Friday, 24 March 2017



As this week we have been focusing on our design process and development, today we had a visit from Sarah Mole; head pattern cutter for womenswear at COS. She spoke to us about the newest 10 piece collection that COS have created for their 10 year anniversary, as well as how they created the collection and why they felt the idea behind it is important.

So, COS have created this 10 piece collection which consists of women's, men's and children's garments, which have all been made using a unique ethos of pattern cutting.  With rising trends of sustainability and being environmentally friendly within the fashion industry, COS and the pattern cutting team thought it would be great to research into 'zero-waste' pattern cutting methods and see how they could implement this into their work/collection.

images taken from COS website

Sarah explained that by COS using the Lectra system, they felt they had an advantage due to the technology and being able to start pattern cutting and altering patterns at a quicker pace (compared to manual pattern cutters.)  She also discussed methods, ideas and ways that she found that helped her to overcome fabric usage/efficiency to create garments that were as minimal waste as possible.  For example, on the men's jacket, and the kids shirt - they have curved hemlines, and this was so that on the lay plan the sleeve head slotted into the curvature of the hemline.  This then eliminated odd shaped space which they initially found a struggle to create solutions for.  Listening to Sarah talk, I found it very interesting in the ways they used the pattern pieces logically to fit next to one another so that none of the area within the outline of the entire lay plan was wasted. This is definitely something that I would like to replicate in my work, as I too believe that in order to keep up with the demand of societies desires, it is very important to make people/consumers change the way they buy and shop.  I think that creating an entire 8 outfit menswear collection that is entirely minimal waste it would be very unique to the market, especially being an on-trend collection to be styled in many ways.

After Sarah's presentation, we were lucky enough to talk to her within our group and gain some feedback from what she felt about our designs, and how we should next approach our development.  We spoke about it can be harder to be more creative in menswear fashion, as we believe that it can't be too 'out-there' as men typically will not wear the garment.  Therefore, we explained how we are interested in looking at moved seams, panel features, and concealed fastenings and pockets - and making a feature of these key details throughout the collection.  We agreed that the best place to start actual toile development is to focus on the fit on trousers and fitted areas of garments such as collars and cuffs.  This was because the majority of men find it crucial to have a comfortably fitted garment that sits well on their body- and as Sarah explained to us, she and her team found it difficult when creating the fit of the shorts for the 10 piece COS collection, due to creating the right shape but also to fit it into the restraint of minimal waste.

From this, we agreed that in our next group session we would focus on these key areas so that we can find and workout suitable patterns to work from, but also to play around with 'zero-waste' and see how we can achieve the minimal waste without compromising the fit and style we desire to have.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017



We began our session today by presenting our development progress to the rest of the class, so that we could be categorised into groups where we will then work together to create our COS collections.  When it was my turn to speak I ensured that I not only spoke about my designs, but my concept, ideas of design direction, as well as key garments that I would like to focus on.  These points were crucial to me as I think it was helpful for my fellow peers to understand what I am interested in designing and making, but also for them relate their own designs and concept to mine.  I mentioned and spoke about how I am more interested in a street-style collection, with sporty influences for men and that I quite like oversized, and relaxed silhouettes.

After everyone had spoken, we decided amongst ourselves who's work and designs fitted in with each other, and who's styles, silhouettes complimented others and ultimately which designs would sit well together in a collection line-up.  We chose to be a group of 6 menswear outfits, with 1 unisex outfit, and 1 boys teenager outfit.  We felt that the unisex and kids wear sat well with the rest of the chosen designs from the menswear outfits, ad they equally complimented each other too.  To finalise our session on Tuesday - we discussed how we could make our individual garments and outfits coherent to ensure they flow as a collection.

We chose to focus on details in each garment that would relate our pieces together; for example, we said that we would be creative with our seams by moving them in ways that aren't standard for that pattern.  We also discussed about concealing our fastenings, such as button bands, zips, plackets etc, and in addition, we thought it would be innovative to 'hide' our pockets within the seams created. We all went away from this session and worked on our designs to create a visual idea of what outfits will look like.  Here are our initial designs.

In our outfits we have created some pieces that are quite draped, however we have ensured they aren't too 'baggy' as we also do have key garments in the collection that are to a more fitted style, but have constraints on the 'oversizing' of designs.  This may be something that we consider more in our next team meeting as we could number each outfit in the collection so that we have the more fitted outfits at the beginning which progress as the collection is revealed on the catwalk, where they become more draped the further along.

We briefly discussed colour palette ideas as well - selecting our favourites from the 3 colour schemes provided, and with talking with Veronica and Penny as well as amongst ourselves; we decided that we would 'mix and match' between the pinky toned colour scheme and the grey colour scheme too.

Monday, 20 March 2017



I started to draw up designs for Tuesday's (tomorrow's) presentation session where we will be presenting our ideas and development in order to be categorised into our groups.  I used my mood boards, sketchbook work and inspiration on my Pinterest board -  - to create these initial designs.  Below are a few images I collected to help with the process of designing.

Im quite interested in including small details and features in the garments that add interest instead of going with crazy styles and silhouettes, as I believe this wouldn't fit with the current COS aesthetic.  As I am looking into architecture, concrete structures, and specifically into the work of architect; David Chipperfield, I like the use of straight lines and seam detail.  I would like to incorporate obscure panelling or moved seams to create the effect of architectural influences without the garments themselves being 'sculptural'.  I think this will work as I plan to create menswear/genderless pieces and the collection cannot be too 'loud' as men typically are not as experimental with clothing as women.

Friday, 17 March 2017



In today's session, I developed some previous stand work that I found quite interesting to create a potential design from.  It incorporated some weaving panels that I thought that if enlarged on the body would look effective as creates surface detail and interest, however the overall garment could still be kept minimalistic and classic to suit the COS aesthetic - working it into a shirt design, coat panel or even a trouser pocket.

Below are some scanned-in images from my sketchbook to show my development from the first inspiration to a potential start of a pattern piece.

I started to create a pattern from this initial inspiration, using this technique I found when researching  about zero-waste garments (illustrated in below image).  I made up this basic top from this pattern block using my own measurements then cut into the sleeve to create the slits that can be woven into - see below.

I then done a few quick design ideas of how i could take this idea forward an develop into an outfit or garment - using a mens shirt as a starting point.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017


These sessions consisted on developing our pattern work from the previous Monday, using the mini mannequin again, but this time incorporating fabric and seeing how the shapes out of the packaging would create drape and silhouettes.  I found myself at a bit of a block with the initial shapes that I created the previous week, so I decided to pick another style of packaging and work on this one instead.  I deconstructed the 3d box to its flat net form, where i initially manipulated it onto the body of the mannequin.  I didn't feel inspired but the way it looked on the mannequin however I was drawn to the outline of the geometric shapes of the edge of the packaging (created by the unfolded tabs.)  I thought these geometric sharp lines looked similar to some architecture that I researched (David Chipperfield's work) and also to the buildings I saw on my London trip (see previous blog post.)

After this, I cut the same net out of some lightweight fabric and decided to stitch some edges together; that necessarily wouldn't be next to each other when folded to create its original 3 dimensional form.  This created gaps and shape in the fabric manipulation, so when placed on the mannequin it appeared more realistic in 'garment' form.  This technique inspired me more than the paper prototypes, as I visually and mentally began to see more from what I had created, and began to think of the process in a more design aspect.  With these shapes created I don't think I will necessarily take the entire image as inspo but aspects which will create detail to garment to ensure the collection fits in with the existing COS aesthetic.

Friday, 10 March 2017



We headed to Central London in search of inspiration.  Having previously researched (a few days before) into Scandinavian interiors, and thus moving onto architecture, I found myself inspired by the work of concrete structures and buildings.  I discovered David Chipperfield; an architect who creates buildings with distinctive style, using squared shapes and straight lines with protruding sections/elements to create 3d effect.

In London, we first stopped off at the Victoria Miro Gallery to view the 'Do Ho Suh: Passage' Exhibition.  The Korean artist Do Ho Suh references the different places he has lived and worked with this colourful installation, which explores ideas about identity and migration.  The Passage/s exhibition gives physical form to Suh's idea of life as a journey – his installation is designed as a sequence of passageways that each represent a different place he has occupied.  I found the exhibition interesting due to its sculptural nature, however immediatley didn't become inspired by it.  But I appriciated the small detail included in each of the installations which made me consider that attention to finishing the installation, or in my case a garment, will be crucial.  As COS can often be described as simplistic, it is important that small details and finishing are considered to add interest to the garment (this is what COS do, but usually can be noticed when garments are closely studied by consumers.)

We thought it was thoroughly important for us to visit a COS store to see the garments up close, details and fabrics, as well as get a better idea about consumers, store layout and aesthetics of the brand.  I initally felt that the store had a clean cut style, with minimalistic features, which replicated the designs and style of the garments themselves.  Even though the store itself was relatively busy, it maintained a calm and atmospheric environment which helped emphasise the more mature nature of the brand and store.  

In the Design Museum, we visited the Fear and Love Exhibition which explored a diverse selection of issues that define our era. "The exhibition asserts that design is deeply connected not just to commerce and culture but to urgent underlying issues – issues that inspire fear and love. This is a bold, multidisciplinary and global exhibition that aims to capture the mood of the present and establish the Design Museum as the home of design debate." To be honest, I didn't really get inspired by this exhibition, however I did enjoy the work displayed.

Whilst leaving the Design Museum, I noticed the surrounding buildings and they caught my eye.  I thought they looked similar to the work of David Chipperfield, with square and geometric shapes, with use of cut out sections and protruding elements.  I would like to work into these photographs and experiment by replicating similar shapes into pattern cutting and designing.

Thursday, 9 March 2017



This was the first of many design sessions that was included within this unit.  To start off the session we were breifed in class, and were introduced to our visiting tutor; Veronica, who was assisting us in this live project with her expertise.  With her past work experience being in trend forecasting and future colour trends, I found it incredibly interesting learning about her specialisms in the fashion industry, and I look forward to her working alongside ourselves.

As a class we discussed and thought about the importance of trends and colours - assessing how it works in the industry, especially in relation to COS.  Veronica explained that she believes and follows in three sub-catergories within trend forecasting, which we should majorly consider when thinking about starting our design process, and how these 3 catergories may help influence a creative collection;

Target market is an obvious thought when researching a brand or creating a collection.  We all know that COS themselves have a very distinctive consumer who shops in their store, who has a particular outlook on life and who has a certain lifestyle.  However, with the increase in emerging generations and tribes, could this consumer profile begin to change, depending on todays ever-evolving society?  Veronica briefly spoke about the 'growing older' generation and how they are often overlooked as a consumer, yet they have a huge spending power.  With icons such as Iris Apfel and Nick Wooster making their mark in the industry - is age nothing but a number??

I think that this quote is very true to the outlook on todays fashion industry. Knowing that the industry is one of the worlds largest polluters, in recent years it has become incredibly popular, and even fashionable to produce, sell and buy eco-friendly products.  Whether that ranges from naturally dyed fabrics, to sustainably sourced materials or specially designed garments using technological advantages such as Lectra, and lay-planning software.  But what is my stand point for this project?  I recently discovered that COS aim to have an 80% efficiency when cutting out their fabrics for garments, so there is minimal wastage.  In recent projects I have managed to meet this standard ;creating outfits that hit 70-85% efficiency levels.  However, for this project I would ideally like to increase this efficiency to as high as possible (90% and above), and potentially even produce garments that are zero waste.  Therefore I will have to ensure that every bit of the fabric is utilised in the production of the garment.  I plan to research more into designers who already implement this creating cutting technique in their work; such as Holly McQuillan and David Telfer, to explore and learn about methods and ideas of how to achieve this innovative way of pattern cutting. I also plan to use the Lectra system to organise my lay plans (Marker Manager) which will aid in the calculation of fabric efficiency.

This is about bringing something new to what COS currently create. To challenge the 'norm' it needs to be understood that the next 30 years will be fundamentally different in comparison to the 30 years that has just past. Veronica discussed that there could be 4 big things that will alter what already exists and what will help influence fashion and society...
1. Rise of the merging markets
2. Urban population growing at a phenomenal rate - 9 x city of Milan a year 
3. Industrial revolution
4. The pace of technology 

- Do more with less : zero waste pattern cutting, minimal seams, small and effective detailing
- Genderless clothing : menswear and womenswear, can be masculine, can be feminine
- Finding an influence what we may not necessarily pay attention to but is shaping society?