Personal Development Plan

Within constellation, I have studied the subjects ‘Things Can Be Otherwise’ within the first term and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ within the second term. They were each worlds apart in terms of content, with ‘Things Can Be Otherwise’ talking about objects and ideas in a philosophical way. Then in ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, I was learning about subcultures within the 21st Century. Both study groups allowed me to learn about subjects I wouldn’t have necessarily research about before, enabling me to find different contents to use within my studies.

Constellation in a broad sense has been enjoyable but it has been a real academic challenge. Prior to university, I did a two year art & design diploma course where I was not required to study any academic readings or complete essays of a word count any more that 1000 – so I haven’t done anything majorly academically challenging since GCSE level. Coming to university and having to read long lengths of readings and discussing topics that I know nothing about, it has been a real struggle and I have had to persevere a lot.

The study group ‘Things Can Be Otherwise’ was a particular challenge. The actual lecture sessions were really interesting and I have enjoyed debating about question’s such as: what is knowledge? Are we cyborgs? Though I enjoyed discussing these topics there were several times within the lectures where I was confused about what was being discussed and I struggled to understand some of the texts we were asked to read prior to the lecture. The readings we were given were written by highly academic and sometimes ancient philosophers, which use words I didn’t even know were in the English language. This is what has left me confused within lecture sessions. Over time, I did find techniques that helped me with these struggles. I made sure to give myself enough time prior to the lecture to read the text – this was a mistake I had made in the earlier study groups where I had tried to read the text the night before but have not understood it and therefore haven’t finished reading it. Another thing I always did within the lectures was write the notes I took by hand so then after the session when it came to blogging about the session, I would have to re-read my notes which would most of the time, solve any confusion I had and help me take in more of what I have learned. Unfortunately, I struggled to find a direct link from this study group to my subject however I did learn that it would be important to think about the wider context when thinking of subject matters for my work.

Going into the second term, I kept in mind that I had struggled with reading academic texts and needed to allow myself time before to make sure I read these properly; as well as giving myself enough time after the lecture to write my notes up onto my blog which would help me make sense of anything I don’t understand. The second study group ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, I found a lot more interesting than the previous study group. Though I enjoyed ‘Things Can Be Otherwise’ it was a lot to take in because of all the scientific topics that were discussed, however, with ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ we learned about different subcultures within the 20th Century. This is a topic I’ve learned about before but only from what my parents have said so it was a really interesting 8 weeks to learn about all the different subcultures and what it meant to be in each subculture. I enjoyed learning about the fashion and the rules each item of clothing meant to each group because it made me look at the clothing of today’s fashion and compare it to who it was worn by previously.

I have particularly found the second term study group useful in regards to my subject Graphic Communication. With ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, there has been a theme of design shown all the way, in particular when we looked at Jamie Reid’s Sex Pistol album cover and learned about how it push boundaries within the time it was created. That is one thing I have learned within this study group – to push the boundaries – to create work that will spark an opinion. I’ve also learned that to break the rules you have to know the rules – for example, to be able to push a material as far as it can go and do something that has not been done before, you should research into that particular material first so you’re not just copying what someone else has done.

Throughout the year, I tried to attend as many keynote sessions as possible. At the end of the first term, I said that as an improvement I should attend more keynote sessions which I definitely did within the second term, however, I did struggle to find all of them useful in regards to my project so they were really difficult to blog about because I couldn’t link all of them to my subject. However, I will continue to attend them as I find that some of the subjects that are spoke about can be good to listen to because it’s something different that I wouldn’t have necessarily looked into myself.

When it came to preparing for my essay during the first term, I did not allow myself a huge amount of time to write the essay.  I chose to write under the title ‘we are cyborgs’ so had to spend a lot of time reading and analysing pieces of text which were using a variety of scientific words I didn’t understand; this meant that I had less time to write the essay so it became quite rushed. However, since receiving a good in my formative feedback, I am surprised that I was able to write a good essay, especially after not writing one in a long time. When it came to writing my summative essay, I gave myself plenty of time to prepare which I was thankful for after changing my essay title. Originally, I had chosen to start from the beginning and write about a topic to do with the hipster culture in today’s society, however after I struggled to find any articles on the topic to help with my ideas, I decided to read back through my previous essay and continue with that. I had several points within the essay and since I’d spent quite a lot of time deconstructing text’s I had chosen to take the quotes from, it was relatively easy for me to pick up where I had started.

Continuing onto second year, I plan to give myself more time prior to each study group to read any texts that are required so that I am in a better position for the lecture. I also will continue to push myself in regards of essay writing to help improve my skill in preparation for the final dissertation.



Deconstructing Form and Material

Japanese Design and challenging Western Fashion ideologies

How materials we use can interact with forms – always looking at form and function in relation to materials. There are ideologies within my discipline and they can be challenged and modified against the norm.

Deconstructing meanings:
– Functionality
– Form in relation to functionality
– Material and its connotation, re-functionality
– Materials and cultural connotations, narratives, themes and motives

  • need to have the confidence to deconstruct my own work like I would be deconstructing another person work.

Understanding contexts:
(positioning in relation to others works, concepts relating to this academic studies -constellation is about the relationship between different aspects of an object from the research you have learned)
– Forms/shapes
Materials and processes
– Textures
– Themes, motifs, narratives
Always provide a context that has inspired you to draw aspects from it OR to dis it (do the opposite) – break the rules; talk about your work and draw on other contexts
ASK WHY? Create a thought process as to why you made each decision


– Weird: odd shape, doesn’t fit with physical form – not the norm to western dress – he broke the rule; fashion and clothing are embedding with the physical form
– fashion’s function is to dress the body
– he made a decision with the material used: designed so there is clear sharp edges – would be lost if it were silk because it would just drop
– the shape creates a meaning because it’s been purposely creating

Context of your discipline: “need to know the traditions of my subject area.”

“Japanese fashion sustains a dialogue with Western ideas of fashion, thereby creating tension. The fundamentally different relationship between the fabric and the body in Japanese fashion brings home European ideals of fashion” (Vinken, 2010, p33)
– How does my work sustain a dialogue?

“the most valuable lesson learnt from Yamamoto is that sartorial and cultural conventions are flexible not absolute” (Kawamura, 2011, p67)
– Have a dialogue with the materials I use; be flexible with the conventions of the norm within Graphic Design; need to know the conventions before breaking them

“the biggest difference between our Japanese taste and European people’s taste is in the concept of perfection…I’m not interested in that kind of perfection – I’m tired of it” “Perfection is ugly” Yamamoto
– works in an where perfection is strived; whenever he is question on his fashion he uses another context to explain it
– challenging the functionality of clothing; genderless clothing – destabilising Western fashion, no sense of form – making sculptural pieces that extend the form of the body
– his dialogue is constantly questioning Western fashion – how is it hanged? does it fall correctly?

What parts of my work at complying to tradition and what parts are challenging? What materials show imperfection? – Yamamoto uses traditions but also goes against them

Aesthetic principles: form, shape, textiles
– certain materials age and mould within time
– the cut? how do you create form and shape?
– understand materials.

Yamamoto’s use of materials: e.g. his evening ball gown
– complies to all norms of an evening gown but uses felts
– breaking the rules of how a female body is supposed to be displayed in evening wear (according to Western norms)

Deconstruction (ideologies of Western fashion)

“Deconstructed garments are often unfinished-looking, with loose, frayed hems and edges, and they sometimes appear to be coming apart, or look as if they were recycled or made from composite parts…” (Mears, 2010, p181, 183)
– he’s showing the imperfections, showing what’s ‘not supposed’ to be shown

  • normal design: hiding all the imperfections, things you’re not supposed to see
  • e.g. CSAD building; deconstructed – academic building: conforming to European norms of buildings

It’s not always about how it looks, the decisions made to create that piece are just as/more important
“the machines that make fabric are more and more making uniform, flawless textures… we loosen a screw of the machines here and there so they can’t do exactly what they’re supposed to do” (Kawakubo, cited in Mears, 2010, p188)

Gender and beauty

  • “through sophisticated tailoring the body is idealised and sublimated. The simplest form of this idealisation is symmetry, which is regarded as the norm of beauty.” (Vinken, 2010, p27″
    • padding of different parts of the body is tradition of Western ideologies – shown if you researched into past of Western history

Kawakubo disregard all the norm rules of padding and symmetry – using it ‘incorrectly’, the female body is no longer seen as erotic; not appealing to the opposite sex

Their designs are question the normal ideologies of form and function creating a dialogue about their fashion statements.

Ideas and visual expression

  • aesthetic form/shapes
  • textiles/material and their components that influence their function
  • rule-braking


Smells Like Teen Spirit: 5/8

Punk Style and Ideology

Jaime Reid: ‘God Save The Queen’ by Sex Pistols



  • British flag, union jack
    • patriarchy; monarchy; establishment
  • Photo of the Queen
    • ‘anti-establishment’; illegal to deface the Queen
    • album cover was banned
  • God Save The Queen
    • over eyes and mouth; ripping around the text
      • like a magazine cut out
    • defacing the Queen; violent act against Her

Style as Bricolage:

Takes existing materials and changes the meaning which is a tend is all subcultures
e.g. safety pin used by the punks

  • ‘Monster’ – working class, ‘blending of dissonant elements’ (Alfred Jarry)

Punk style:

  • directly offensive
  • ‘punk (un)fashion’ ‘a pin, plastic clothes peg, television component, a razor blade, a tampon’
  • safety pins – pierced in ear
  • cheap fabric/ ‘nasty’ colours
  • multiple zips
  • bondage wear
  • bin liners
  • make up worn by boys and girls
  • toilet chain – show disgust/against mainstream perfection/against civil behaviours

Punk: changed attitudes to gender/sexuality/race

  • hair dye: supposed to look unnatural; challenging the values the establishment stood for
  • anything with connotations of the system, they took them and trashed – so anything society didn’t want to address they would make visible
    • e.g. bondage – they took out of context
    • wanted to deliberately shock, wore t-shirts with Swastikas on them – criticising the establishment: QUESTION EVERYTHING
  • music – angry

Style of Homology:

What you wear becomes part of your style.

How can we learn from the Punks that can inform our practice?

Devise a checklist of concepts, approaches, theories that we’ve studied today.
– Bricolage
– Homology
– Punk style
– anti-establishment
– question everything
– visual

What does this case study have in common with previous case studies and checklists we’ve complied so far in this study group? What are we learning about Subcultures?
All subcultures we’ve learned so far are anti-establishment and all break the rules – whether that be with breaking the rules in fashion, like the overuse in fabric with the Zoot suit or in criminal behaviour like how Hip Hop would steal the logos of cars. Each subculture is obviously very individual but they use bricolage with their fashion. Every piece of material they all wear has a meaning; they’re all purposely choosing what material to wear and pushing the boundaries of mainstream fashion. There’s also this idea of ‘re-signification’ (Clarke, Hall, Jefferson) which they all do within their subculture.

Include this checklist in your blog and begin making links to your own practice – what can be applied so far? What would you like to begin developing in your practice that these case studies have started to address?
I really enjoyed learning about all the different Subcultures over the past few weeks. They’re all styles that I’ve seen images off and heard about but I never knew there were so many within so many different decades. I’ve really enjoyed learning about why they were breaking the rules and why they were choosing what they would wear. Especially with the Ted’s, the Zoot suit and Hip Hop; they wanted to redefine themselves in a society that thought nothing of them and I like how they did that through there fashion statements. Fashion gave them a new way of expressing who they were so society would have a different look on them. I find it really interesting how fashion is a huge part of our society. We are judge completely by what we wear and how we look and I think that’s fascinating you can be completely judged before you even open your mouth. What the subcultures in the 60s/70s/80s/etc did was redefine fashion so that people would look at them a certain way. This is something really key that I want to bring into my practice. Though I am a graphic designer and we don’t deal with fashion materials, we do have the power to make someone feel a certain way towards a piece of work. The subcultures really were provoking thought for outsiders about how they felt about them and they did this by challenging values, breaking rules, pushing the boundaries. This is exactly what I need to start doing within my own practice to push my work to create something at the best of my ability and also create something that hasn’t been done before.

  • “to break the rules you must know the rules”
  • talk about things people won’t talk about
    • expose what we consider to be normal
  • bricolage – play about with materials

Smells Like Teen Spirit: 4/8

Fight The Power: subcultures and the challenging hegemonic values

Clothes and style can challenge the system (hegemonic values).

Last week: “resignification” (Clarke, Hall, Jefferson) NEW MEANINGS FROM OLD

  • ‘to inflect given meaning’
  • ‘…to modify’
  • ‘…to intensify or exaggerate’
  • ‘ combine forms’

1940’s Zoot suit

Male suit and it’s traditional connotations: Jean-Paul Gaultier, played on the suit: embedding in traditional values

1) Paraphrase (put into your own words) Alford’s suggestions about the function of the Zoot suit for the wearer at the time

“Zoot, as a verb, means something done or worn in an exaggerated style, but as a noun it is the ultimate in clothes. Mainly young African-Americans and Hispanic Americans wore this…the craze is said to have begun in lower-class neighbourhoods in major cities such as the borough of Harlem in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and Atlanta and the suit was usually worn by boys aged sixteen to twenty
…Living in a society where it is difficult to have a voice, African-American men found self-expression through their own personal style. For African American men, clothing signifies where they are and more importantly where they want to be” (Alford, 2009, p353)
“most of these young men were socially and culturally disadvantaged, trying to let people know who they were through their clothing. For these young men, the suit became an emblem of ethnicity and a way of negotiating an identity
…as more and more youths from the lower class levels started to wear the suit, so did many delinquent youths…had become members of gangs or involved in racketeering…by 1942, the Zoot suit wearers began to become stereotyped with criminal activity. This is why many youngsters who wanted to be „hip‟ had trouble with their parents and the older generation accepting the suit”. (Alford, 2009, p356)

  • Foot: something done or worn in exaggerated style
  • allowed African-American’s to be seen and have a voice
  • Alford (2009), suggest that the Zoot suit was worn by African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans, originating from lower-class neighbourhoods in big cities.
  • African-American men used clothing to show self-expression and to signify who they are. (Alford, 2009)
  • For the disadvantaged young men, the suit was a way of expressing their identity and was a racial statement. (Alford, 2009)
  • The Zoot suit became popular throughout many lower-class men and were worn by member of gangs. Gangs began wearing the Zoot suit to commit crime so it became stereotyped with criminal activity. (Alford, 2009)

The look

“Everything was exaggerated, from the V knot tie, the Zoot chain, the tight collar, the wide, flat hat and the Dutch type shoes. The suit came in various colours, such as lime green or canary yellow…the Zoot suit was but one part of a total look that included not only the suit and accessories but also the way you wore your hair, the walk and the zoot suit argot…the zoot-suitor also had a particular walk or strut. The way you walked and presented yourself enhanced the suit. Then there was the argot, a secret type of vocabulary or slang that was known in the African-American swing community as Jive, a Harlemese speech. Some define it as a language that was embraced by African Americans partly to put the white man off, partly to put him down” (Alford, 2009, p354)

  • Exaggeration of all key elements within the traditional suit (Alford, 2009)
  • came in various colours: suit aren’t usually bright colours, they’re dull because they don’t attract attention – the Zoot suit does
  • the look included not just the Zoot suit but also how you did your hair, the accessories you put with it and a particular strut/way of walking. (Alford, 2009)
  • they used a different vocabulary ; type of slang went with this scene to exclude others who didn’t understand.
    • clothes signified a scene but its other attributes that create a scene
    • “a language embraced…to put the white man off” (Alford, 2009, p354)

Resignification: entirely the same suit but completely exaggerated all items within the clothing; unnecessary amount of fabric – mockery of the original suit

Soot suit critiqued the Second World War:

“an underlying agenda of the Zoot suit was to critique the Second World War, and to question America‟s moral stance in its defence of other races from inhuman crimes, when it was guilty itself of such occurrences in its own country, such as lynching and the Jim Crow system against non-whites. To wear such an expanse of fabric as the knee-length, wide-shouldered jacket and voluminous trousers, was to flout the rationing regulations. In the eyes of the „right-thinking‟ Americans, this caused one to question the patriotism of its wearer. From March 1942 the Zoot suit was effectively

an illegal ensemble, following a dictate from the War Production board that „rationed cloth to a 26 percent cut-back in the use of fabrics…as Cosgrove put it “the regulations effectively forbade the manufacture of Zoot suits” (Cosgrove, 1989 cited in Tulloch, 2006, p304)
“the Zoot suit was vehemently un-American, solely entrenched in African American or Mexican culture, therefore non-white…it was about the attainment of power and control of the self by the wearer. Here was Black Power some twenty-odd years before the official counter-discourse of the movement of the same name, tailored into a specific style of suit, an attitude in opposition to White Power, constructed in the authoritarian and patriotic garments of the military uniform of the streamlined, rationed suit. One could say that here, in the fabric and cut of the three suits – the Zoot suit, the „streamlined suit by Uncle Sam‟ and the military suit of the soldier – the social tension that has marred the texture of American society was played out in the public arena of the actual streets of America” (Tulloch, 2006, p304)

  • to wear a lot of fabric was to disregard the rationing regulations
  • made ‘right’ Americans “question the patriotism of the wearer” (Cosgrove, 1989 cited in Tulloch, 2006, p304)
  • 1942: Zoot suit illegal: ‘un-American’ – began in African-American or Mexico culture
  • In the war: soldiers wore suits: rationed principles
    • racial tension: Zoot suit responds to White Power; clothing can make identity statements to ethnicity

– meanings can occur in all aspects of art and design in terms of the time it was made: I have a 21st Century way of looking at things and meaning/values I hold are embedded in my work

Case study: The Teds: (Jefferson, 1976, Cultural Response of the Teds)
– Subcultural British style in the 50’s

What is the style? How does it relate to the Zoot suit?

  • originated from Edwardians suit
  • the Edwardian suit was modified by The Teds

All similar to why the lower-class youth in 1940s America made the Zoot suit

  • style hair; different cut to the jacket
  • taken up by working class youths
  • bright colours
  • blue suede shoes
  • ‘buy status’
  • aristocracy wear adopted by working class men in the 1950s in the East End
    • statement about class systems, didn’t want to conform
    • criminal behaviour with the Ted suit gave different name to aristocracy look
  • late 50’s saw the development of Ted look: Americana influence

Subcultures have revivals: Ted look came back in the 70’s

“To contract a dominant ideology’ (Tulloch, 2006:304)
The system/establishment: oppose it
– Teds ‘dominant ideology’ would have been British class systems
– Zoot suit: White Power

Always question: challenge the system; don’t conform

Consider and link the recurring trends with the cultures we have studied from the first 4 weeks.

Throughout the last few weeks, we have discussed 3 different Subculture styles: Goths; Hip Hop; Zoot suit and the Teds. Each Subculture each have anti-establishment values. Even though they are completely different they all share certain elements that define them as a Subculture style. The use of jewellery within the styles is really important, for example the use of the VW car logo worn as a necklace by the Hip Hop Subculture to define criminal activity and then the crucifix worn by the Goth’s to show death and a morbid look. All the styles using different materials and blend them together to create their style; their style’s are ‘re-signification’ (Clark; Hall; Jefferson) of clothing.

Smells Like Teen Spirit: 3/8

Remake Remodel: Subculture Style and Identity

In this lecture, we discussed the concepts of subculture style and different theories Clark, Jefferson and Hall had on what made subculture styles. We discussed what a subculture was and what decision they made to identify themselves as being apart of one group.

Clarke, S; Hall, S; Jefferson, T; Roberts, B (1975) Subcultures, Cultures and Class
“Subcultures must exhibit a distinctive enough shape and structure to make them identifiably different from their ‘parent’ culture. They must be focussed around certain activities, values, certain uses of material artefacts, territorial spaces etc which significantly differentiate them from the wider culture” (p100)

‘distinctive enough shape and structure’: visible differences between subculture and non subculture styles – set of recurring rules
‘parent’: establishment; mainstream – as soon as you can buy a look it’s become the parent culture
‘certain uses of material artefacts’ / ‘territorial spaces’: using a brand as part of their culture: e.g. skate culture – vans / skateboard (customising) / skate park and Graffiti (territorial spaces) / baggy clothing – post 90s, subculture scene, 80’s hip hop legacy

Subcultures: set trends

“Various youth subcultures have been identified by their possessions and objects” (Clarke; Hall; Jefferson; Roberts (1975): jewellery / clothing, shows who’s in what subculture: “recurring rituals” – like with the Goths and how they wear the crucifix and dark clothing

“What makes a style is the activity of stylisation – the active organisation of objects with activities and outlooks, which produce an organised group-identity in the form of a coherent and distinctive way of ‘being in the world’” (p108) – objects are used to identify themselves; a function of an object can be changed to stylise a look; activity of stylisations: customisations – differentiate between others

There are clearly identifiable visuals that make them different to other subcultures.

Construction: means actively putting things together.
“This frequently involved …subverting and transforming these things from their given meaning and use, to other meanings and uses” (p109) – my practice: changing the meaning of materials, e.g. the way punks changed the meaning of the safety pin

“Re-signification of objects and dress” (Clarke; Hall; Jefferson, 1975)

The concept:

  • recycling: “inflect ‘given’ meanings”
    • taking existing meanings and changing them
    • modify it: take brands and change them
    • e.g. Burberry: originally created for upper class, footballer’s wives were wearing them – Chav’s then started buying the clothing: even if brands are associated with a certain group they can get claimed and associated with something else
  • exaggerate meaning of an object: change it
  • “Re-signification” will create a “secret language or code” that only members of the groups will know what it means: rules of whats cool, e.g. laces tied up a certain way
    • new meanings can occur from mixing things together, e.g. the stylistic ensemble for the Goths
    • “mash-up” – borrow bits from somewhere else and mix it with your own style: CAN DO THIS IN MY PRACTICE

Hip Hop Style:
Theory (3rd) column of column’s analysis.

Task: to paraphrase all the following quotes.

Quote 1:

“the capitalist boom of the 1980’s brought with it a focus on materialism and conspicuous consumption that was right at home with hip-hop’s penchant for self-aggrandisement. Competition was integral to earning respect in the culture – competing for wall space as a graffiti-tagger, battling for time on the mic as an emcee and even one- upmanship in constructing a personal identity through one’s clothes
… As a source of aspiration and a means of flaunting one’s belongings, branded goods shared a natural affinity with hip-hop music” (Whitley, 2011: 187)

  • They are focused on materialism and wearing your money.
  • People wore hip hop pendant to look more powerful.
  • Showing off their possessions.
  • Gained popularity through consumerism.
  • Competition to have the most money.
  • Graffiti was the art of tagging yourself and it was a competition to put your signature in busy areas and to not get caught.NOTE ON PLAGIARISM: avoid at all costs by Harvard referencing.
    – Reference a quote: quotation; author; year of the study; page number, e.g: upmanship in constructing a personal identity” (Whitley, 2011: 187)
    – Referencing when paraphrasing: e.g. according to Whitley (2011), hip hop street culture were characterised by wearing your money… OR [sentence] (Whitley, 2011)
    – Essays: mix of direct quotes and paraphrasing

Quote 3:

“The creative appropriation of styles further extended to unintended sartorial branding opportunities…hip-hop style was generated by people striving to be different, often with limited means but still wishing to be acknowledged for their flair with the vogue for wearing gold chains and flashy jewellery, young people began co-opting status symbols into accessories of their own devising. Chief among these was the practice of wearing the ornament off a Mercedes Benz, Cadillac or even Volkswagen as a medallion…brandishing a trophy that speaks to one’s boldness and fearlessness, the ornaments were vaunted hints at toughness and irreverence…though one might never be able to afford the expensive car itself, it was possible to establish a personal association with the brand” (Whitley, 2011: 188)

  • According to Whitley (2011), they would customise ornaments associated with expensive cars. Though they may not be able to afford the car itself, wearing it as a trophy around their neck would symbolised power and wealth associated with that brand. As well as that, Whitley also suggests that wearing a car symbol around your neck would symbolise you’re a criminal because you have stolen it of someones car, but because they were wearing it then it would show that they got away with it. This would advertise criminal behaviour as though is were brave.
  • Customising of brands would be used to show that they were different but still wanted to be acknowledged for their wealth (Whitley, 2011). The idea of stealing a symbol that is associated with wealth is an anti-establishment statement because hip-hop are stealing from cars that are conforming to ‘parent’ culture and saying up-yours to establishment; this confirms “re-signification of objects and dress” (Clarke; Jefferson; Hall, 1975)


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  • Gold chains: exaggeration; too much – VISIBLE
    • “conspicuous consumption” (Whitly, 2011)
  • Sports wear: tracksuits and jackets for sportsman; worn with gold, heavy jewellery – sportswear function to run in it, not worn with head jewellery
    • changes function: juxtaposition of clothing
    • claimed Adidas: always wore the trainers, no laces, changed the function of Adidas sportswear
  • Trilby: originally part of upper class British wear – would not be worn with heavy gold jewellery or sports wear; wore geeky glasses over the trilby – changing the meaning of the material

What can we learn from the 80’s hip hop street scene that can inform our practice?

  • juxtaposition of materials
  • create new meanings to a material that already has a purpose
  • subcultures set the styles then mainstream copy
  • make a statement in my work
  • push boundaries, don’t do what has already been done
  • learned paraphrasing and referencing

Keynotes 09/02

“No sex please, I’m Sherlock”: applying academic theory and writing to your idea.

This lecture was basically about her ideas around masculinity and sex and how she began to write an article about it.

  • where do academic ideas come from?
  • illuminate process
  • applying theory and academic writing to an idea
  • explaining what an idea is
  • sex in TV

Masculinity and Sex
Sherlock and Dr. Watson (BBC version)

  • their first meeting Dr Watson is asking sexuality – normal conversion; do you have a partner?

Lecturers argument: No sex please, I’m Sherlock

  • sex is important about masculinity
  • Asceticism is in the past – mainly in religion now, e.g. nuns, monks
  • contemporary asceticism – for example with the body, giving up food for lent
  • Masculinity: might not be predicted upon sexual powers – could emerge in different ways
  • Is Sherlock lacking masculinity because of no sex?

Masculinity: in what way are men usually portrayed in TV?

Researched Sherlock Holmes and sex

Masculinity on TV – Interpretations of Sherlock Holmes – other ways he’s portrayed – TV detectives: look? act? – what elements make Sherlock different? – He is disinterested in sex

Lecturers idea: Asceticism is a viable form of masculine identity – she couldn’t find anything written on it so wrote about it herself…

Masculinity on TV (detectives)

  • Men portrayed in fixed manner – heterosexual
  • Heterosexual males: married (implies sex), employed (power), sometimes violent (reinforces masculinity)

What do they look like on TV?

Sex and masculinity on TV

  • Sex considered to be an important facet of masculinity (Connell, 1992)
  • TV audiences equate sex with masculinity
  • dynamic and graphic sex on TV amplify masculinity
    • e.g. Game of Thrones, Spartacus
  • IDEA: lack of sex in hemlock and indeterminate sexuality
    • does this make his ‘less masculine?’

Ways Sherlock demonstrates masculinity

  • homosocial partnership with Watson – NEVER SEXUAL
  • performance of hyper-intellect
  • narcissism and drug-use
  • ascetic and ambiguous
  • clothing – pjs on TV, suits, dull and drab colours
    • not drawing attention to him body but slim and masculine frame: sexual
    • suits are a contradictory item of clothing (Galilee, 2002)
      • make body to uniform: part of a crowd


  • common
  • contributes to identity
  • understand asceticism as a valid form of sexual identity
  • sexual asceticism is viable sexual identity for men
    • not undermined as displayed in other male attributes

Applying academic theory and writing to your idea

  • read around areas of interest
  • unlikely to find books and papers which directly match to what you want to talk about
  • YOUR JOB: make links between academic reading and your idea with your own writing
  • otherwise you’re replicating what someone else says

Smells Like Teen Spirit: 2/8

Subculture style: Goths

How themes and motifs are expressed visually – identifying a visual language

  • Research into the past – taking inspiration
    • don’t copy, reference
    • recognisable that it belongs in the past; but change it – add your own meaning
    • e.g. Jean-Paul Gaultier – change meaning of corset
  • select from the past and recycle

Street style:

  • have to recreate it
  • no shops to buy the clothes
  • no inspiration [in catalogues/catwalks/…]
  • taken clothes from anywhere and put together

Goths: sourced from Victorian clothes

  • which features have they used? what bits belong in the past?

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Victorian Mourning Dress

  • skin covered; wearing gloves
  • dress would be black with purple
  • presence of crucifix: jewellery
  • hats: features; lace
    • Goths recreated all these things – prove by researching Victorian mourning dress


  • makeup: does’t belong with victorian dress
  • foundations: contemporary foundation supposed to be match skin colour/look younger/healthy look/etc..
    • breaking rule of foundation: white face, look like a corpse, colour drained out of face; create the ‘undead’ look – like Dracula
  • black lipstick: breaking rules of mainstream makeup industry; doesn’t belong on lips – death, unhealthy look
  • not faithful to original victorian wear with makeup

My work: drawn on past for inspiration and recreate it: to change the rules you must know the rules

Death and decay:

  • clothes torn and ripped
    • like the body is decomposing
    • no hems, unravelling of clothes
      • breaking rule of how clothes should be
    • visible sticking; idea of falling apart
      • Frankenstein: stitched together

Suzy-sue: punk

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 11.54.47.png

  • white makeup: gothic style
    • plus: black eyeliner, blusher, lipstick: reinforced undead look
  • spikes studs: bondage wear; weapon jewellery
  • fishnet, fetish wear
  • NOT drawing on victorian wear but considered goth look

Columns analysis on Gothic wear:


What have we learned from the goths that can inform our practice?

  • goths have used the victorian mourning dress as inspiration for their clothing then added contemporary twists to reinforce the death and decay look
  • draw from the past and reinterpret materials
  • how designers have a technique; take that technique and add own twists
  • use a lot of styles in one piece of work
    • hybrid of materials
    • reference style from all periods – style is anything visual
  • modifications of creative references from the past
  • know history on your discipline and beyond
    • become aware of each part of the past you’re selecting
  • symbolism – e.g. symbolising death and decay in different motifs
  • form/function/texture: all have meanings
  • visual language

Further notes: