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Posts Tagged ‘uniforms’

Hay guise! I started a tumblr, to chronicle my design research. Right now I am working on two projects (or possibly two aspects of one), both of which I elaborated on last post. I’m going to keep adding as the discourse becomes more complex and as I gather more information. : )

Enjoy, all!

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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.

This is the NYC flagship store. The front is covered in street art (with new additions often) and is famously hard to find. You only realize something is here/different if you know what to look for...

...which in a way sums up CDG's entire design philosophy. This is the tunnel door. :)

"Black" is CDG's lower-priced "basics" line. Only the clothes are not so basic. Dropped-crotch pants, boiled and object-dyed garments, and classic CDG details abound.

Originally, the standalone "Black" stores were only supposed to be open for a year, but the concept worked so well they added "Edited" to the name and kept them open.

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.

CDG Editorial for SS1997 "Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body" (aka "Lumps and Bumps")

AW 1983-84 Runway pic - French-braided sweater

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. : )

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