I had quite a summer – I made quite a few excellent things, which I’ll be posting one-by-one as I get satisfactory pictures. I’m back at school, which means it’s time to spend hours of free time in library and walk for miles in Meatpacking, SoHo, and East Village. :) I’ve been assigned a major project: I am to choose a design company with at least two selling points in the city – each selling at different market levels, pick one of those markets, and design/illustrate a hypothetical line for it. I’ve chosen the Japan-based Comme Des Garcons brand, because it will be a fun challenge and it meets all the requirements.
I visited the two stand-alone shops CDG has in New York – the shop staff is famously friendly. I’ve been to each place a couple of times before and have never bought anything, but they always answer my questions and love to chat about design. This time, with a specific goal in hand, they even recommended books and gave me a mini-tour of the lines, explaining target customers, design sense, etc.
Right now, my favorite aspects of CDG design are deliberate “problems” (jackets washed or bleached after construction, seams and entire garment sections turned inside-out or swapped, etc.), innovative use of both new and old garment (and sometimes industrial) technologies, and a unique sense of beauty in the “ugly” or deformed.
I notice that the shop staff are pretty sensitive to the types of descriptors I used for the clothes. They preferred “different” to “unusual” or “strange”. There are those of us who cherish the unusual — but they’ve got clothes to sell. : )
So far, I have a few ideas for my design project, involving dip-boiled suits, displaced shoulder pads (which CDG has done before), and a developing concept about the nature of uniforms. Uniforms simultaneously induce conformity, but also set a group apart. This reminds me of street fashion and “style tribes”, with organically-produced “rules” and recognizable details that are often appropriated by the mainstream. Right now I’m studying the Cintas website and this excellent online collection of airline steward uniforms for common patterns and rules. I’ll write more about this later. : )