This Week’s Festivities!!!

Sleepy Hollow Imagery For Sleepy Hollow Collection

Good Morning All!

Well, I’m half way through my first full week working with the most FaBuLoUs Shenlei and I have compiled a whole bunch of things to work on for the next couple months.  I’ll keep you updated little by little with each upcoming project. I hope you enjoy the trip 🙂

After being completely hooked on my new found addiction to crochet, Shenlei had to pull me away from mid-completion of my monokini project (pictures soon but only of completed garment!)  I first got back to work on my vintage handbag collection.

Morning Glory Painting!

Still working on the Miser Bag, I got started painting a beautiful scene of Jessamine, Sorrel, Forget-Me-Nots, and Morning Glories.  We worked over and over on construction paper, and I was having difficulty on the shading part of the Morning Glory.  (I think I was still coping with having to put down my crochet shaky hands lol)  I finally got the hang of it and proceeded to the actual fabric of the bag dun dun dun.  Shenlei was happy to see that the Morning Glory looked like…well…a Morning Glory 🙂  I have included some pictures for you to see.  I have one more flower to work on and then the painting part will be complete.  All that’s left to do is then construct it and then BAM!…1 down and 15 more to go 🙂

My Tree Design in Fashionable Grid

The next thing we began to work on was a content catalog project for the FRI’s inventory in the virtual world.  This was done through OpenSim and more importantly on FRI’s private grid called the Fashionable Grid.  Here, Shenlei showed me a bunch of beautiful sculptured trees she had created and it was my job to replicate these in all the different kinds of trees out there. She first gave me  a basic sculpty (sculpture of trees) for a single tree, a very large tree, and a patch of trees.

She then gave me different kinds of what are called textures that create the different kinds of the trees.  It was my job to take these textures and apply them to the sculptys to create many different species of trees.  For example, I started with the large tree.  She then gave me a group of textures labeled “pine trees”. Inside contained 12 different pine tree textures that were all different colors of the pine trees that occur throughout the season.  I then replicated the sculpty 12 times and to each, applied one texture. When I was through, I had a whole forest of all the different kinds of pine trees there are. THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL!!! I have included a picture of the Autumn Trees I also did.  These will be used as inventory for future work.  I still have  a bunch more trees to go but will keep you updated.

More Handbag Painting!!!!

The next day, Shenlei had given me what she calls “time practice sketches”. I was to do 50 ‘pencil roughs’, which are really fast sketches, in under 2 hours of different suit designs for our upcoming Dawning collection which is corporate women’s wear.  These are very rough sketches with only basic sketches and designs. From there we then sat down to examine which designs had  most potential and which were best to represent our company.  Shenlei picked out 12 of her liking and now it is my turn to go back and do three more versions of each garment she picked.  This process allows me to slowly evolve our collection using fine details because this is a couture line.

I saved the best for last!!! My newest and favorite project right now is the development of my Sleepy Hollow collection. I sat in with Shenlei and the rest of the interns in SecondLife on Tuesday for our weekly meeting and we all had a chance to come up with and develop some inspiration for a new virtual fashion collection.  Missy already got a head start and came up with a beautiful concept board for a virtual swimwear collection called “The White Queen.” She had the most beautiful imagery and some of her first attempt garments were just absolutely stunning.

Pencil Roughs

I decided I wanted to do another virtual collection mirrored in real life again like I did for my Senior Collection at Buffalo State College.  I have entitled my collection “Sleepy Hollow Shadows.”  It is going to be a mix of Victorian bridal wear and modern day silhouettes.  What’s really exciting is that in my real life collection,  I am going to be playing with a fabric called Tyvek. YES! this is the stuff you use to line houses with and other crazy things like hazmat suits for chemical work.  BUT, we found that when washed, it drapes very nicely and is going to give an absolutely killer look for the imagery.  Right now we’re trying to do some sourcing for it (although we can find it at Home Depot, we’re hoping to not pay retail :).  A friend of mine’s father works at DuPont and said he would be willing to lend me a couple of different sourcing options that may be willing to donate material for our project.

So first what I am doing is creating a concept board for my collection.  I am taking a lot of imagery from all the shots I took at the actual Sleepy Hollow Cemetary and then a couple clothing images from the Tim Burton film of Sleepy Hollow and combining them for my inspiration.  I will incorporate all my elements and motifs I wish to use and really show them off in my board.  After, I will draw out colors for a color board. I am thinking a gradient scale from black to white as well a rust color.  Tyvek unfortunately cannot be dyed, so I must work with its white base BUT!!!! we can SPRAY PAINT!!!! 🙂  very exciting.  I also have this killer idea for the dresses but that will have to wait for now because it needs a lottt of preparation work.  Stay tuned for that!!!

I will then develop a material board which contains the fabrics and notions I wish to use for the collection.  Remember that all the garments I make it real life will also be replicated in virtual life, down to the very last broach.  After my concept board is complete, it is then time to start sketching my first 12 garments in rough sketches.  Shenlei said we are going to take a couple more field trips for this collection to different antique shops and flea markets to find more inspiration and possible fabrics and notions. That I am really excited about.

I will have more pictures for you later and keep you updated on all that is going on here in my little palace 🙂  I am off to paint and possibly pick up some more yarn that I ran out of. GOING THROUGH CRAZY CROCHET WITHDRAWAL RIGHT NOWWWWWW….so I’ll have a finished pic of my fabulous monokini design shortly for you.  Thanks so much for keeping in touch!  Loving the comments about loving my blog.  Thank you all!

Hugs and Kisses!

Britt*

Beginning the Journey Back in Time

Good Afternoon Faire Ladies and Gents,

I come to you today with much to tell!  We have officially begun to construct our vintage handbags.  I have chosen to start with a basic linen bag with an overflap for closure.   The bag itself is dated back to the 1880’s and is called a Miser’s Purse. A Miser is a person who saves their pennies for rainy days and the sunny days, too!  The flap is a hand-painted closure that is framed by real antique lace.  Although we do not know how old the lace is, Shenlei has been collecting antique lace for quite some time now and she says it’s probably Edwardian.

We first needed to wash the lace. Being that it is antique, we had to do this very carefully as you can see in the pictures.  We had bought Ivory® soap and then grated it with a cheese grinder and added just a little bit of water to create a paste.  We then filled a bowl with warm water and let the lace soak in it for about 10 minutes. Then, a little bit of soap paste was added to the water and the lace was soaked in that for another ten minutes. It was then rinsed and the process was repeated about 3 more times.  After, we let it out to air dry until just a little damp. We then ironed it lightly further press it out and block it to shape.  The lace came out much more beautiful and whiter than before!

We then started with the cutting out and then spent a while on transferring the initial design over to the flap closure.  We do this with what is known as transfer paper to the sewing world.  It is  a slightly tacky paper with colored chalk or wax on one side that is laid color side down to the fabric.  You then lay the design (pencil side up) over the backside of the transfer paper and use what is called a tracing wheel (similar to a miniature pizza cutting wheel) to go over the design with pressure. The design is then transferred over to the linen with a dust-like tacky substance.  This can easily be washed out or brushed away as desired and will not harm the fabric.

After the design was placed, it was then time to hand paint!  I had printed out a couple pictures for color and shading references for the flowered design we chose.  I then had gathered our paints and practiced outside for the natural light on sketching paper (thick enough to act as both a canvas and a palette).  I have included some pictures for you to see!  Shenlei is going to work with me later on better shading technique before we continue to the actual linen. 

I’ll have more to catch you up on later after our session.  Enjoy the pics thus far! 🙂

Hugs and Kisses,

Britt*





Greetings Fashionistas!

Welcome to the official Fashion Research Institute Apprentice blog page!

A vintage handbag collection is the 1st of many new projects I am taking on as the newest apprentice of the Fashion Research Institute.  I am very excited to be working closely with Shenlei Winkler, CEO of the Fashion Research Institute on this collection for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, this collection is being put together along side the publication of a book being written about vintage handbags throughout the ages, expected to be out as early as December 2010.  The book contains 16 handbags, each paired with a historically based story.  The handbags date back from late Victorian to the early Jazz age.  Included in the book will be a short history of the bag, “how-to” guides, materials lists, and much more for the reader to follow!

What is keeping me so interested in this project is I will be creating the prototypes for each bag you will see in the publication.  Not only will I be learning first hand many different couture techniques, we will also be creating a mass market version of the couture bags, as well as virtual goods to be found in Second Life, combining all three different layers to complete the collection.

Yesterday, Shenlei and I sat down to go through the 1st drafts of the publication. This included patterns, illustrations, and a short story to go along with each bag.  After she was finished, it was my turn to interview her on the different couture techniques being used on each handbag and to get a better feel for what is about to go into this collection.  We also did some sourcing through old scrap ruminants of fabric as well as some sourcing at the local Jo Ann Fabrics and Michaels Craft Stores.  Today, we decided on the three patterns that I will be working on simultaneously.  I was able to cut out both lining and fashion fabric for each of these three.  Tonight we will be doing some more sourcing for embroidery ribbons and paints to start the construction this week.  Saturday is a possible trip into the city (NYC) to find any remaining sourcing we have yet to do.

I would love for you to follow my journey through this collection as I will keep you updated daily with pictures and much more!  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Hugs and Kisses!

Britt*

Lights, Camera, Action! Runway 3.0 Models Take the Catwalk Take 2

We worked with Brittany Chonka, one of our student interns, over the last two semesters  helping her develop her physical and her virtual collections.  All of this effort culminated at Runway 3.0, with hercollection shown on both the physical catwalk with her avatar models walking the big screen behind her live models.

After Missy’s demi-collection, which was shown earlier in the event, Britt’s collection closed the group of senior collections with her collection of six pieces.  Britt used an array of materials, including lace, leather, taffeta, suede, fur, and fiberoptics.  Inspired by the steampunk and neo-Victorian trends, Brittany’s work incorporated special buckles as her closeures and had a decidedly theatrical feel.

Britt’s work is shown here, both on the physical Runway 3.0 catwalk and on the Virtual Runway™ catwalk.

Lights, Camera, Action! Runway 3.0 Models Take the Catwalk

After the swirl of the backstage, it was almost a relief to find our seats and watch the show.  FRI student intern Heather Sloma (she did some great work with us this semester which we’ll show very soon) joined us after pitching in to get Missy’s models properly bedazzled.

Missy’s demi-collection of three pieces was shown early in the show, with Britt’s senior collection closing the senior group.  We’ll start with Missy’s models, with her Virtual Runway avatar models shown on the large screen behind her live models.

Backstage Action at Runway 3.0 and Virtual Runway™

Not all the action takes place on the catwalk at a runway show.  In fact, all the preparation goes on backstage whether for a physical runway show or a Virtual Runway™ event.

We arrived in Buffalo at the Peirce-Arrow Building shortly before the first show, at 4 pm, so we missed the initial madness of hair and makeup.  We did, however, get pressed into service before the 9 pm show, where the models had to be fully prepared for the catwalk.  We had one of our other interns, Heather, join us to help backstage in getting our other two interns, Britt and Missy, ready to go.  Big thanks to Heather for jumping right in to help! Later she joined us front row for the show itself.

Both Britt and Missy opted for additional body makeup for their models, so that meant a little extra work in applying gold foil and rhinestones.  Eyelash glue is a godsend! Britt applied crushed gold foil selectively to the faces and bodies of her models, and Missy opted for rhinestones applied on the faces and in lieu of necklaces. Here we see one of the models with her necklace half-applied:

Each of Missy’s three models had a different design on both face and for the necklace.  Stunning!

Britt’s models have gold foil application well under control:

Here we see some of Britt’s models in the foreground, with Missy’s models up on the risers.

In stark contrast to physical runway show, preparing for the Virtual Runway™ presentation was a snap.  For one thing, avatar models do exactly what you tell them to, and the clothing always fits!  Plus, adding additional makeup options is very easy; we created custom makeup and skin tones for all nine of the interns’ models in less time than it took for one real life model to be made up…and we didn’t have to do retouches.

Once the models were dressed and their hair, makeup and shoes chosen, they lined up and just….waited…for their cue to strut the catwalk.  This is of course, very different from the swirl backstage at the students’ physical show. One might almost say it was serene.

Dressed and ready to go in our private OpenSim-based Fashionable Grid™: They await a simple command to strut their stuff on the catwalk .  Once we had the avatar models queued up and dressed, then we brought the students in to watch before we shot video for the screen at Runway 3.0.  The avatar models allowed the students to see their work before their physical runway show.  It was a great experience with them, since runway is usually a very expensive and gruelling experience. In comparison, Virtual Runway™ was a breeze with our students selecting from more than 800 billion customization options for their models.  they got exactly what they wanted on the runway, when they wanted it.  Tomorrow: Virtual Runway™ videos of the student interns’ work.

We are currently accepting applications for our Summer internship program. We have space for 5 more students. To apply, please send email to admin at fashionresearchinstitute.com by June 1, 2010 for Summer 2010 semester.