Harajuku fashion is a prime example of postmodern fashion. Such a vividly colourful mashup of colours, styles and accessories, it is bricolage pushed to the extreme.
Everything in Harajuku or decora style is based around exaggeration- for example the amount of hairclips used in this style makes their intended function completely redundant, and the sheer number of accessories worn can be overwhelming. Also, the size of the eyes are usually emphasised, using false lashes and makeup to make them appear bigger and more doll-like.
These girls (and some boys) use their shocking fashion style as a mask to hide behind- due to the conformist nature of Japan’s people, it is liberating for them to dress so wildly yet have no one no for sure who they are.
Today I spent almost five hours working on a cardboard test piece, to scope out some of the possibilities. The squares are 3x3cm and don’t give very much. If I were to do a bracelet then I would need to figure out a way of having it so there is a fastening. Maybe a magnet, though it would need to be a very strong one, yet small enough not to be uncomfortable at the same time.
My other option is to have two layers- one fabric on underneath, and stitch the edge pieces along the opening with a zip sewn into the fabric. Apart from the edge which is sewn to the fabric, the rest of the chain mail (for lack of a better word to call it) is free to move around. I would also like to find a way to incorporate LEDs into the design, most likely in a certain area, like around the collar or the hem/waistline for a better effect.
As I became more interested in repeating and tessellated patterns, I looked into Jane Bowler, as her designs are very geometric. This one in particular intrigues me, as has both flexibility and rigidity. It makes me wonder how many times she had to test out different shapes to get it to lay right on the body. I’d like to do something similar, but I would need to figure out whether triangles are the best shape for this, or if squares or other geometric shapes work well too.
Formerly, academic studies on subcultures made a lot of assumptions: that those participating were working class, mostly male, and that they all had vehement political ideologies. These kinds of statements do not really fit so well in postmodern society, where fluidity of style is more prevalent.
Since most subcultural fashion items can be bought these day, it is hard to distinguish between those who are authentically part of a subculture and those who wear it simply because the fancied wearing Goth fashion, or Punk fashion. It’s a ‘supermarket of style’ according to Polhemus, meaning that these days people can pick up any part of any subcultural fashion and mix and match them to create something new.
Using the vacuum former, I heated the acrylic and twisted it to for curved shapes. Some strips were more successful than others, as a few of them broke, and others just didn’t come out quite right.
I like how the scales one turned out, as its twisted in a single helix shape, which is what I originally wanted for my necklace shapes. The circle pattern one was the best shape for the bracelet, although if I wish to continue with these I will likely have to make a former.
Furthermore, If i want the shapes to be domed, then I will have to make the strips wider, and use a wooden former to achieve the form I want, and use thicker gloves because I didn’t have much time to shape them before I got burned.
Some cardboard tester cuts for the bracelet idea. I like the more simple repeating patterns the most, like the scales and the squares. The hexagons are too irregular, so if I were to use those, then it would have to be after rearranging them into a more pleasing pattern.
One issue I can see arising form this is how the proportion of empty space in the designs will make the pattern difficult to illuminate. I encountered a similar problem in my Beautiful/Useable project, wherein I had too many holes which let out too much light and didn’t project the image in the way I wanted it to. With these, I’m worried that if I put LEDs behind the square one for example, you will be unable to see the squares lit up, only the LEDs themselves.
The first image, scanned from my sketchbook, is a selection of ideas I’d like to pursue. The second page is a variety of pattern ideas, which I will redraw on illustrator, laser cut in acrylic and then heat mould. I’m interested to see how the twisting and shaping of the material distorts the shape of the images I cut into it, and whether it would be plausible to fit some kind of light behind it, so it illuminates the skin.
I will need to look into the kind of lights that would work for something this small, and how I could power it. Perhaps I could make the chain a wire, and have it switch on when the clasp is done up. The biggest issue i think i will face is where to put the battery itself, as they aren’t that small and the jewellery I intend to make is unlikely to fit it inside the pendant. Alternatively I could have the battery hidden on the back of the necklace.
Another route I could take is fibre optic cables: rather than having it on a chain around the neck, it could be more like a collar, more solid, and be a tube with fibre optic cables running through it, that are visible through the designs that are cut into the material.
I would also like to look into resin in silica moulds as a possibility- whether trapping LEDs inside would ruin them or disallow them from working properly. For this, I would like to take a similar route to the acrylic pieces, and have foil or thin plastic with designs cut out of them to let light shine through.