I put this project in my portfolio after getting feedback at the Networking Conference, so here it is!

Thesis Portfolio Piece

The project is still a little open ended, so I hope to continue to work on the appearance model so that I can better show the “shift”. Also, I want to start showing the piece in context, whether that’s through Photoshop or going on a photoshoot with the shirt. I’m also considering rendering it on people in the spaces I am talking about, maybe a Photoshop or Keyshot rendering. I need to wrap up the project in some way showing my design, so maybe demonstrating the shift on a person in the space for my final portfolio page. I got a lot more feedback to sift through, so I’ll update again soon.


So to catch up on what’s been going on for the last few weeks…

After making the swatches, I got a lot of feedback and was stuck on a few points before I could move into garments:
1. Too many variables (and unanswered questions)
2. Not sure what my core goal was

I wrote a core statement. What did I want people to take away from my thesis? What did I want them to think it was about Katie’s thesis is about… communication, self expression, interaction, transformation, expectations, perception, duality, power and control. I wrote several things that my thesis is about and then ordered them according to which was most important. 
1. Self expression, projection, mood, disposition, personality
2. Shifts, transformations, how do/can we change, adapt, react
3. What do I see, expectations, reactions, treatment of others
4. Animals/biomimicry as a metaphor, new nonverbal communication, natural/intinctual reactions
5. A new technology in wearable design
6. A cool material. it shifts, changes, transforms 
The weird thing is that the last two are the first that I wrote down- this is what a lot of people liked and talked about when they looked at my swatches, so I was starting to get caught up in it without going deeper into the meaning or why I should do this.

I made a variable list/matrix and made decisions:
nanoforms/shapes, angles, sclae, colors, movement, garment type, stakeholders, materials, production process, scenarios, intent/goal/function, message
I chose to focus on the variables that were central to my core statement, and sorted the variables into independent and dependent variables based on my core statement (I’ll come back to this)

I wrote some definitions to clarify things for myself and what I’m talking about/trying to communicate.
PERSONALITY- who am i? how do i act? who do i associate with? mood, feelings, disposition (mental/emotional outlook, TENDENCY OF ONE’S SPIRITS), state of feeling at moment, emotional tone, attitude, frame of mind), interaction/engagement with others, animation, body language, words, facial expression, gestures, VISIBLE ASPECT OF ONE’S CHARACTER, COLLECTION OF QUALITIES, PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR)

SELF EXPRESSION- essential character of a person, INDICATION of feeling, spirit, character, what we want others to see

EMOTIONS-state of consciousness, experience, sensation/perception v. conscious, vague awareness

PERCEPTION-apprehending by means of the senese, cognition, understanding, awareness dervied from sensory process while stimulus is present


DEPENDENT variables (the means to achieve my goal): forms, colors, garment,scale, materials, production
CORE independent variables to address first! the message, movement, scaenarios, stakeholders, personality and the shift….. I DECDIED TO WRITE STORES TO SORT THESE OUT since I had a bunch of unrelated scenarios playing out in my head for the context of my design. I broke them down by emotion (using last years medical research!). Here’s a couple examples:

Anger: Jack and Jane get in a fight. Jack gets frustrated and keeps trying to make his point. Finally he just walks away.
Fear: Amy forgot to do the homework for her dicussion section. She realizes in class when the teacher forms a discussion circle and diverts her eyes and tries to attract as little attention as possible.
Love: Gwen’s boyfriend visited fo rthe weekend and has to go home. At the trainstation, she looks at him and kisses him and says I love you. She watches him all the way to the gate.
Attraction: At a party, Danielle is dancing with her girlfriends and spots Pat out of the corner of her eye. She likes what she sees and holds eye contract for a second but then turns back to her girlfriends hoping he’ll come over. 
Sad: Terry just found out her friend has been tlaking about her behind her back. She doenst want to confront her so the next day she doenst smile or talk as much. She wants her friend to know without tlaking about it.

I took these stories and broke them down by storyboarding and analyzing each step of the scenario in terms of body language, intent, and messages sent between the characters.

My insights and new quesitons after storyboarding: before/after, transformation moment, many signals sent, amplifying vs. disguising (conflicting messages), timing, subtleties, social norms, translation

Then I broke down overall, the process of two people communicating via flow chart: 

Now it was easier to narrow my focus. I further researched body language & communication too make sure I wasn’t missing anything big on Wikipedia and noted key elements: gestures, touch, posture, facial expression, eye contact, proximity, clothing, words, voice quality (rate, pitch, volume, etc.)

The moment of transformation…. A diagram of the ways we move to communicate a message. Then broken down into the 4 main ways to transform and what message is communicated by changing along one of these spectrums.

Overall message in each of these cases: engage or disengage. Then sketched ways to deal with each of the 4 as separate ways to transform:

Some playing around with how color can be applied and variations in scale, colors, gradients, color pairings, angles to see which work best….

Also played around with this stuff for inspiration (duality, transformation):

I thought I might be stuck on these forms which I loved so I sketched some new possibilities for introducing color.
Fabric/windows-this could relate to body language, layers, 3d, crevices maybe
Forms-angles, sclaes
Lights-in forms, in fabric layers
Scales/Petals-flip by hand, react to each other

I picked the forms- easy to work with, can adjust details to match body language and fit scenarios.

I took a bunch of body language pics to understand the scope of what my project could include! These also became templates to photoshop colors onto and test their visual effectiveness for conveying the message before prototyping. here’s a couple:

I started thinking about production. The options I was thinking at this point, after talking to Eric from copascetic and Laurel from FAS and several other experts, the options i was considering:
1. vac forming- difficult to form to body 
2. 3d printing (expensive, difficult to form to body without leaving gaps)
3 mold = chose this because could be rubbery, mass produceable
4 fabric.. can I mold fabric????
5 CNC- expensive
6 print= went with this for appearance model

I designed the part for a mold, but put that process on hold since I had to prepare for the thesis show. Here are my sketches: I chose to use a zigzag with no gaps to maximize its effectiveness and create a simple 2 part mold. I talked to Jacob who storyboarded the process and then tested a swatch of a rubbery material I wanted to use. It didn’t work :/. 

Then the shirt prototype-painting, measuring, working with mannequin

Designed the pieces-test swatches on final shirt

Final shirt-hand stitching to match production, zigzag not single pieces, colors-blue/why, forming to body, snake belly/thoughts

Board, take away, the show

To do….. render, finish modle, video/get on people, test materials, con’t swatches

My two prototypes for the material I want to make:


For the show and tell booth, I showed my two prototype materials and set up for people to make shapes and color them. I asked people what they are trying to “project” with their clothes today, and heard a lot of “comfort” and “have to work in the shop today” and “lazy”. For color choice, people wore neutral and dull colors to not call attention to themselves. We talked about my ideas and then people’s feedback was:

1. situations that they could use this
-practical applications (rescue, uniforms)
-theatrical applications (designate speaker in situations, etc)
-everyday life applications (deter creepy guys, attract cute ones at parties)

2. materials and ways to do it
-casting-draft angles
-pearlescent paints


So I feel like I have come very far conceptually! I’ll try to sum up what I’ve been doing.

The idea I had at the end of last semeter was to create an interactive garment that utilizes color & scale, form, and texture for a woman (or man?) to express herself by manipulating and changing it as their mood changed. I loved this idea because I could sew and utlize many colors and textures, but conceptually it was lacking- I had no clear goal of how it communicated mood or who exactly it was for or what environments it would be used in.

I wanted to identify stakeholders, so I began with Americans, maybe women young adults… and then I latched on to introverts & extroverts. I liked this because colors can be “introverted” (quiet, subtle, thoughtful, etc.) or “extroverted” (loud, bright, attention-getting, exciting). I thought I could utilize colors to express introversion or extroversion through clothes. I took pictures of people wanting privacy vs. wanting to interact:


I then began to sketch any ideas that came to mind. I found that my sketches were very gestural forms that fit onto the body. Biomimicry informed a lot of my sketching, so I looked up ways that animals hide or open up to their environment for inspiration.

I talked to Carr about my sketches and he mentioned going “nano” with my ideas. This really stuck with me. He showed me the work of Ned Kahn for form inspiration. I loved his work! I could imagine apply bright colors to shifting forms to create movement.

I began making sketch models to show more than one color on a form, and somehow I would move this form so that people could experience both colors. As I made the forms, I realized that I wanted to “go nano” and put them on the body like I had been thinking before.

When I thought about why I would put these forms on clothing, I realized the potential in the idea. The different facets of the forms could send different messages from different perspectives. They could show emotion, power, introversion/extroversion, blend in/stand out, or just send different messages to different people around you.

This is where I am at now. I want to put the faceted nano scale forms on clothing with the goal of showing different colors from different perspectives. I am really excited about the potential with 3D printing these precise forms and applying them to fabric. Now I want to look into optical illusions, body language, and possiblities with materials to further this idea.