Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Trini Connection

Until now, I've only shown how to decorate or "style" the doll without creating patterns or making "real" clothes. If you are reading this blog chronologically, you have arrived at the point where I found myself before making the commitment to actually making clothing for the dolls.

My turning point arrived when I received three gifts from my former students of the Caribbean Academy of Fashion & Design (CAFD) at the University of Trinidad & Tobago.The Caribbean is one of the last regions to come forth onto the world stage of fashion and this school (where I helped develop the program) will help hone the skills of the area's future stars. Judging from the work of my own students I can honestly say, there is an enormous amount of undiscovered talent. Before leaving the university, the students presented me a plethora of handmade gifts, all of which represented. some aspect of their studies. I can only show the three gifts that pertain to this blog.

Designer Critic Project 2010. Garments: Linda Joseph
Pictured above: an exercise that began in the classroom known as the Designer Critic Project. A professional designer sets a theme and oversees the 3 part project through the final garment. Here, the designer's fabrics were designed and hand painted. The dress and accessories were completely realized by the student. In the background you see models clothed in the final garments. In the foreground is the replica made for the 11 1/2" doll. It is remarkably made and fully lined!

Fashion Icon Competition 2010. Dress: Patricia Lewis
 The "Fashion Icon" project was an exercise used to teach students to turn towards the masters for inspiration. In the photo at the left, students were put into teams and given fashion icons to research. They were told to design a collection inspired by the icon (in this case, Christobal Balenciaga) but employing a distinct Caribbean flavor. The fabric is hand dyed muslin.
MasterCard 2010 Competition. Dresses: Charmaine Charles
And finally, there was the MasterCard Competition 2010. Competitors were taken through a myriad of creative exercises. One of the "tasks" involved students using non fashion objects to create a garment. In both the original and the doll versions, the designer used dyed wooden clothes pins, shells and jute macrame to create the winning look.
The receipt of these three clothed dolls showed me there was a lot that could be done for the 11 1/2" or 12" of doll. The 16" doll was created for the adult collector. She is larger and easier to work with. As such, there are many more fashionable and sophisticated clothes available for her. On the contrary, the smaller doll (Barbie & friends) was originally designed for children and thus caters to their fantasies and naive interpretation of style. Much of what's available on the market consists of puffy princess dresses or cheesy party clothes.
The students of CAFD convinced me that, in spite of the challenges presented by the 11 1/2" fashion doll proportions, there are many things to be done do to maintain a real contemporary fashion expression. The key to achieving lies in slipping into the "skin" of the doll. You do this by imagining how you would look wearing her clothes or how she would look wearing yours!
All photos courtesy of Fashion Doll Stylist 2013. Please do not reproduce without previous permission.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We love hearing from you. Your comment will be published shortly.