Fear & (C) loathing

Ellen McCartney

California Inst. of the Arts, BFA 1 Experience Design & Production Design Year 1

n a class titled Fear and (C)loathing, students explore five topics that trigger emotional reactions, and those responses are being expressed throughout the creation of a dress. The topics they explore are War and Sports, Biological and Artificial, Spiritual, Body Alterations and Poverty and Wealth. 

For inspiration students first look at a range of images that are associated with these topics, then they are asked to generate a ‘garment’ in response. At the end of the class, students are asked to present their work to other students and discuss.

Dress is an everyday tool we all use to transmit messages.  Some are powerful and visually clear; others are ambiguous and less clear. Understanding visual messages in clothing is as relevant as any other image to help develop empathy (emotional awareness), tolerance and understanding.  The primary goal is to help student develop a keen awareness of what others may miss in daily interactions in this time of global cultural boundary blurring. 

Through visually developing their design response, they must think, visualize and consider what the messages are. Through communication, presentation and discussion with their peers they learn if their own messages are understood. They learn practical skills in the process: materials, time management and communication.  

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