Reflection of CCS

I have attended weekly lectures and seminars as a part of CCS; a module for my footwear design course. I have had to complete a presentation on a chosen object and upload weekly blog posts to word press.

I found that the seminars were helpful and well structured, with not too many people in the class it was easy to ask questions after lectures that I attended pervious week Friday mornings. My teacher was inspiring and always so approachable, she made seminars fun.

The presentation was done through seminar groups. I think the presentation was the best part of CCS. It really encouraged me to complete in depth research and create links to my object that weren’t at all obvious.

The lectures on Friday mornings I didn’t find so beneficial. I felt the content in the power points was too broad, making our blog topic unclear. Although the power point topic was relevant to the blog we were being given, it wasn’t clear on our task to write about as we couldn’t possibly cover the content in the power point in a post. I feel an example blog post that the teacher had done would have helped so we had more of an idea of the necessary content.

The lectures I felt were long and not all that engaging. I attended all of the lectures but felt it wasn’t vital as the power points were uploaded to blackboard each week.

I feel that the CCS course would be more beneficial if we had two seminars instead of a lecture and seminar. This way, the teacher could present the blog post power points to less of us and make it more interesting. We could then ask more questions and have a better understanding of the weekly tasks. Another idea could be just having one long seminar weekly to do the same thing.

Also we were told out blog posts should be 250 words. I felt that this was impossible. To include what I understood was the necessary content, I could never stick to the words and would have liked to see an example had.

WordPress is a website that I had never used before. I didn’t have a clue how to use it which made me feel the presentation of my blog is not of a standard I am completely satisfied with. I would have liked to present my blog posts in a printed book form so then I could have presented it really more personally.

I enjoyed some blog topics a lot more than others. I felt the structure of the blog as a whole didn’t flow nicely, each week was completely different. I personally would have preferred an essay style piece of work with a clearer structure.

Overall I feel CCS has really encouraged me to do a lot of in depth research. I will definitely be under taking this amount of research in all of my future projects be it written work or illustration design projects. The presentation I enjoyed most. I think it is good to be put outside of your comfort zone and present to a group. In the industry I am going into I will need to present ideas and designs a lot so starting now will only help me to gain even more confidence also helping with upcoming interviews.


Gender – Modesty

Modesty I believe is being proud of who you are without the need to reveal your body or attracting sexual attention. Modesty is judged by the way that we present ourselves through fashion, particularly dressing to compliment body image, for comfort and to express self-esteem.

I have put together an outfit from my wardrobe I think is appropriate and ‘modest’.

I completely respect people’s religions and different dress styles, I find it really interesting, it brings out the diversity in cities and allows us to express ourselves, we judge people on presentation, first impressions say a lot. Imagine if we all had the same views and dressed the same?

My outfit consists of a long navy, turtleneck dress from River Island. It doesn’t reveal collarbones or cleavage.  The dress would be worn with black tights and black Chelsea boots. The dress is fitted around the neck and short sleeves. It does not cling to the rest of the body, doesn’t attracts sexual attention, in no way is it inappropriate. The scarf I have selected is large and can be worn in many ways making it versatile for different cultural dress.A black cardigan and a warm winter coat would compliment the outfit in cold seasons.This outfit could be worn in spring/summer seasons without tights with pumps or heels.

I looked into celebrity modest dress styles to help me select my outfit. Olivia Palermo is a modestly dressed style icon. I chose this photograph of her in a casual, modest outfit. Her styles inspired me to create my own modest outfit.

my dress oliva palermo modest scarf dress

Gender Specific Clothing

After undertaking research into the history of high heels I have discovered that before it was a fixture of female fashion, high heels were worn in the 16th century by Persian soldiers on horseback. Heels were said to give the soldiers steadiness in their stirrups so that they could stand up whilst riding safely, enabling them to shoot with accuracy. Progressing hastily to 17th century; high heels became a symbol of supremacy and masculinity. They were a conventional fashion statement for wealthy men. The shoes then caught on as a fashion statement of graciousness throughout Europe.

In the 1630’s, women started adopting masculine fashion styles, this was when women everywhere began wearing high-heeled shoes.

In the early 1700’s, French King Louis XIV wore extravagantly decorated heels. His heels were 5 inches tall. He said, only aristocracies could wear red heels and his heels would always shine over everyone else. No one daren’t have heels higher than his own. Over this century heels became lengthier and more slender, impacting society with ideas of eroticism and foot fetishism.

Heels evolved, becoming higher and slender over the years. With eroticism in mind they were designed to make feet look arched and delicate. As a result; women squeezed their feet into shoes to small attempting to shrink the appearance of size.

Feminism and sexuality factors within heels; the Venetians discovered. A style called Chopines were a prestigious representation of fortune and dignity. Predominantly embellished with gold laces, embroidery and decorative leatherwork; it was obvious this style was designed for females.

During the French Revolution heels disappeared. During this period heels were associated with the rich and wealthy, resulting in people avoiding any kind of luxury and opulence. This eliminated the heel as a fashion trend for both men and women. After the French Revolution heels became lower than ever before in the 18th century. Heels were replaced with just a wedge or spring heel with one layer of leather interleaved just above the sole at the rear or the shoe.

Heeled shoes did not make a come back until the middle of the 19th century. The Victorian era was known for dancing so flatter; ballet pumps were the preferred footwear of this time. Mules with open heels and enclosed fronts were also a trend. Heels

Re surfaced in the late 1800’s where they were almost exclusively worn by women and no longer seen suitable for both genders.

21st century high heels are known as objects of fashion and sex appeals that are worn by females. They are also infrequently looked upon as a practical shoe but considered an uncomfortable addition to female attire. Women of today wear heels as a fashion statement and not for practicality or comfort.

chopines heeeeels heelsgreenblack – Photos

Journey of my shoes

I have chosen my leopard print espadrilles from ALDO. I am going to try and track the journey of the shoes and find out where they were made, their transportation journey before  they were available to purchase in store.

The shoes were made in Spain. They are made with leopard print pony hair. They have a small wedge platform made of beige rope and jute and have elastic inserts at the foot hole. The sole is made of rubber.The jute braid that is used for the wedge/ is a very eco friendly material compared to many synthetic substances.

Jute is a very versatile natural fibre grown mostly in Bangladesh and India. It is progressively developing as a multipurpose, decomposable, low-cost natural fibre. Bangladesh has easily become the most industrial centre for the material, many jute soles and complete espadrilles are made there. 90% of the domain’s total manufacture of complete espadrilles, as well as jute soles, is made in Bangladesh. Although many manufacturers are in Spain, Italy and France where they then import jute soles from Bangladesh before making. Complete espadrilles are also made in other countries such as Argentina, Colombia and Chile.

I have tried to locate a specific factory where Aldo shoes are made in Spain. This proved very difficult. Aldo’s website has great information about their head office and base in Montreal – Canada. However I have been unable to find out anything about their factories. I even tried emailing them but unfortunately received nothing back. I do however; feel I understand a very likely journey. The jute is grown in Bangladesh, then imported to Spain where the shoes were made and then transported via ship to their many stores to be sold.

I found out about Aldo as  a company; That ALDO Group’s distribution system is a quick, tight and agile – a system that enables maximum and efficient movement. In order to serve their stores worldwide, they have set up offices and distribution centres around the world.

Their main distribution centre is located in Montreal. It is 830,000 square feet and the capacity to sort up to 11,000 pairs of shoes an hour to 850 different destinations. The centre handles all distribution operations for North America including new merchandise receipts and shipments, recalls, store fixture distribution, e-commerce transactions, and transport.

I have linked a video of the distribution centre for LK Bennett shoe factory production.

I have undertaken research into factories in Spain that make Espadrilles. I found that LK Bennett shoes are made in a factory in a small area in Alicante; Southern Spain. LK Bennett as a company are similar to Aldo in terms of  styles. Both brands are occasion/ business work wear so mainly formal styles. LK Bennett’s manufacture is dedicated to sustaining the great quality of craftsman ships of all their shoes. Up to seventy expert hands can touch one pair of shoes during making processes.

Video linked shows the factory in Spain where LK Bennett shoes are made. This has encouraged me that my shoes are very likely to be made in a factory just like this.

Espadrilles are a high quality beach shoe and not designed for lengthy walks use or to be worn in wet weather. They are designed as a practical, slip on shoe for the warm seasons.

‘The ALDO Group strongly believes in bringing the world to the doorstep of its customers. Through direct sourcing, the company is able to put the customer directly in touch with the finest manufacturers from around the globe, bypassing the middleman and delivering superior fashion, quality and value.’ As they clearly state on their website.

Not only do Aldo have their head office in Montreal, they have other offices in China, Switzerland and Italy. The business also has commercial distribution centres in Canada, the U.K., U.S.A , China and Vietnam. AGI distribution centres in Hong Kong and Milan and furniture storage centres in Singapore and Milan. These are for facilitating shipping, customs and inventory distribution.

This research journey I have found challenging yet interesting. I looked into Espadrilles as a shoe style in more detail and I have found out that they have been made in Spain since at least the 14th century. The most primitive form goes back as far as 4000 years.The style are worn by men and women and are very popular throughout Basque countries.

I am confident that my shoes materials were sourced from Bangladesh and India then made in good conditions in a Spanish factory. They would then have been transported via ship for distribution in the UK where I purchased them.

shoes network jute grown shoessss


Store Analysis – Jack Wills Winchester

The first store started in Salcombe- Cornwall. Since then Jack Wills has  grown through the upmarket university towns of Cambridge and Bristol and is now developing throughout the UK. Jack Wills has a true, traditional British heritage, inspired by vintage sportswear, beachwear and classic British styles. It is at the heart of British preppy looks.

Almost all of their stores are outside on high-streets not in commercialised malls; showing their inspired heritage. Shop exterior is something that reflects their style as a first impression.

The presentation of the window displays is seasonal and exciting, drawing you into a beautiful historic building. Whilst entering you are greeted friendly by store workers whilst immediately indulged by a huge high ceiling, old building filled with beautiful and old furniture. The tables are filled with perfectly folded items of menswear that fills the ground floor of the store.

A huge wide stair case features at the back of the store with walls filled with old photographs in frames of all sizes creating, a historic journey as you make your way up to women’s wear.

Upstairs there is a huge railed open section so you can see downstairs which really opens up the building; linking both floors (see photograph). Navy and pink striped walls – their signature colours cover changing room walls, the rooms are made to feel like bedrooms.  Bookcases, with really old books surround a sofa area at the far back of the first floor creating a homely feel. Music in the store creates a fun, lively atmosphere making shopping enjoyable.

Employees model the clothes; seasonally wearing different uniforms, representing the brand image. The company is influenced by ‘The Best of British’ which is why there are things with English heritage all around you throughout your time in the store. This reflects their trademark being ‘Fabulously British’. Being British is what they are all about, being inspired and proud of Britain’s history and tradition.

Pricing some may say is expensive but with Jack Wills it is guaranteed quality with decency at heart, it’s inherent in the brand to act and treat everyone fairly, everyone within their company will be valued.

jw3 jw2 jw

Sustainability – ASOS

Asos; one of the most popular online stores for fashion are very aware of current world fashion issues. With the world now so reliant on technology, online shopping is more popular than ever. You could say it’s easy to forget the journey of clothes before purchase, especially ordering online as we can’t try them on before purchasing. Asos clothing is just like any other fashion brand; the clothes all started somewhere. I am going to look closely at how Asos consider sustainability, and how they practise promoting positive campaigns.

Asos recognise that they have responsibilities as a reliable fashion retailer.They have five schemes in place that show their customers that they are well on their way of achieving their goal; becoming the world’s number one fashion destination for years to come. Their schemes include; Ethical trade, carbon and energy, Asos foundation, positive body image and sustainable fashion.

Ethical trade explains their assurance of being known as a responsible retailer where workers in their supply chain are safe and respected.

Carbon and energy – Asos have been certified as carbon neutral since 2008. They are constantly looking for ways to reduce emissions, especially in the context of their rapid development.

The Asos foundation creates chances for disadvantaged young people; helping them overcome problems and make positive changes.

Positive body image shows that they aim to encourage healthy body images by adopting strategies that guard their models and consumers. Also working with others to make an impact of change in the broader fashion world.

Sustainable Fashion shows they are taking global opportunities to champion sustainable fashion through the Green Room. This is a part of their website where consumers can learn about sustainability and purchase sustainable fashion garments.

The Green Room has grown rapidly since 2010. In January 2014 Asos employed a total of 1,541 people, a 16% increase on August 2013. This included 1475 full-time and 66 part-time employees. The ratio of women to men at ASOS is 1:4. In addition, they are also have marketing teams based in France, Germany, the US and Australia as well as their newest operation based in China.

The green room has shown me that they are ever growing and becoming so well recognized that they must avoid criticism at all costs in order to reach their goals. I found statistics show that they are decreasing un-employability and all teaming together to help create a better working environment.

Asos began to measure their carbon footprint in 2008 in order to appreciate the degree of carbon emissions and to find ways to reduce them. They are making big changes in how they make and receive deliveries now which includes cutting back their packaging and waste considerably. ‘For example, all of our delivery boxes are now made of 100% recycled material. Meanwhile, our new fulfilment centre in Yorkshire has an energy performance certificate (EPC) ‘A’ rating.’

Currently this year, we can clearly see that Asos have taken time to recognise ongoing crisis such as deforestation. They are doing all they can to make others aware; promoting abolition of deforestation from their source chains.

Nicole Rycroft, executive director of Canopy, said momentum is building behind the campaign. “The largest and most iconic clothing brands on earth are sending clear signals that are growing in strength and conviction: no more ancient and endangered forest fibre in our fashions,” she said. “Systemic change in fibre sourcing is becoming unavoidable.”

In associated updates, clothing group Kering, which owns brands including Gucci and PUMA, partnered with the London College of Fashion to emphasize the need to shift to more sustainable practices across the fashion industry. Kering announced that ‘the new partnership will feature a number of lectures on sustainable fashion and a new £31,500 award for students who develop ideas for tackling real world sustainability challenges that the industry faces.’

Looking at this campaign has not only made me certain that Asos are getting it right but proved the consideration within their supply processes. – A link to their website where I found out about their responsibilities and recent years statistics.

Subculture Interview

An interview with Billy Frost, a mod of the past, grandfather to three teens today; discussing how he feels about ‘mods’ as a subculture, their main influences and how he remembers being part of such a big movement.

Me: Thank you for joining me.

Billy: Pleasure to be here, I love talking about my past, takes me back to the good old days, trends change like the weather these days I can’t keep up, not like my days, people were easily labelled.

Me: What do influenced the subculture and made it so contrasting to rockers?

Billy: Music I’d say, it was as much of a fashion as the fashion that it created. The Mod style was a carefree fashion. We used to go from one record to another, one band to another but one thing we were always so heavily influenced and inspired by was the band ‘The Who’. They were the most idolised band for Mods. Rockers were our rivals, we called them greasy. They were definitely aware when we arrived chanting ‘ we are the mods, we are the mods, we are we are we are the mods’ literally imitating Quadrophenia, which you must have seen?

Me: Where did you spend your free time and weekends?

Billy: Coffee bars were a place I often chilled. They were popular, contrasting places to bars and clubs where we would ‘hang out’. Changing the jukebox was an alternative thing my group and me liked to do of an evening.

Me: How did it feel to be a part of a mod group? Where you all dressed the same, all influenced by the same things. Did it feel like you were all competing against each other?

Billy: The feeling I would describe as energising. Being a ‘mod’ among millions of ‘mods’ was incredible. It was like being a part of something bigger than a race. It covered everyone, we all looked the same, we all acted in the same manors, we all just wanted to be the same. Where as now so many feel the need to stand out or not stand out for so many reasons.

Me: What about the many riots with the rockers? How did they make you feel?

Billy: They spurred us on. Yeah they were our enemies; we hated them. But at the same we did have fun! The major want to be so contrasting, whom would we riot with without them? They, I believe, made us more who and what we were.

Me: Surely this was encouraging disagreement between people, just small wars really?

Billy: Of course we clashed, our styles and attitudes were so different. We rioted mostly out of boredom though. But believe it or not, this was the first movement in the history of youth agreement. I think it encouraged agreement, drove togetherness and agreements of motive. Youth always has leaders; someone in charge. The leader of a mod group however could have been anyone. Any kind of kid could lead no matter what they looked like. So long as they rode a Vepsa, had the right haircut and wore the right clothes, they were a Mod. There was no born rarity. You could buy everything you needed to style yourself a Mod and ask for the hairstyle in Barbers. It was such an amazing youthful drive that bought people together in large groups. Nothing major, not racism, not bullying; just fun and passion of music.

Me: I find that so surprising, yet so believable. What was so different to todays society?What bought you together most?

Billy: Subcultures bought people with little yet lots in common, together. It wasn’t a case of competing to fit in like today. You weren’t bullied for being a ‘try hard’. You felt you fitted in within a large group like a huge family. Music always heavily influenced our fashion. Kids these days copy reality Tv stars. Not bands like us. Put ‘The who’ my generation on now in room full of my old pals would have a completely different reaction to kids these days with a song from a few years ago. Commercialism was what made the subcultures end. Commercialism was the beginning of the end for me. It used to come from the streets, choosing to be part of something you loved, not something impersonal or forced upon you which I think commercialism lead to. I’d love for bands to still be as influential today with love of music striving people. People wanting to be part of ‘togetherness’, for nothing more than harmless fun. But ‘who’ knows haha! An upcoming band just like ‘The Who’ who affected me just might create a trend and new subculture that inspires future generations.