Final Project Evaluation

So it’s deadline day! Three years at uni have been leading up to this day and it’s finally arrived. I took a few hours out of the day to reflect back on the project and look at the journey me and my work has made over the past few months. So here is my evaluation of my final major project.

This project has been growing and developing for about a year, I first had the idea when I was in second year and doing the buddy system. I knew that I wanted to make my collection related to one of my many hobbies and climbing seemed like the best one to go for. As a keen climber myself I had a lot of inside knowledge on the current brands and clothing available. I believe I have found a gap in the market for fun patterned climbing clothing and was really keen on making my collection completely unique and unlike anything that is out there already.

I began the project with in depth market research and customer research to give me an ever better understanding of the market and their requirements. This research led me to choosing the theme of climbing equipment for my collection. I also created a theme board and customer board to sum up my research and refer back to while designing. I then started drawing various pieces of climbing gear, I experimented with a variety of techniques, one of the most successful was cutwork. For this technique I had to simplify my drawing, I liked the black and white contrast it created. I feel that I have been able to really develop and improve my drawing skills throughout this project.

I chose two main techniques for my final collection; screen-printing and digital stitch. I like the hand drawn and hand rendered effect that can be created with screen-printing which contrasts nicely with the precision of the digital stitch machine. I believe the two techniques compliment each other really well. However I hadn’t done screen-printing since first year so I had to go right back to basics and learn it all over again. This has been a big learning curve for me and I have dedicated a lot of time to practicing my technique and gaining as much knowledge as I could. I have found this whole process very rewarding and have discovered a real passion for hand printing. I was already very competent at the digital stitch work however there is always room for improvement and I have learnt lots of new features of the software.

The design development was probably the aspect of the project that I found most challenging. I wanted all of my designs to be produced from drawings to give the collection a hand crafted feel. I therefore scanned in my drawings and used Adobe Photoshop to create designs. I experimented with different ways of repeating my motifs and also varied the scale. With a lot of practice and experimentation I started creating designs I was happy with. I them turned these into screen prints to see how they would look on fabric and in a variety of colours.

I also had to consider what fabric I was going to use; I limited my self to four different types of fabric, two for clothing and two for the accessories. For t-shirts I found a 100% organic cotton jersey and a medium weight cotton for trousers. The accessories required more specialised fabric, I chose a heavyweight coated canvas for a bouldering mat and a coated nylon for rucksacks. I had to do tests on these fabrics to see how they would work with screen prints and digital stitch. The heavyweight canvas was challenging to screen print due to its textured surface however it held the stitching very well.

I have learnt a lot about different fabrics and how this can impact on your design work and printing technique.

When I was choosing my colour pallet I wanted variety and therefore chose a mixture of pastels and brighter colours. This would give me collection variety and therefore appeal to more people. As I chose digital stitching I knew I was limited to the colour of the threads and therefore picked my colours as threads. I could then mix my printing paste to match exactly, this took quite a bit of practice and refinement but I am happy with my final colours.

I really enjoyed making my final croquis, I love the fact that every one is hand made and completely unique. I was still experimenting while printing these and began to print the brighter colours as the background; these have a very bold quality to them and act as a great contrast against the pastels. I did have several problems with screens and several of my deigns were blocked due to a problem when they were exposed. I was able to over come these issues and feel that in some cases it improved my designs. I wanted my screen prints to have texture and movement to them rather than a static design and I feel this has been achieved.

I chose not to have any products for my final degree show as climbing clothing and accessories have very complex construction and attempting to make some would be too time consuming. I therefore focused on my CAD visuals, as I was a perfect example of my target market I wanted my CAD visuals to be pictures of me climbing. I got some pictures of me climbing that could be used for CAD visuals. I used my Photoshop skills to overlay my design onto t-shirts, bouldering mat and chalk bags. These have been very successful and will be shown at my degree show.

I had lots of ideas for my exhibition space however I decided that I wanted to keep it simple and have the main focus on my croquis. I also wanted to make it climbing related, I therefore got several holds that are used in indoor climbing and created my own little route in my exhibition space. I also plan to have my CAD visuals hanging on bits of climbing rope and clipped in with carabiners. I have got a huge amount of satisfaction putting up my space and looking back over the journey me and my work has made. I feel I have grown and developed as a designer throughout this project.

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