21st Century Women- Zoe Buckman
I personally like Zoe Buckman's 'Every Curve' a collection of vintage lingerie with hand embroidered hip-hop lyrics that focused on feminism and female empowerment. What I liked about it was it's relevance across generations and its link to the past and present. I also really liked the way she incorporated text with the garment directly, and the fact that she hand-embroidered it gives it personal perspective of a woman to a wide range of audience.
With the on-going trend and introduction of genderless and gender fluid friendly collections entering the fashion industry, I found Louis Vuitton's SS16 women’s ad campaign (featuring Jaden Smith in a metal embroidered skirt representing their take on fashion against 'gender positioned clothing') , Zara's 'UNGENDERED' collection ( I liked the campaign and name, but I did not personally like the collection, as it did not exactly express gender fluidity, however, I liked that they used comfortable clothing and both male and female models for the line, as in my opinion it depicted the fact that one should be comfortable in their body no matter what they would categorise themselves as) , Thom Browne's Spring 2018 menswear collection- (the confident male models flawlessly pulling off skirts like it is meant to be enjoyed by everyone) , Henry Xu's collection (that includes the combination of masculinity and femininity- I liked his use of contrast in materials and models) , interesting in the way that these designers have found different ways to integrate masculinity and femininity through models, materials and poses in order to address the sensitive topic of gender fluidity.
However what I liked about Calvin Kleins contribution, was use of fragrance instead of straight-forward and visual method- fashion to address gender fluidity . Apart from the item itself what I liked about the ad campaign was the use of text and imagery that fit perfectly with each other and the use of the hashtag #the2ofus, thus, making it interactive and pertaining to a wider audience.
Her online exhibition- ‘I am a camera’ caught my eye. It has powerful pictures of a nude body without a face indicating the fact that she does not want to associate the model with an identity thus addressing the general public as a whole. and also included aesthetic addition of light and shadow. She expresses confidence in our own skin and body through her work and sends a message “the human body does not only exist solely to be sexualized, it is the skin we live in.” It addresses the issue of body politics- directly related to my project. The fact that the face is cut, and identity is concealed also relates to the concept of ‘purdah system’ that I am focusing on in my project.
I like his photography because of his interesting incorporation of shadows on the faces of his models, as it disrupts the facial identity, but also highlights details of the face.
On re-intepreting and including all the research that I did and discussed with my partner in class, along with using myself as a starting point to cast and develop my project, I realised that it was not only society that put restrictions and standards on our bodies and the way that we chose to present ourselves in our bodies, it is our culture and religion. In india, my religion imposed the practice of 'Purdah System1' on females.
Purdah meaning curtain, In my project I attempted to use various kinds of barriers as different forms of 'purdahs'.
I used a thong to depict the empowerment of femininity and also use it to censor the identity to indicate that this issue of social control that society claims to hold is not restricted to india in specific but women around the world.
I used a scrap of My traditional saree from my graduation ceremony, to represent religion and culture.
I also captured reactions to being blindfolded by the fabric to metaphorically portray what it feels like to be blindfolded by religion and culture. We are born into a particular culture and are imposed by certain rules and restrictions in the name of religion.
Some other forms of barriers that I used to represent the 'Purdah System'
1- It is the practice that includes the seclusion of women from public observation by wearing concealing clothing from head to toe and by the use of high walls, curtains, and screens erected within the home.
Light and Shadows
My aim was to portray the impositions of religion and culture through the 'purdah system' as an illusion cast by society. Thus, I used shadows to represent the barriers of purdah system, in order to replace the solid and tangible purdah by an intangible illusion- The Shadow.
I experimented different types of shadows using elements of my tradition- jewellery, traditional head cover, ethnic fabrics and embroidery.
Culture and Experimentation
In order to show the impact and prevalence of the purdah system:
I went back home for the week, and in order to reflect on myself and my origination, I decided to combine the two things that define me best- a traditional indian 'lehenga' (I used a vintage- my mother's wedding outfit') that depicts my origin combined with 'denim' that depicts my love for it. I personally like the material and its look because of its evergreen nature, as its' trend has been modified and its presence has been everlasting from generations.
I combined the the two and experimented different styles, backgrounds, lighting, poses and positions as primary research to further develop the project.