Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Depression Suit, Part 1

So one of the outfits I'll be working on is a "depression suit," or a suit that I hope will mimic feelings such as numbness, apathy, isolation and loss of energy that are common symptoms of depression. (This is my basic idea for the suit right now).

I'm not an expert on depression, but I've seen friends go through it, and have read others' accounts. I guess I came close to depression myself this past year, always feeling restless and frustrated and lost. I'd like to create this suit to represent those feelings, so that someone who may not know what depression is like could try on the suit and maybe feel some empathy for a condition that might be hard to understand if you haven't felt it yourself.

To help make this outfit work as well as possible, I've been searching and reading through various accounts of those who've had depression, and I'm looking into local organizations where I could contact depressed individuals about their personal experiences, so that I have a better idea of what I want my outfit to communicate.

I've already ordered a couple things to work on the suit, so I'll post more about that once they get here, because I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do yet. But to give you a hint from my search history: cold packs, plastic stuffing beads, fishing weights, weighted blankets (a treatment for autism oddly enough), asylum uniforms, circle collar jackets, beanie bags, and face cones not for dogs but for humans. Research is fun.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Getting acclimated

So now that I've been here a week, I think I've gotten used to the area and am able to start buying things to make. Turns out that shipping my sewing machine from home would be just as much as buying a new one from Amazon, so I decided to get this baby based on some online review guide: http://www.amazon.com/7258-Stylist-Award-Winning-100-Stitch-Computerized/dp/B003KK807M/ref=cm_rdp_product.

After reading several reviews on Amazon as well, this looks like a good product for the summer. It has enough stitching types that I can decorate buttonholes and hems without wasting time by hand, but it isn't complicated enough that I will need to be personally tutored for just threading the machine.

I've also checked out various stores in the area and so far my favorite is a wholesale shop on Pico Blvd,(Rimmon Imported Fabrics) about a 30 minute walk south of me in Westwood, LA. I'll be heading to the fashion district in downtown LA soon, to check out shops there, but for now I have a couple ideas for my autism dress design, which I hope to start soon. The design of the dress at this point will consist of various fabrics that overstimulate the viewer/wearer, in a tactile, visual, and auditory sense. I hope that my design will reflect the actual experience of someone with autism, based on the prevailing theory in neuroscience that autism is a result of overstimulation in the brain. I'll be talking with kids who have autism next week hopefully, to learn more of the details of what it is like.

Starting out

This will be my blog for the summer, where I'll be documenting my Neural Fashion project. The project will be my own mix of art and science, specifically neuroscience and fashion. I hope to follow the model of Helen and Kate Storey, two sisters who created a line of clothing, Primitive Streak, inspired by the first 1000 hours of human life [1]. I would like to make a clothing line from scratch to convey the humanity of neuroscience. So far, the topics I plan to cover will include depression, autism, neural conductivity, synesthesia and neuron structure.

These are two sample designs I have in mind for the project. Hopefully I'll be adding more detail over the summer. 

I chose clothing as a medium due to the ability of the wearer to interact with the clothing, and derive a more personalized meaning from the outfit. The final goal is to have clothing designs that have an educational value of a high caliber such that an MIT professor would consider using them as teaching tools in class, while maintaining an aesthetic value that they could be exhibited in a museum.

[1] Primitive Streak collection and explanation: http://www.primitive-streak.org/introduction.html