing and even sports equipment. As for Lavin, she started the brand first by making dolls for kids then advanced to making kids wear and later on begun to do women’s wear. These two designers inspired me further in my quest of becoming a fashion designer. Their success story taught me the importance of humble beginnings and the power of being unique and different as a designer.
After getting to know more about designers, my second project was on researching how celebrities affect the fashion industry. Celebrities worldwide have a huge effect on the fashion industry; they advertise for brands and are sponsored by brands, and they get more people to buy the product. Some of them have millions of followers on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. When these celebrities post their pictures wearing these products, or wear certain outfits to events, their fans are swayed or influenced to buy the same products so as to look like these celebrities. Most of these followers believe that whatever their idol chooses to use is good. As a result, most companies do their advertisement mainly on social media these days. However, in instances where a celebrity’s ratings have gone down, the brand relying on such a celebrity is likely to suffer losses. Lowering of rates can be due to the reduction in fan base, due to a more popular celebrity emerging or where the fans are displeased by certain acts of a celebrity. Various brands world over, therefore, are keen to pick on celebrities with higher ratings and who are best suited to sell their brands.
The third project that I did was on how women’s outfit changed between 1850- 1950. From this project, I learned that fashion always goes round in circles; designers in today’s fashion industry get inspiration from different eras to design something new. Also, the different experiences in each year of their lives had different impacts. Some of these major events include war and the great depression. Influenced by these yearly events, people tend to change their outfits accordingly to suit what they do and what their occupations are. Doing this project, therefore, taught me the need to focus on designing for different occasions and how to reflect on the past and research on the vintage looks to create something new.
For the History of costume class, I also wrote about dresses and under garments. From the two pieces of research that I did, I learned how garments were constructed and layered together back in the old days. I also researched on the different types of dresses that women wear. With all the information I had acquired from my classes, I learned how valuable the information would be in helping me understand how to design clothes and to become a better fashion designer.
I did not gain knowledge about fashion design only through my classes. I also traveled to Rome during the summer to study and I learned so much that I could not get from the classroom. During this trip, we went to the oldest fashion street which has 90% of the fashion brands and visited the flagship stores. Some of the stores such as Fendi even had a studio that one can visit. I had never seen how to make fur jacket on campus, but during my visit to the store, I noticed that the entire processes of making a regular fabric jacket and making a fur jacket have different procedures and skills needed. We also visited many museums and experienced the different cultures.
For the social psychology class, I researched on how customers react to advertisements and how to attract them to buy more. This class helped me to understand better how each company tries to grab people’s attention to attract potential customers. In future I intend to incorporate the knowledge gained from this class in the working industry.
After going through what I had researched on fashion, I got more ideas on what I want to do for my capstone paper. I had studied many different fields in the fashion industry, and each research paper that I had done provided a range of topics to choose from. This proved to be very helpful as my task of finding the right topic was made easier.