Blog Post 5: Sportswear & Gender Roles

Sportswear And Gender Roles:

Traditionally, men have in the past been more associated than women with sportswear brands such as Nike and Adidas. However, at the moment, there is a closing gender gap between males and females in all areas of life including sport. For example women’s football is now being shown on T.V. in the same way that men’s is. We are indeed living in an era where both genders have equal rights.

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Also, more females now wear sports shoes, trainers, t-shirts, accessories than ever before in the past. The reasons for this, I believe, are for comfort, style and to also make a statement about themselves, that they are endeavouring to live a healthy lifestyle for life endurance. In our busy lives, more people (both male and female) than ever, go to the gym to both exercise and to also release feel good endorphins, as we are increasingly becoming aware of how we have to look after our mental health as well as our physical health too.  Therefore, sportswear is more unisex at the moment than ever before.

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What appeals to males and females is now merging more so than in the past. As Zoi Arvanitidou has stated in her PhD work, ‘Fashion, Gender & Social Identity’ (2019), ‘fashion symbolises the transivity of culture, the phases of which must be captured and displayed thus allowing the fluidity of the definitions of gender identity.’

So, I conclude that in the present era where we are all aware, regardless of our gender, that we must look after our physical and mental health, exercise has many benefits for keeping fit but also relieving stress. As this is a major focus for many people, the sportswear clothing ranges are thriving and are doing incredibly well. Also, people are now seeking comfort with the clothes they are wearing and this is relevant for both males and females.

As a result of my conclusion, this is an area of clothing which I would like to explore in my own design work. My experience has been limited in the past. However, I have started to use the overlocking machines as well as the sewing machines to join pieces of stretchy sportswear fabrics. This provides much more flexibility when the fabrics are being worn, especially for items such as stretchy leggings.

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Arvanitidou Z. (2019) ‘Fashion, Gender & Social Identity’, published by University of the Aegean

Blog Post 4: Technology in Window Displays

Blog Post 4: To What Extent Does Technology in Window Displays Help to Sell Fashion Products?

The Design Sprint, where I led the final group presentation, has given me the enthusiasm to conduct further research on how technology can be used effectively to promote fashion products. Part of our group’s ethos was to include technology as much as possible in the popup store design. My findings, I am sure, will give me some exciting extra ideas which I can share with fashion companies and designers in the future.

As gender roles are becoming more equal and with the rapid development of technology which is evolving in our world, both males and females are becoming tech. savvy and really enjoying the benefits of it. So, with technological advances, what appeals to males and females is now merging more so than in the past. 

Therefore, using technology in window displays is a very clever way to engage the public, catch their eye and hence draw them into a store and inevitably purchase. So, technology themed window displays are, at this point in time, an innovative way of catching the eyes of females as well as males.  Many men also do not enjoy the experience of clothes shopping, especially if it is for their female partner. However, this tool could also entice more men into female stores too in the future.

The implication of leads (made from coloured ropes), sockets and plugs etc, which I personally saw in a high-end fashion store window display (New Bond Street, London, December 2018) amongst female garments and accessories is, in my view, truly innovative.

I feel it is a new trend and hence there seems to be little about it in books so far. Leads, plugs and technology vividly being shown in a high-end fashion store window display defies the conventions of how women’s clothing have traditionally been sold in the past.

It is innovative because leads, plugs and technology have in the past been mainly associated with male dominated careers such as electronic engineering.

Also, seeing technological looking devices and toys, with metallic elements in a Prada Shop window display in Berlin, January 2019 is also very innovative too.

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As stated in ‘Retail Product Management, Buying & Merchandising’, by Rosemary Varley (2001), ‘Window displays have a particularly important role to play in communicating to the potential customer what the retailer stands for.’  To me, the connotations linked with this particular window display were a creation of fun, with the use of gadgets which had metallic and bold block colours included too.

Technology themed window displays, to me, seem to be a new up and coming trend in female fashion stores, even though stores such as Nike have been using this tool for more years. Using technology to catch female’s eyes to sell clothes is a very thought provoking subject for me and one which is happening right now too. I feel that gender neutrality is increasing in the retail sector of fashion display windows.

Bearing this research in mind, I conclude that technology in window displays most certainly is helping to sell fashion products in our art movement of Hypermodernism.  I would like to continually do some further research on this in the future, as we all know that technology is the way forward and the way to catch a person’s eye. I feel this research will help me in the future, when consulting fashion companies in the future.


Varley R. (2001), ‘Retail Product Management, Buying & Merchandising’, published by Routledge, Chapter 11, P.188

Sources of Images

The window display photos were taken with my mobile phone in:

– New Bond Street, London Dec. (2018)

– Kurfurstendamm Rd in Berlin (2019)

Window Display images taken from the internet:

Blog Post 3: Lighting in Window Displays

Blog Post 3: To What Extent Does Lighting in Window Displays Help to Sell Fashion Products?

During the week of Design Sprint, I was chosen to be a team leader. We were given the exciting challenge of designing a popup store for ‘One Mile Wear’, a high-end online fashion brand, focusing on lounge wear. Our team discussed at length how lighting can be used effectively to promote products effectively. Whilst reflecting upon this, I decided to do some extra research based on how lighting in window displays can help to sell fashion products. My findings gave me some extra ideas which I could share with my team on the Design Sprint.

In ‘Retail Marketing’, (2002), Peter McGoldrick states that ‘detailed decisions on displays and their positions are the responsibility of the company’s VM (visual merchandising) department.’ Peter McGoldrick has work in the area of finance and was a lecturer at Trinity College, Dublin between 2005 and 2008.  He is now a professor of Retailing at the University of Manchester. A window display, to me, says a lot about what a store stands for and if the public can see that the window is high-tech. the connotations linked with it, will intrigue people to see what is inside as well.  When I visited Berlin in January 2019, the busiest store on Kurfstandemdamn Rd (city centre) was the Apple Store.  As stated by Virgil Abloh (highly acclaimed fashion designer), in a Louis Vuitton brochure (December 2019), designers have to ‘listen to the heartbeat of the world’. I would say this is also very true for window dressers as well. Technology is increasingly everywhere and it is now widely used as a medium for socialising and having fun.  If I were a window dresser, I would certainly be making the most out of technology to sell fashion products.

Neon, flourescent & L.E.D. lighting is a concept which has been used for many years in window displays to catch the eye of the public and therefore sell fashion products. It still does.

In my view, the brightness certainly works to sell fashion for males and females. It certainly makes me stop on the pathway and draws me in to look at the garments. When I visited Berlin (January 2019), there were very brightly lit, subtle colours as a neon lighting backdrop for the female garments and accessories in Chanel’s window displays, which may be seen below. It was very simplistic, which Chanel is renowned for doing historically.

When I visited Berlin (January 2019), there were very bright and colourful neon lighting backdrops for the female garments and accessories in Chanel’s window displays.

It certainly caught my eye, as a window shopper and it made me stop and the look at the fashion products too.  I have also been on the internet and window displays which I felt used bright, neon lighting really effectively were: Top Shop, Oxford Street, Neon Summer Window, 2018; Nike Airmax, Niketown, N.Y.C., 2019; Nike Clothing Display N.Y.C., 2019; Louis Vuitton, Florida, 2018. They all made me want to stop and look more carefully. The ‘Top Shop’ window display below makes me want to read the brightly lit captions very carefully and ponder over them. Then, after thinking about them, I would then look at the fashion products to see how they link in.

The Louis Vuitton window display below makes me want to just stop and admire the beauty and elegance. It is, in my view, very exquisite and eye-catching for any passer-by, including myself.

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The Nike window displays, to me, are very powerful. They link in with the traditional stereotype of men ideally being powerful and competitive. I especially like the display below, which implies that that a trainer is so powerful that the force of it has sped through 4 panels. The L.E.D. lighting shows the impact of this connotation very well.

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The next Nike window display below has Hypermodernism connotations, through using a green colour and using the caption ‘more air, more miles’. Green is a colour typically used by designers, when implying to a consumer that we need to be looking after our planet. Also, the caption is telling the consumer that if they buy this type of trainer that they will last a very long time and therefore subconsciously they will also be thinking they are not wasting the world’s resources too. The trainers will be classed as being sustainable fashion. In this age of Hypermodernism, we are enjoying technology but also appreciating the fact that we need to preserve the world’s natural resources too.

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So, I conclude that there are many forms of lighting which can be used creatively to entice customers into a fashion store and indeed spend money too. It is an aspect which most certainly cannot be ignored.


McGoldrick, P. (2002), ‘Retail Marketing’, Ch.12, P.474, McGraw Hill Education

Sources of Images

The window display photos were taken with my mobile phone in:

– Oxford Street, London

– Kurfurstendamm Rd, Berlin

Window Display images taken from the internet:

Blog Post 2: Richard Quinn, LFW 2019

Blog Post 2: Richard Quinn, LFW 2019

Whilst continuing with my research, I discovered in a Vogue magazine that Richard Quinn felt that his driving force with his romantic Bridal Collection was to have a maximium amount of extravagance along with minimal waste.  Richard Quinn is a designer held in high regard, winning an award from the Queen at last year’s London Fashion Week (2018). London Fashion Week is the driving force of fashion and therefore Richard Quinn’s quote will inform and influence my future fashion design work.

I personally loved the style and the gold elements of the Bridal Collection. This is something I have explored within my own textile and fashion work, when designing and constructing dresses, tops, headwear and veils.

It is certainly something I would enjoy exploring further in the future too. I also am thinking about maybe designing wedding outfits, with a difference, for female couples of the same sex. I liked the authentic feel and the gold tones mixed with whites and creams in Richard Quinn’s bridal collection. To me, just using white in female wedding garments seems outdated and inappropriate in the 21st Century. Beverly Gordon, Professor in ‘Design’ at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has stated (2011) in ‘Textiles, The Whole Story’ that ‘Christians wear white in many contexts today’ and ‘white fabric has a near-universal association with spiritual purity.’ In my opinion, this symbolism is not relevant in the western society and culture today for weddings because generations ago it used to be associated with the bride being a pure virgin.

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I am particularly inspired by Richard Quinn’s Bridal Collection because I strongly agree with his philosophy of the fact that we can still have glamour and the wow factor, whilst still being socially responsible for the planet too. So, the point he is making is that the aesthetics can remain the same but be produced in a more socially justifiable way. This is something which I intend to incorporate into my own work too. This article complements the public’s increasing awareness of being responsible for the environment and how it is likely to have a profound effect upon the manufacturing of garments in the future. This is because as a population we are moving towards a time where we are being more socially conscious about looking after the planet. Even when I go shopping now to buy gifts for people, for instance, I always think what will they use again and again, rather than buying things on impulse which can only be used occasionally.

In my opinion, Richard Quinn is clearly addressing sustainability, recycling and the circular economy in his work and therefore has created an inspirational collection with a social conscience. The ideas he has presented will influence the way that I conduct my own design work significantly. Richard Quinn is amongst many highly renowned designers who are acutely aware that they must be at the cutting edge of being socially responsible and that other designers will follow in the same ethical way. It inspires me to design and create garments where the materials have been sourced from circular economies, as well as recycling materials of my own. As London is deemed by many to be one of the greenest cities in western Europe, the U.K. ideally needs to be at the driving force with this concept in fashion too.

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So, within Richard Quinn’s Bridal Collection, the sense of escapism, with Parisian style couture, was blended with a social responsibility.  As Richard Quinn’s international reputation is growing, his prints continue to be made at his studio which is under a railway arch in Peckham. So, ethics and sustainability are central to his ethos, something which I admire and aspire to work in a similar way.

So, I conclude that through writing this blog post, it has made me reflect more deeply on Richard Quinn’s philosophies and ethics and has in turn made me think that I must enquire as to whether I can visit his studio and discuss his work and ideals with him. I will bring some of my own prints with me too, in an attempt to gain some professional feedback and advice from someone that I deeply admire, as a designer.


Gordon B. (2011), ‘Textiles, The Whole Story’, Thames & Hudson Pub. (pages 254 – 256)

Blog Post 1: New Innovative Yarns & Fabrics

Blog Post 1: New Innovative Yarns & Fabrics

Upon beginning my research, I decided to deconstruct an article called ‘Fibres and Fabrics’ written by Philippa Watkins, Spring Summer 2018, ‘Textile View’. It provides an overview of some new, innovative yarns & fabrics being produced at the moment. The article being discussed has only two pages of text, so I have decided not to include a page reference. I have chosen this article because of the public’s increasing awareness of being responsible for the environment and how I believe this will have a profound effect upon the manufacturing of materials in the future.

Philippa Watkins is a well know theorist and a lecturer at the University of South Wales. She addresses sustainability, recycling and the circular economy by discussing new innovative yarns, fabrics and zips which have been created with a social conscience. She draws attention to the fact that there are now new alternative processes in making fabrics which are more sustainable. I’ve found the ideas presented here have changed the way that I view my own work significantly. Hence, I would like to strive towards including as many elements of such processes in my own work too.

Philippa Watkins (2018) has stated, in ‘Fibres & Fabrics’, that ‘as environmental awareness grows….the industry is dedicating time and effort to find sustainable, transparent supply-chain solutions.’ She highlights how this message is being spread through highly renowned textile and fashion companies such as Gucci. Philippa Watkins draws attention to the fact that this has started with localisation, nationalisation & then globalisation.

She names fabric companies, where they are located and how they produce the yarns and fabrics in an ethical and sustainable way. She makes it clear that these processes are invisible as far as the fabrics are concerned but that they are incredibly important factors connected to climate change and fashion. So, the point she is making is that the aesthetics can remain the same but be produced in a more socially justifiable way. Hence, this is a win-win situation and one which I would like to incorporate into my work.

Philippa Watkins identifies that recycling is a huge part of creating sustainable fabrics. She combines this with the circular economy theory which is based upon recycling waste and using it for new materials. This is something which I am very conscious about and I often do it myself within my own garment making.  She mentions ’Marchi & Fildi’, who have created an ‘Ecotec’ collection of yarns made from shredded, leftover, cotton from factories. ‘Euromaglia’ and ‘Tessuti ’ (Italy), as well as ‘Marimekko’(Finland) have used these yarns, as they are renowned for searching and sourcing sustainable materials.

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Evidence she puts forward that creating new innovative yarns and fabrics can correlate with cleaning up the plastic pollution in our oceans is given when she states that a company ‘branded Seaqual’ use ‘waste which is dredged from the Mediterranean seabed’. A Spanish company called ‘Antex’ is now using the recycled ocean plastic to make yarns. Ocean pollution is another hot topic in our world at the moment. So, as Philippa Watkins states, if creating more sustainable materials can link with removing waste pollution in the oceans, it’s a winning combination. Two problems can be partially solved at the same time. This concept, to me, promotes something which is truly fresh and unique.

I have visually shown the significance of this in my garments and accessories too. As part of the Biomimicry assignment I have been doing primary research and creating watercolour paintings of sea creatures in their habitats. The design development process then involved me going onto adapting the images digitally to create new images which could be digitally transferred to fabric. As Braddock S.E. (lecturer in Textiles has said in ‘Techno Textiles’ (1998), ‘The ultimate challenge is to combine pure creativity with the computer…..aesthetic decisions can only made by the artist’. The initial watercolours and the digitally modified images were developed to create the final print which was digitally transferred to fabric, to make trousers and a hairband, which can be seen below.


This article also mentioned how hydroelectric dam generated energy and solar energy factories, in Friuli, is another way in which Botto Giuseppe manufactures yarns in a socially responsible way. These strategies save electrical energy, by using renewable sources and processes, hence being environmentally friendly.

As well as yarns and fabrics being made in an ethical way, a company called ‘Lanfranchi’ is creating zips which are made from organic cotton. A brand called ‘ Denim’(Italy) which uses 99% organic cotton and 1% elastane now use these zips as they are so eco-friendly. Indeed, as a fashion designer, this idea has significant value to my work because I want my clothing brand to be known worldwide as being a sustainable one for our planet. I will therefore endeavour to contact this company to gain an insight into how to go about sourcing their zips and using them in the garments which I design and construct. I will also talk to the company about the whole process and ethics of the zip manufacturing which they provide.

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The overall style of the article is rather formal. I feel this is effective because it bares relevance to the seriousness of this topic and how we must all strive to change our ways to provide a better future for our world. As Philippa Watkins states, high end fashion brands such as Gucci are already in partnership with fabric companies such as ‘Re.Verso’(Italy) who recycle wools and fine fibres. At a Copenhagen Fashion Summit, ‘Re. Verso’ won the Design Challenge prize. This suggests that Gucci are currently at the cutting edge of being socially responsible and that other companies will be likely to follow suit with the trend that they are setting. It also inspires me to design and create garments where the materials have been sourced from circular economies, as well as recycling materials of my own.

So, I conclude that the future of my design work will most certainly include materials which are regarded as being sustainable and have limited negative impact upon the future wellbeing of our planet. I will be researching sustainable fashion companies and going to the Denim Premier Vision event (December 2019) as a consequence of my research. In my view, this is a very contemporary and exciting area of research indeed.


Watkins, P. (2018), ‘Fibres & Fabrics’, ‘Textile View’, Issue 120 (Generosity), Pages 19 – 25

Braddock S.E. (1998), ‘Techno Textiles’, Thames & Hudson Pub. (P.166)