“Tailor Made” – Primary Research

Throughout my secondary research, I continuously took inspiration from military uniforms, so I decided to look for primary research in my local museum; Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. During my visit, I was able to collect a range photographs of paintings and many angles of a historical First World War British Army Uniform. When taking my photographs, I made sure that I was capturing the key shapes, colours, details and silhouettes in the paintings and outfit to help me when designing my own menswear tailored collection.


Tailor Made – 19th Century French Military Uniform:

19th Century French Military Uniform:

When designing the French military uniform in 19th century, cost wasn’t the first thought that came into their minds and this caused serious trouble with Napoleon. Lannes overspent the guards budget and Napoleon was forced to replace him with Bessieres. Due to Lannes overspending the budge, Bessieres decided to design and construct three types of military uniforms; One uniform for a parade, another for a service and one uniform for off duty.

Outfits and their Costs:

  • Infantryman’s Outfit: 200 to 250 Francs,
  • Line Grenadies’s Uniform: 300 Francs,
  • Cavalryman’s Uniform: 500 Francs,
  • Guard Chasseur-a-cheval’s: 950 Francs,
  • Cuirassier’s Uniform: 2,000 Francs.

It was very common for the uniforms to be constructed of wool, silk, hemp, canvas and linen. Fabrics like wool and canvas are strong fabrics which would make the uniform longer lasting. They definitely needing this because they didn’t have the money to buy more fabrics. As for the textiles that was embellished onto the jackets, cuffs, collars, outerwear and trousers was made from linen and hemp cloth. The colour palette for the French military uniforms consisted of a range of natural shades and bold colours that were from light to dark. For example; Black, Navy, Dark Blue, Royal Blue, Rich Red’s with Gold embellishments. French military outfits consisted of multiple layers, for example; waistcoats, cropped coats and jackets, outerwear, cloaks, greatcoats, trousers, and tailcoats. Throughout the stage of design development, I will take inspiration from the traditional French military uniform as it is commonly seen in the movie, The Phantom of the Opera; Masquerade Ball scene. I will take my influence from the multiple layers and experiment with the lengths, key features, scale and proportions to create a bold, powerful and structured tailored outfit.

{Picture Below: Traditional 19th Century French Military Uniforms that I will take inspiration from when designing my own tailor made outfit.}

Uniforms of french army : Foreign Troops in French Service, 18-19th century, engraving by Charles Vernier (1831-1887)

New Project, Tailor Made – Historical Research:

Menswear In the 17th Century:

There were many trends that continued throughout the early 17th century to the later years. These trends were; Men’s coats, waistcoats and jackets that were worn tightly. Breeched were still a common item of clothing that was worn with their socks fully exposed. However, through the mid-seventeenth century, men’s clothing softened and became more comfortable. This was when breeches lost their bagginess and became slimmer so that it would be easier for men to move in. People continued to value the different types of fabrics as fabrics like silk were still presented as wealth.

The French Influence:

The French had a huge influence on clothing in the 17th Century. A French king called Louis XIV ruled France from 1943-1715 and wanted to make France the leading fashion influence. He wanted people to be inspired by the architecture, furniture, food and fashion in France. Louis surrounded himself with the wealthy people who owned elegant clothing to continue his wider love and inspiration for fashion. During the 17th Century France also became the leading producer of luxury goods and this was when the French cities began to start producing their own fabrics like silk, lace and brocade to sell onto other countries.

1760 – 1770’s Men’s Clothing:

During 1760 – 1770 men’s clothing started heading towards a sleeker look and became more fitted to their body. Throughout these years it was very common for men to own three-piece suits which consisted of a waistcoat, pants and jacket/coat. Cape were also a common trend in the late 17th Century as they were constructed in royal colours like blue, green and red to represent wealth and power. Heavy embellishments also continued throughout the late 17th Century but stopped at the start of the 18th Century.

{Pictures Below, From Left to Right; Men’s nightgown from The Victoria & Albert Museum. Men’s Fashion After the Fall of New France (1760 – 1780’s). A painting from the 17th Century displaying common trends; big wigs, puffy sleeves and cuffs while breeches worn to expose the socks.}

1700 mens clothing

Menswear In the 18th Century:

In the early years of the 18th century there were many fashion trends that were still popular for menswear that continued on throughout the late 18th century. Some of the trends were:

  • Breeches: Breeches were a type of pants for men which were worn either stopping at knee length or just below. It was fastened around the man’s leg with a drawstring and buckles. These pants were worn with socks that were pulled fully up and exposed.
  • Pantaloons: This was another type of menswear pants, however, they were for casual wear as breeches for seen as too formal.
  • Shirts: Men’s shirts were constructed with pleated cuffs, high collars and sometimes featured with ruffles down from the neckline.
  • Waistcoats: Waistcoat styles were constructed with a squared-off hem and a high waist. It was also common for the collars to be high, exaggerated or spread.
  • Greatcoats: Greatcoats were a more expensive touch to coats in the 18th century as they were made from fur or velvet. If a man were saw wearing a greatcoat is would represent someone with wealth.
  • Top Hat: This trend was one of the most popular trends throughout 18th century and continued to be popular trend to today.

Clothing Fabrics in 1800:

  • Fur: Fur was a common fabric that was used for constructing coats and jackets.
  • Velvet: Velvet was also common be used to construct coats, jackets and even some hats.
  • Linen: Linen was used to construct men’s shirts but was also used to experiment with constructing pants in.
  • Leather: Men’s shoes and gloves were made from leather.
  • Lace: Lace was used as a decorative touch to shirts and some jackets.
  • Silk: Silk as one of the most expensive choices to construct jackets and coats from. This was another fabric to showed other your wealth if it was being worn.

{Pictures Below; Displaying the Traditional Frock Coat style during the 1828-1830’s the were made from either Silk, Wool or Velvet Silk. Pantaloons worn underneath, 1820 – 1830’s, Displayed at Victoria and Albert Museum.}

1800 froak coats

Menswear During 1960’s – 1970’s:

During the years of 1960 – 1970’s menswear clothing became more fitted to suit the male figure. In tailoring, there were two very different styles of suits for men. The first was called the Leisure Suit which was introduced to shops during the 1970’s and became a very popular trend after the song “Saturday Night Fever” by John Travolta. The other suit trend was called the Track Suit. This was a sportier and casual take on suiting and was also very popular during the 70’s. However; nearer the end of the 70’s men’s trousers became more flared while changed the slimmer and “straight down” silhouette completely.

In tailoring, men’s suits became sleeker and were commonly worn with striking shirts and high-heeled boots. A common trend for menswear was called the “Flamboyant Look.” This look consisted of wider trousers and exaggerated lapels. Designers were a lot more open with experimenting with different types of fabrics and colours. Paco Rabanne designed and constructed a collection of dresses that were constructed from plastic Discs which inspired other fashion designers to incorporate unconventional materials in clothing.

{Pictures Below; Traditional menswear clothing worn throughout the 1960’s ad 1969’s.}

1900 clothing

My Fashion Illustration Style:

Throughout the years of studying fashion and textiles, I have always struggled finding my own unique style of fashion illustrating. However, I took the time to experiment with many different styles until I was happy with the style I liked. In past projects I have worked with media’s like gouache paints but I wanted to teach myself and improve on my skills of using promarkers. After spending hours practicing different styles and using promarkers to capture texture and shading in a garment I was able to achieve a unique fashion illustration style that I could call my own. Instead of adding colour to the hair of my croquis I decided to stick with the basic line drawing because I didn’t want the volume of the hair to overpower the garment she was wearing. This worked really well because all of the attention was drawn straight to the garment, drapery, details and colours.

Whitstable Firework Display:

During my summer holiday, I travelled down to the southeast coast of a town called Whitstable. During my time their I was able to witness one of the most beautiful firework displays I have ever seen. The scene was set at 9pm along the rocky seaside and bright sunset that reflected on the water. I was able to capture this beautiful and detailed landscape with the camera on my Samsung Galaxy S7. I was amazed with the outcomes of my photographs due to the quality of details, colours and reflected surfaces. (All photographs were taken by myself.)

Constructing a Sculpture with Wooden Sticks and Embroidery Thread:

This afternoon we were given the task to construct a sculpture that was made from wooden sticks and layers of cotton and embroidery threads that interlocked with each other. I decided to start constructing a triangular base for my sculpture and construct a 3D edgy sculpture. Once the base and structure of my sculpture was completed, I continued the trend of spray painting my work with silver paint before wrapping and interlocking cotton and embroidery thread. I decided to use the colours black, red, orange and yellow as I have never worked with these colours before.


To take my experimentation further I decided to play around with the placement of my edgy sculpture of a female mannequin. This also enabled me to picture where my sculpture could be used in a garment. After experimenting with the placement many times in different areas I then decided to experiment with draping netting around the mannequin while pinning my sculpture ontop. This made my final placement outcomes more expressive and bold because of the drapery involved behind and around the 3D sculpture. I was then ready to printed my photographs out and draw onto them to design more unique and creative shapes.



Using Unconventional Materials to Create A Textile Piece:

We were given the task to create three A5 textile pieces and two 30cm yarn samples that were constructed from a range on unconventional materials. My first textile sample was created from wire that was used in the machinery industry. I was drawn to the texture and overall shine look this wire had so I decided to play on this and make the shape more interesting by bending strips and securing them with hot glue. I decided to layer and combine these individual pieces to create a very intense, edgy and industrial textile sample.  I am really happy with the final outcome of first textile sample because it was very futuristic take on textiles which was challenging to me as I’m usually not drawn to this take on fashion and textiles.

My second textile sample was constructed from an A5 sized cardboard sheet that was constructed in a zigzag form. This meant that I was able to wrap a continuous yarn of wool between the gaps in the cardboard to add depth and different layers to the simple sheet of cardboard. I completed this sample by spray painting the wool and cardboard. I’m really happy with the final outcome because the wool was able to absorb the particles in the spray paint and highlight the fine yarns that made up the wool yarn.  I am very happy with the final outcome of my second textile piece because it reminded me of the rope you find interlocked with cages used for fishing.

My third textiles sample piece was constructed from a range of materials. I used cardboard as the base of my sample and hot glued strips of paper, flat wire and crinkled wire. I made sure all the materials interlocked with each other and I incorporated layers to add depth to my textile piece. I decided to complete sample by spray painting a silver to continue to theme of futuristic. I didn’t have a method behind the placement of the materials and I thought this worked really well because it proved to myself that I don’t have to overthink everything I do and take risks/challenges to achieve interesting outcomes.


Design Development: Photoshop

During my athleisure collection I experimented a lot with the shape, colour, volume and proportion until I was happy with 4 different outfits. This stage in the project is called design development because it shows a story from where to started, to experimenting and being really creative with your design to your final designs you want to display as your final collection.

I was inspired by the darker side of athleisure I used a range of shades of black and grey. When I was designing my collection, I started off by lightening and photocopying my male croquis so that I was able to quick sketch ontop of the figure. This allowed me to get all my ideas and thoughts down quickly and not worry about neatness.


I wanted to focus on the large volumes and proportions so I decided to start off by drawing oversized jackets and padded sleeves. I also played around with the scale by sticking with one design that I loved and drew it three times but changing the length and volume to give me three very different designs.

I also designed a range jogging bottoms and shirts and played around with the proportions until I was happy with my 60 designs. I then decided to match up some of my designs so that I had 4 final outcomes that I was confident with. I then scanned my 4 final outfits into Photoshop and played around with the my choice of fabrics. This really did bring my outfits to life and gave me a clearer view of my final garments.


My Final Design Boards for My Portfolio:

Collection Name: Grayscale