The shirts were the only items in which I had a clear vision. I brought I light blue plaid button-down I wanted to try an ombred shibori indigo-dye thing to. I rolled the shirt and sleeves separately around a piece of twine. Tied them tightly and let it soak in indigo. After about 20 minutes, I hung it to dry. After that I worked on my other shirt -a denim button-down I wanted to try a layered discharge print with PP sponging. I’d seen Yanilsa doing it to a shirt she was working on and wanted one of my own. It sounds complicated, but it looked easy enough when it was demonstrated the day before.
Be that as it may, what I envisioned and what I created were entirely different things. I won’t pretend to be the most artistically gifted person, but I swear I did everything exactly the way Yanilsa and Ryan described. But copying the experts is a great way to gain an appreciation of how good they really are. Yanilsa was a gem and offered continual encouragement, letting me know that the creative process in denim is continuous and I could always keep working on my creations -even using materials from home. I think I will. In the meantime I’m still going to wear them. It’ll be a challenge to try and see if I can make them look store bought.
The other two items were a pair of light gray jeans and a pair of dark indigo cigarette leg jeans. Both pairs of jeans linger in my closet relegated to knock-around status because I can never quite put a look together around them. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to indigo dye the gray jeans and wanted to foil at least one pair, but other than that, I was at a loss for inspiration. Yeah, I could abrade and whisker and all that good stuff, but to do something basic seemed like a wasted opportunity.
Yanilsa was great resource for inspiration and threw several ideas at me at until inspiration struck. I decided to try my hand at painting. I took a paintbrush and a cup of indigo intending to paint the entire jean to see what kind of unevenness it would create. However, after a few strokes I got lazy and started painting broken stripes. Well, I call it broken stripes, but the truth is I was running out of indigo halfway down and had to reload. At one point Ryan switched out my cup with a stronger concentration of indigo dye and my stripes got darker leaving me with a combination of light and dark stripes. I let it air dry a little then quickly dipped in indigo to give the entire a jean a light blue tint. The outcome of this jean was going to be a mystery.
The other jean was entirely my concept. I decided to create a patchwork jean. I used some of the leftover denim scraps we practiced foiling on, as well as some scraps from the recycling bin. I cut them into squares of various shapes and glued them into place. Then, I ironed on random patches of turquoise and gold foiling on top to create a patchwork foiling masterpiece. I created a similar detail on one of the back pockets for symmetry. Then cut the hems off and cuffed them. This one turned out to be my favorite of all the pieces I worked on.
By the end of the day, I really felt like a designer. Of course my two classmates were creating real masterpieces. One did a really cool discharge print on a dress by hand drawing the design with glue and dipping it in indigo. The other created a cool pair of painters shorts using different colors smudged along the sides and seams.
Overall it was a fantastic and fascinating experience that I would recommend to anyone that is interested in apparel, whether denim or otherwise. Having a resource like BPD Washhouse where you can learn basic techniques or create new ones, without a doubt, has immense value to the industry. I wore my broken striped jeans a few days ago. I love them. Who knows, maybe one day as I'm wearing them on the streets of Soho, a young designer will take notice and try to recreate them at the very place they were developed.