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Title: The modern woman's business suit : an investigation into incorporating freedom of movement in the block-pattern construction for soft-tailored mass-produced womenswear
Author: Steinmetz, Martina
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2012
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This study is situated in the field of garment construction for mass-produced womenswear, as it is the repeatable and time and cost sufficient method of flatpattern construction. In Europe the mass production of womenswear dates from the post World War 2 period. In the 1950s, traditional menswear was adapted and simplified for female customers. As part of the mass production process, garments were constructed on a rectangular pattern base, (as seen in the menswear 'sack' shape in use from the early twenty century onwards) to support the efficient production of the different steps of the industrial production process. When the Italian designer Giorgio Armani developed jackets in 1975 based on the traditional menswear silhouette but without the stiff plastron (interlining) of menswear tailoring he softened the design of formal attire for both men and women. This silhouette and method of construction had a lasting influence. Even though this 'soft-tailoring' originated for high fashion, it freed women from the restrictiveness of the formal stiffened tailoring techniques. It is now commonplace in manufacturing in contemporary mass-market womenswear. Nevertheless, the flat-pattern construction of mass-produced women's business-wear itself is restrictive to the full range of basic body movements. Despite the growing number of technical inventions supporting the industrial production processes serving the purpose of reduction in cost and manufacturing time, no obvious attempts have been undertaken to consider today's lifestyle of constant travel and transit. The active body movements which are involved in travelling and transit situations have not been considered when optimising the fit of formal garments. These not only have to fit the upright standing body, but the body performing movements and therefore should not restrict body movement. The design of mass-market womenswear consists of three areas in which style decisions can be made: the choice of fabric, the use of colour and the choice of the silhouette of the flat-pattern construction together with the positioning of panels, pleats or darts and additional design elements such as the collar style, pockets, cuffs and fastening. In the context of mass-production, the choice of fabric and colour is very important, but far less attention is paid to the design of the pattern construction. This research project combines theory and practice research as it approaches the method of flat-pattern cutting for mass-market woven women's business-wear from a historical angle with giving reason for the necessity of modernizing formal womenswear for contemporary standards of life. The practice-based component targets the basic movements which are involved in every-day life, sets them in relation to flat-pattern cutting systems used in the industry and in education, and targets the widening of the range of movement in woven women's business-wear through adding elements to the block-pattern construction which are inspired by traditional sports- and dancewear. The practical body of work aims to renew the traditional construction principles of flat-pattern construction in order to inform about the possibilities of supporting the performance of every-day movements as an integrated part in the deSign process of womenswear.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fashion Design (Womenswear) ; Clothing/Fashion Design