Bethaney Smith is 18 and studies for a BA in Fashion Design at Leicester in the Uk. You can contact Bethaney at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @SmithBethaney.
What is the background of the work you submitted?
I created the images I submitted for the Consolidation project on which I have been working over the past few weeks.
For this project we had to create not only a garment but also the brief for it – specify what this garment had to be – and chose our own source of inspiration or Muse. My Muse evolved around things in life which are not very attractive but are actually significantly beautiful. I looked into insects, in particular butterflies and moths, and also at the idea of disintegration.
There is a common conception that moths are just ugly butterflies, but looking at them with greater attention I realised that they are actually as, if not more, advanced than butterflies; their patterns are often much more detailed.
This is where I got the idea for my print which is the black and white scaled down body frame of a moth, very detailed and elegant, overlaid with brightly coloured butterflies. I picked this design out of many I created because it fits with a ‘Sportswear’ theme which I would like to develop within my work. Over the course of this project however, my designs evolved towards sculptural fashion rather than of sportswear.
Once I had selected this print, I worked on the second image I submitted: the black and white print layered on the torso of a model. Personally I like this one very much! I decided to carry forward the very detailed black and white gradients and shading of my first print. I practiced with composition of the print and where my print would give maximum impact on the body. Then working with the print I started changing the gradients and colour balances to give a ‘disintegrating effect’.
This second print, the Moth Body, was digitally printed onto my final fabric, a tightly woven material. The print is placed at the bottom of my garment which was a plain shift dress with a separated draped bomber jacket with volumed sleeves as which is on my Final Illustration. Placing the print was quite complex; I had to consider the garment construction and think which pattern pieces would lay on top. The print had not only be seen in the right place but be perfectly balanced.
How did you go about finding your Muse?
I had a scrap file where I collected pages from magazine, quotes, blog posts etc. that I found inspiring. I used this file to pick my theme to work on. Collecting data this way is very interesting; it is a bank of ideas and also helps realise how much and how fast fashion actually changes over the seasons.
I really enjoyed this project because it was all about doing things you enjoy and creating whatever you fancied. It helped me however to find out my strengths and weaknesses, knowledge I will be taking forward me next year to improve on my skills.
Whose work inspires you?
Despite the fact that so far Raf Simons has mainly designed menswear and I enjoy designing womenswear, Raf Simons is very influential to my work. I find his aesthetics, the basic shape he uses and the silhouettes of his garments a great source for ideas. His Spring/Summer 13 collection for example, features a trench coat with a very colourful floral pattern which turns a classic into a new and upbeat garment suited for today’s market.
I have recently started to design some menswear but I am yet to make up my mind if I prefer designing for men or women. In a way I hope to be able to design for both, this would make my work more varied.
I also like to look at other students work. I find graduate work is fresh and rich in ideas and is also up to date in terms of techniques as students often use new interesting ones.
What is your favourite film?
When I have time to I love just chilling and kicking back watching ‘Chic flick’ movies such as Pretty Woman, my favourite movies of all time! At the moment I love Pitch Perfect. Ok it is a little obvious as a film choice but it never fails to cheer up my mood, it’s funny and I always end up singing along!
What is your favourite music track or album?
I enjoy listening to SBTRK. I find their songs easy to sit back and listen to. I enjoy listening to them when I design. They create a chilled out atmosphere that helps me focus on my designs. I have recently fallen in love with Aluna George –Attracting flies. This is such a nice ‘Chilling out’ song.
What is hot or new in the world for you, where you live? Explain briefly why.
Whenever I am back home in Birmingham I try and visit the Custard Factory a space near the infamous Bull Ring dedicated to creative people. The surroundings and atmosphere within the building give out such a good vibe plus there are some really good vintage shops which I absolutely love!
What Websites do you go to for inspiration?
I really enjoy Pinterest. I think that to be creative you have to look outside the box and not just within on specific area of design. I think that Pinterest helps you do this and visualise and review other people’s work.
What does fashion mean to you?
I believe that fashion is for everyone, and that has their own view on it. Fashion is an everyday fact, even if you don’t enjoy the fashion of clothing; you will probably enjoy other form of fashion, like that of interior decoration. Whether you admit to it or not everyone is influenced by fashion. Without any form of fashion the world would be one huge blank canvas.
What would be your ideal Fashion Project?
I really enjoy working on the Stand, draping and manipulation fabric. I feel a project combining all of these would see my creativity explode; it would be so exciting! I’ve recently started designing sportswear and work with tailoring; I find working with traditional techniques and finding ways to Break the rules can lead to very interesting ideas!
I enjoy working with people who do not have the same level as me on a fashion subject or technique, whether they are more or less advanced. Explaining a process or having it explained to me helps me to understand it better.
What would your ideal career be?
My ideal job would be designing fashion. I enjoy pattern cutting and the technical aspects of fashion design but I love the creative outlet of actually designing fashion.
What kind of job will you be looking for when you graduate?
I think I still will have a lot more to learn about the fashion industry after I have graduated. I would like to gain experience with a working designer so I can discover what the day to day life of a designer involves.
I would also love to be able to visit a developing country and may be share experience, designing and producing garments that could be sold and earn some money.