Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Designing Men

One of my final courses at Marymount is and advanced problem-solving course in pattern-making, a garment design and construction course that challenges its students to find and implement unique and personal design twists in the garment-making process. One of my assignments this semester was to create an outfit, drumroll... for a man. Strangely, when meeting new people and explaining that I'm studying toward a degree in fashion design, men seem more interested in the creative process than women. Male friends have asked me to design "new looks" for them, while I WISH my female friends would beg so much for one of my dresses. My passion for fashion really lies in creating clothes for myself. That's not as selfish as it sounds. In high school, when my interest in clothes as wearable art began, I realized there wasn't a lot of affordable stuff out there I wanted to wear. Other girls must feel the same way, so my big picture involves getting to the point where I can share my design inspiration with a market of young women like myself for not-so Dolce & Gabbana prices. That said, I must say I've never turned much of my design interest toward menswear. They only wear black, grey and blue, and how much of a twist can you put on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt? Or a suit, because these three things are all that men wear.

Because Joseph had recently been complaining of a lack of pants that fit him correctly, I made him my menswear client. He chose a fabric, and I drew up a pattern for some durable non-jeans based on a pair he already had that fit him well. I did learn some lessons in construction while making this outfit for him, but more importantly, I learned that there really is a lot to work with design-wise in meanswear. These clothes SEEM boring to those with a background limited to garments for women. The females of our species wear the feathers, so to speak, but the fact that our gender can get away with a lot more color, detail, and flamboyance aesthetically doesn't mean the clothes men wear are boring. They actually have to be meticulously designed with a different goal in mind: utility. The details of a man's garment aren't there to be pretty, they're there to make something durable, to allow movement, to hold keys or wallets. Pockets, for example, usually don't even have to be REAL on women's' clothes- how often do we actually put stuff in them?
Ultimately, I learned a lot from a design perspective while I was working on this project I was dreading. Joseph's pants fit really well, they've got reinforced stitching all over so he can wear them working on landscaping or renovations, and pockets, of course, to hold whatever odds and ends and tools he needs them to. The t-shirt is my creation as well- the fabric is cut on the bias to allow extra movement not at work, rather while he's playing... the drums. The graphic on it is my face! That felt a little vain, but hey, he looks cool.


Peggy Johnstone said...

How cool is that?! I'm impressed! I don't know what you're talking about, BooverGirl... I would love for you to make me something to wear. You just have to keep in mind my butt-covering requirements! :D

Lindsey said...

Yes, of course, no "shrugs." :)Thanks, mom!