Further Research for Semester 2

The below in particular is working towards objectives, 1, 2 and 3.

I have been unable to cover all of the research which I had intended to cover throughout this semester. I do not feel that this has been down to poor time management however, I feel it has been more to do with the amount of contextual research and theoretical perspectives that I have needed to be aware of, along with a wealth of practical exploratory work. I do not feel at this stage I have enough time to finish these elements of research competently, and to the highest standard, and therefore feel it is best to wait to work on these until post-semester 1 hand in. I will begin to work on these post-hand in and going into semester 2, alongside itinerary planning for my field-research trip to Tokyo. Again with this, I have had to contact organisations to enable to secure meetings to work around in relation to itinerary. The below will help also with my research trip and in particular when speaking with Beauty Editors at Vogue Japan.

I have also noted people I would still like to contact prior to my research trip, and again will begin to work on this immediately after hand-in to ensure enough time is allowed for in regards to international communication and contingency plans regarding this.

  • Vogue December UK and Vogue Japan October article analysis in the aim of understanding how the articles, models, products and copywriting may influence perceptions of women in a certain way
  • Vogue Japan analysis on articles related to social media/fashion and beauty bloggers/associated culture
  • Content comparison – brands, designers, products, trends (the same monthly issue will be used to do this)
  • Amount of Japanese models featured on average per Vogue Japan issue, opposed to Western
  • Vogue Japan and UK Media Pack analysis
  • Male Perception issues in relation to my research topic (feedback from professional context presentation 2)
  • Japanese beauty and culture in comparison to western cultures and ideals
  • Japanese averages and ideas in comparison to UK (elaboration on previous analysis work featured on blog in relation to this)
  • Japanese bloggers whom may be available for an interview in Tokyo, or via a digital questionnaire
  • B-EAT and APPG in relation to policies and guidelines supporting positive body image in the noted industries, as well as how policies are created and passed, working towards objectives 3 and 5.
  • I would also like to go through my original bibliography included with my proposal, in order to visit texts not covered due to new topics and research arising.

In relation to the above, points noted with ‘Vogue’ will also be carried out on my field-research trip on comp shops, looking at what products are for sale in the UK and in Japan, i.e. skin lightening products – are these also available in the UK from the same brands as in Japan (often Western) or simply only from Japanese brands due to changes in culture? These are the sort of investigations I plan on carrying out to work towards answering my research topic and objectives.

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Research Methods 1 Reflection

This module has allowed for various objectives to be worked towards and learning objectives to be met, whilst working towards my objectives in relation to my research topic.

This module has allowed for me to research into:

  • Topics within the Professional Context module
  • Topics/processes related with Practice and Professional Development
  • Theoretical Perspectives
  • Technological Advances
  • Industry Contacts – New and Existing
  • Contextual Information
  • Quantitive and Qualitative Data
  • Cross-Cultural/Cultural Perspectives

This has been done via the below methodologies:

  • Literature
  • Online Sources; particularly for sourcing new contacts/links, policies related to practice/statistics, facts, etc
  • Instagram and Social Media, i.e. YouTube, Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Freelance Clients
  • Contacting existing Contacts both Nationally and Internationally
  • Phonecalls
  • Practice based Researched: Making, Workshop Staff and Resources; Digital (CAD, Graphic Design), Print (Graphic Design, Screen Printing), Hands-on (Metal Work, Clay Work, Silicone Moulds, Laser Cutting, Book Binding)
  • Questionnaire’s and Ethics Policy
  • Critical-design (used throughout exploratory practical work, discussed in separate post)
  • Documentaries
  • Magazines

Going forwards I will use the following methodologies in addition to work towards achieving my objectives, whilst exploring a range of research methods to gain both quantitive and qualitative data:

  • Interviews
  • Further Questionnaires
  • Meetings with Organisations regarding policies
  • Field-research (technologies, visual, publications, copywriting, photography, etc) on both a National and International basis (London and Tokyo)

I feel this module I have had to the groundwork in regards to contacting those needed to gain the best research to work towards answering my goals, such as speaking with Vogue (objective 3) and both British and Japanese students (objective 1.A, 1.B, 3). Once these are arranged I would then in semester 2, like to set for measurable goals allowing for quantifiable data, such as, I am to speak with both Vogue UK and Vogue Japan, and aim to carry out questionnaire’s or interviews with at least 10 females from both the UK and Japan, in order to achieve this. More on this specifically can be found here.

I have found researching into key theoretical perspectives to be key to working towards my goals and objectives, and have found that my practice informs my research, and in turn, my research also informs my practice. This has been made most prominent via using a critical-design led approach to research using Instagram as a platform of communication for initial research, thoughts and findings. Feedback and engagement from such posts were received and analysed in turn directing future research and future directions of practical work also. This is evidently seen with the Instagram Post (objective 4.A) and Poster/Promo Pack projects (4.C), whilst being in mind with the Social Media Wellbeing Campaign   (objective 4.B). Furthermore, practice led research has also taken form of methods such as experimenting with aesthetics, booking binding processes, print methods and stocks, for example in order to develop ideas and practical work going forwards in semester 2.

I found however, as noted in my first professional context presentation that, I had researched into many theories and had to narrow down to find the key theories which really underpin my practice, my professional context and the interdisciplinary artists of collaboration. I found this process useful, as I am aware of many different key ideologies and perspectives in relation to my research topic which may be required at a later date, and also are good to be aware of for thorough critical analysis and reflection, whilst posing good for debate and ideas generation. Going forwards, I would like to keep using the key theories noted in my professional context presentation and report, and would like to also look at these from different perspectives following feedback, i.e. male perceptions, and as recently discussed in a post regarding Brittany Rhodes, female body builders. Discussing different perspectives as of that of Brittany Rhodes has been discussed in detail on a previous blog post specifically related to this, however have found that being open-minded to different perspectives has allowed for more doors and opportunities open in regards to objectives 1, 3 and 4. This as noted, has allowed for a different perspective to be considered in regard to my research question, noting a huge fitness trend surging the UK currently, with gym wear also become more readily available in ‘fashion retailers’ deeming it now fashionable to work out and go to the gym. Therefore, these perspectives have allowed me for the reflect on both my practice and research to date.

Working towards objectives, 1, 2, 3 and 5, I have used industry links and new contacts as discussed to secure meetings and interviews for semester 2. I have found that contacting individuals, organisations and HE institutions in both the UK and Japan have been invaluable and have led to further contacts being formed, whilst also allowing for problem solving with some organisations, i.e. Vogue UK being extremely hard to make contact with. This has been solved through perseverance and also attempting different methods of contact – phone, email, linkedin. This was also the case for Vogue Japan with no direct contact information being readily available to the public. I did call the Conde Nast International office, whom gave me a direct phone number for Vogue in Tokyo, however could not get through. Through further online research, I found 2 contacts which I emailed, and have since been in contact with the PA to the CEO of Conde Nast Japan and a Beauty Editor. I have found that at first, attempting to make contacts such as this in an aim to work towards my objectives, quite daunting and time consuming, however gained confidence in doing this throughout the process, becoming much more comptentant in relaying my research question and needs to the individual being spoken to. I have also accounted for the possibility of a translator being need in Japan, therefore making additional industry contacts through existing links. I have also found existing and new freelance clients to be of use also towards working toward the objectives noted above. Going forward I would like to contact organisations and charities such as B-EAT and the APPG, in regards to objectives 2, 3 and 5.

In order to carry out the above however, the LCA ethics policy has been of most importance whilst deigning and planning my research studies, as well as writing a consent form and information sheet to be distributed to participants in due course. These have currently been sent to those who are being interviewed early in semester 2 (January) for forward planning, and have undergone ethical checks by both my tutor and the course leader. This way of working/research has not been something I have had to do before, i.e. working on consent forms and information sheets, however have found this good practice, and has also enabled my participants to fully understand the project, their role, pros, cons and details on data use, confidentiality and assessment for example. Going forwards this is something that I will do prior to starting research.

Going forwards I would like to use the noted methodologies as noted above, whilst further reflecting on Karen’s lecture series regarding research methods and ethics which I feel have really supported my own research and work throughout this semester. In addition to this, I will also be undertaking two field-research trips to both London and Tokyo in January in order to gain different perspectives, insights and both comparable and quantifiable data, in aim of working towards objectives 1 – 4 specifically. Evidence of this can be found throughout my blog in regards to planning and itineraries for London in particular, whilst beginning to cover the ground work for Japan also. I have not had time to complete all of my research surrounding my itinerary or cover as much contextual information as I had hoped and plan on continuing this over christmas and into semester 2 in order to further work towards my objectives also.

Below shows the learning objectives for this particular module, and feel through my on-going blog (research journal), presentations and report to date that I have evident objectives 7A6, 7B4, 7C2, 7D4, competently in relation to my practice, professional context and research question.

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Tote Bags

This is working towards objective 4.C.

As noted in a previous post in regards to the “what’s my name again?” promotional pack, tote bags were being experimented with using Dylon dye, and I explained why I was unhappy with the outcome in regards to uneven colour coverage and shrieked bags due to canvas being so absorbent. I noted I wanted to try dying bags again however using cotton based totes instead, or purchase pre-dyed bags. I have not however had time to do so this semester, and will do this when refining and developing concept and designs in semester 2. I also want to experiment more with the colours of vinyl being used, or perhaps screen print due to the lip colour being much lighter than desired however this is due to the limitations of the suppliers. I do however feel that this is why on the coloured bags the aesthetic is not quite as I would like. By screen printing this would alleviate such issues, however having so many alignment issues when screen printing posters at the beginning of the semester, I would like to speak with a technician in regards to the best approach prior to preparing designs and exposing screens etc. It may even be that the totes are best being digitally printed and hand sewn which could take form of a collaboration if I do not feel I could do this myself.

The below image shows dyed tote bags as discussed above, and will not be submitted in my portfolio for submission.

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Below shows colour vinyl experiments on natural canvas tote bags which have not been dyed. I think that the material does look too natural for the design and aesthetic desired, however I feel using a black canvas bag may alleviate some of these issues.

For submission I have complied a promotional pack to include in my portfolio and noted that I do feel the light pastel colour of the packs clashes with the tote bag canvas, and therefore a black tote bag would resolve this problem, whilst also highlighting the darker detailing and depth in the design work.

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Below shows the two tote bags which will be submitted for submission, one taking the form of a promotional pack, the other being stand alone. These two have been chosen being the closest to what I had envisioned in regards to design, composition and vinyl colour selection.

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MA Creative Practice: Objectives & Aims – Reflection/Progress

At the start of the semester I set myself several objectives to work towards in resolving my working research topic. I have discussed how I have been and will continue to work towards these throughout my report, however due to the word limit do not feel as though I managed to cover everything I have achieved to date or that I am currently working towards/planning for semester 2.

I have reflected on each objective which can be seen below.

Objectives and goals:

  1. To understand the ways in which Social Media and Magazines can affect self-perceptions and issues:

A) With body image (Females, 18-24)/With body image on a cross-cultural scale (Females, 18-24; Tokyo, Japan).

I am to speak with both Vogue UK and Vogue Japan, and aim to carry out questionnaire’s or interviews with at least 10 females from both the UK and Japan, in order to gain quantifiable data.

In relation to the above objective I feel as though I have researched heavily into self-perceptions and social media and perhaps need to spend more time researching magazines in as much depth, however as the fashion and beauty industries are becoming more digital, social media has been a more current point of research. I have began contacting course leaders of various, relevant fashion programmes at the following HE institutions in the UK after being unsuccessful in making contact with HE institutions in Tokyo – Leeds University, Leeds Beckett, CSM and Manchester Met in regards to objective 1.A. The aim of this is to obtain both British and Japanese contacts from fashion courses whom may be interested in completing a digital questionnaire in regards to my research topic in the hope of gaining an insight into cross-cultural influences. I plan on collating a series of data from at least 10 British and Japanese females between the ages of 18-24 in order to gather and analyse measurable and comparable research.

In addition, I have began speaking with both Vogue in the UK and in Japan in regards to obtaining quantifiable and comparable data in regards to obecjtive 1.B.

Going forwards, I plan on contacting bloggers both in the UK, USA and in Tokyo in regards to obtaining research working towards objective 1.A. and 1.B. I hope to also secure further meetings/interviews with bloggers and if possible hope to contact further magazines and brands, time permitting to gain further professional perspectives.

Should the need arise for a translator arise, I have made links through a contact at Tokyo Disney with a local translator who will be called upon.

I have also secured an interview with Brittany Rhodes, a competitive female body builder of 24 years, in order to gain a different perspective on my research topic.

In addition to objective 1.A. I am undertaking a research trip to both London (7th/8th Jan 2017) and Tokyo (16th-23rd Jan 2017) in order to gain comparable and measurable visual data and field-research. Methodologies will include looking at AD Campaigns of Western brands for example Chanel and Topshop, in order to see how these are promoted in the East for example, in order to see if the same models are used and what language is used. This will allow me to see if influences such as this can affect the perceptions of those in Japan being exposed to foreign visuals of cultural icons and western celebrities for example. A list of stores to be covered for research can be seen on my London itinerary, I will be working on my Tokyo itinerary in semester 2 once I have finished contacting people and finalised a weekly plan. In addition, I will being using my secondary research to inform my primary field-research, i.e. looking at recent technologies such as the Shiseido Makeup Mirror. I plan on visiting the Flagship store in order to speak with staff about such advances and their customers feedback, whilst also seeing if such technologies are available for the same brands in the UK. A full list of measurable methodologies can be found here; 

  • Visual Research
  • Comp Shopping
  • Verbal Research: Interviews/Focus Groups
  • Publication (Magazine) Research
  • Technological Advances
  1. To understand policies and guidelines within the Fashion and Beauty Industries currently encouraging positive body image.

I have researched into the policies of charities such as B-EAT, as discussed in depth in both my report, and in my first professional context presentation, however, industry links have secured a meeting with ASOS’ Corporate Responsibility and Design teams in order to gain a better understanding on their Model Welfare Policy, working towards both objective 2 and 5. In support of this, and to add context to my research, I have also secured interviews with two models working in industry to gain their insight on my research topic, whilst discussing whether or not such policies would be of benefit and feasible to the industry to further help with research working towards objective 2 and 3.

  1.  To work with and interview those both actively working in the Fashion and Beauty Industries, and those on a consumer/follower/user basis, to compare behaviours and perspectives in relation to body image and self-perceptions.

As noted above I have confirmed meetings with two models working in industry to gain a different perspective of research working towards objective 2 and 3. I have also began using industry links and relevant freelance clients in regard to interview working towards objective 3. As also noted above, I have began contacting HE institutions in the UK to reach both British and Japanese females between the ages of 18-24 to obtain quantifiable research working towards objective 3. This is in the aim of comparing data with those working in Industry, i.e. models and Vogue. I have also planned to speak with Toni Hollowell a practitioner whom works within the same subject area as my research question, and hope to gain insight into similar perspectives and practical works.

  1. To prototype a range of design work targeted at 18-24 year old women, highlighting impacts of Social Media and Magazines on self-perceptions and body image, for example:

A) Critical Design led Instagram posts

B) Social media wellbeing campaign

C) Promotional posters and packs

D) Zines and publications

All of the above 4.A – D. have been achieved throughout this semester, and going forwards would like to develop and refine my ideas, whilst finding more ways of gaining quantifiable and measurable data in regards to working towards answering my research topic. I have found 1.A. in particular most useful to my practice throughout this semester, allowing for Dunne and Raby’s critical-design theory approach to be used throughout allowing for work to be promoted, ideas to be shared and feedback to be gathered. The feedback received however was more a general positive reception for the design and concept, opposed to being as critical as needed for future development. This is something I would like to address holding crit groups, and testing the work with focus groups (females 18-24) for example. 

Objective 4.D. was achieved twice, once in combination with objective 4.C, and the other an additional project being a collaboration with Leeds-based practitioner Bobbi Rae. I found working with Bobbi to be refreshing, adding new ideas and perspectives to a pre-determined concept.

Going forwards, I have been in discussion with Brittany Rhodes, in regards to running community workshops and motivational talks regarding positive body image, and perhaps using this as an educational strategy to speak with HE institutions and local councils, encouraging a more proactive, charity/organisational approach to raising awareness opposed to being graphic design led. One of my main reasons for doing the MA is to find a way to help people through design and creative communications, and feel there is a way to do this within the community whilst being of relevance to my practice whilst working towards objective 4.

I also plan on collaborating with Leeds-based commercial photographer Scarlett Carson in the aim of producing an editorial campaign working towards objective 4. This was originally planned for semester 1, however due to time constraints has been put on hold.

  1. To derive a National or International Policy for use within the Fashion and Beauty Industries, based on collated research, interviews and experiences throughout this project.

Objective 5 is yet to be started, due to needing to finish collating research and completing objectives 1 -4 prior to doing so.

I feel throughout this semester I have made good progress on working towards these objectives, whilst also highlighting future directions for development and interviews allowing for current and primary research to be carried out in support of my findings so far. I have found that my objectives haven’t changed, however have become more interlinked due to practice and research being so heavily connected throughout this semester. As noted above, I would like to now go on to speaking with more people, in order to answering my research topic with more rigour. I would also like to work on more ways to gain feedback and quantifiable data from my target audience whilst in Tokyo. I would also like to begin making contact with the APPG for example, in order to find out whom I will need to talk to in regards to my policy proposal (objective 5) which I am working towards in order to gain feedback on this at a later date. I have found that throughout my research to date, I have been focused on my objectives and research question, however, have found that I have had to do a lot of background work to now be in a position to begin to research Japanese culture in more detail, now being aware of different theories and professional perspectives on the topic at hand. I feel that this will benefit me going forwards whilst undertaking primary research, whilst also working towards the above objectives.

These are the objectives that I will continue to work towards throughout this project.

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BBC Newsbeat: “Breast enlargement advert is banned because it ‘could cause harm to teenagers'”

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This TV advert from Transform (TFHC Ltd) featured UK based fashion blogger Sarah Ashcroft (21 years old) talking about how she didn’t like her body, or feel confident prior to having a breast augmentation and stated that she, “never really looked at any part of my body past my neck because it wasn’t something I liked.” It has since been banned by the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) for promoting negative changes and thoughts in viewers in regards to their body image. The advert was first aired nationally in May 2016, and is now banned.

The video post-surgery shows Sarah saying, “I feel like a new person, from having nothing to then looking at yourself with boobs, it was the weirdest thing. Everyone was like ‘Wow, they look so natural, I’m so impressed.’ And to come away from it feeling 10 times more confident than you were, I think, is just an amazing feeling.”

The article noted that “one viewer complained that the advert exploited young women’s insecurities about their bodies by implying that breast-enhancement surgery would make them more confident and popular” resonating with my research topic and the research carried out to date regarding social media and the rise of bloggers in particular having an influence on our self-perceptions. I feel that this is a poor act of the beauty industry with the clinic, TFHC Ltd claiming that Sarah Ashcroft is a role model being a “representative of many independently-minded, responsible, thoughtful, sophisticated and successful young females who chose to undergo cosmetic surgery”.

At 21, I do not feel as though she should be relaying such messages to a broad audience whereby negative impacts may be made on others. In addition, this shows the power of the media, and how someone at 21 feels the need to have a breast augmentation to feel accepted, falling in line with Tajfel and Turner’s (1986) Social Identity theory. Feeling out-group has perhaps encouraged behavioural and ‘negative changes’ for Sarah, allowing for her to feel in-group, confident and accepted.

The ASA noted the focus of the advert might encourage younger viewers to think about their own body insecurities and make viewers believe that her popularity, fame and success as a fashion blogger was due to cosmetic surgery – “Although Ms Ashcroft’s was a personal story, we considered that the ad suggested more generally that success and popularity would be enhanced by achieving an idealised body image, which could be done by ‘correcting’ any perceived imperfections. In light of those factors, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and likely to cause harm to those under 18. We told TFHC to take care to ensure their service was advertised in a socially responsible way that was not likely to cause harm to those under 18 years of age.”

I feel that this really shows how powerful the blogger culture and social media world can be, and how much influence they can have on their following and the public alike. I have touched on plastic surgery and non-permanent surgery throughout my research in relation to social media, icons, bloggers and self-perception theory, and feel that this again sings in tune. By the public viewing such forms of prescribed and dictating content on a daily or regular basis, through TV adverts, social media and magazines alike, one can begin to internalise such ideals and begin to form distorted perceptions of themselves (Bem, 1972), and feel it is positive that advertising agencies such as the ASA, similar to ClearWater, are engaging with the beauty and fashion industry also.

Source:
Newsbeat. (2016). “Breast enlargement advert is banned because it ‘could cause harm to teenagers'”. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/36722887/breast-enlargement-advert-is-banned-because-it-could-cause-harm-to-teenagers. Last Accessed: 4th December 2016.
Turner, J. C., & Tajfel, H. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. Psychology of intergroup relations, 7-24.
Bem, D. J. (1972). Self-perception theory. Advances in experimental social psychology6, 1-62.
Dove. (2013).

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Blogger Culture: “Fashion and Celebrity Culture” by Pamela Church Gibson (2013)/Vuelio UK Bloggers Survey 2016

This is working towards objective 1 and 4.

In support of my research and prototyping work to date surrounding the ideas of Instagram and blogger culture, I wanted to support this further with literature on such rise in phenomenon, as I feel as though I have looked at this subject matter more theoretically and practically, to date opposed to in regards of literature. Blogging culture has encompassed topics discussed throughout my Instagram Post project using a critical-design theory approach to stimulating opinions and provoking thoughts based on assumptions of the industry.

I feel that the texts and information shown below evidence the rise in blogging culture within the fashion and beauty industries, hence why choosing such subject matter to be discussed.

The following extracts of literature taken from ‘Fashion and Celebrity Culture’ by Gibson, F (2012), summarises how bloggers have now almost gained celebrity status in some cases, and in return the media has “adapted to [this] and reflect the world of celebrity dominance” (p.126). In addition, it is noted that, “in an era of endlessly circulating images of young women, largely presented directly to and looked at by other young women, the traditional theoretical arguments of the ‘the gaze’ (Berger 1972; Mulvey 1975; Doane 1982) are no longer relevant; they depend upon the presented dominance of the male gaze behind a camera” suggesting that the one in charge of critique and judgement has changed to become more broad and general in a sense of men and women – “Mulvey’s original argument that men and women are looked at – while battered by barrage of critique … still stands, albeit with a few bullet holes through it, in the world of fashion [and beauty]” (Edwards, 2010, p.156). This has been seen throughout my research and practical work to date looking at the impacts of social media of those who post the photos causing ‘cheapened experiences’ and competitive behaviour between social groups in order to find their social identity and feel confident with their self-perception. This has also been heavily reflected through my practical work aimed at unravelling Bem’s (1972) self-perception theory in relation to my practice and research question. The idea of judging our self-perception based on third-party views is resonant within blogger culture, relating back to the comments surrounding the gaze noted by Gibson, F (2012) showcasing how these theories are intertwined in regards to Instagram for example, having a International affect and impact upon viewers/followers.

The below also summarises what I have noted throughout my report and research to date in the sense that, the internet and social media allows for instant access for one to be apart of a community, opposed to ‘viewing it’ only as in magazines (Gibson, F, 2012, P.135).

 

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I found the above excerpt (p.136) interesting in the sense that Gibson references a 9-year-older blogger whose fame rose through the internet as is now seen as somewhat of a celebrity herself being invited to exclusive events. Again I feel that this is down to accessibility, magazines allow for readers to view articles and images, whilst social media allows those as young as 5 as seen in a previous post regarding a child Instagram beauty blogger Makayla Starr, to be apart of such communities and cultures. This I feel as discussed in depth previously in my research, has big impacts on one’s self-awareness and self-perceptions as highlighted through Freud and Lacan’s Mirror Stage theory (1949), whilst also in my opinion, posing as a negative impact on behaviour through social media.

 

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With the first fashion blog launching online in 2003 (Gibson, F, 2012, p.135) over the past 14 years, the blogging world surrounding the beauty and fashion industries has taken off, with Vuelio conducting a National Blogger Survey earlier this year (2016) working with over 534 UK bloggers alone, to explore this culture, purpose and reception in detail (Vuelio, 2016, p.17). It was stated that 77% of all bloggers are female, and within this  27% of those are bloggers within the beauty and fashion industries (Vuelio, 2016, p.3-5). I feel that this statistic alone encompasses the power of such female blogger culture, with lifestyle as a theme being next ranked with 27%, followed by parenting/family at 11%, showing dominance of such stereotypical markets (Vuelio, 2016, p.5-6.).

Even though this survey only covers UK bloggers, I feel that this shows on a national basis how such a large amount of users may work on personal or professional beauty/fashion blogs, which may in turn have negative behavioural changes. In addition, even though these are ‘UK bloggers’ unlike magazines, blogs are available internationally online and therefore show in context how this could be damaging collated with further blogs from around the world.

I feel that such quantitive information can only help with working towards my research topic and objectives, whilst going forwards, I would like to have a look at similar surveys from Japan in order to gain comparable data working towards objective 1.A and 1.B., whilst also adding further context to my research prior to visiting Tokyo for field-research and interviews with Vogue magazine to understand this further on a cross-cultural scale. This will also help when speaking with Japanese females between the ages of 18-24 in the UK, whilst the information noted above will be of help when speaking to UK females between the ages of 18 – 24 retrospectively, working towards objective 3. In support of this, I would also like to contact both UK and Japan based bloggers to collate further research using the same comparative and quantifiable methodologies as discussed above.

 

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Source:
Bem, D. J. (1972). Self-perception theory. Advances in experimental social psychology6, 1-62.
Gibson, F (2012). Fashion and Celebrity Culture. London: Berg by Bloomsbury. P.126, 135, 136, 248.
Lacan, A.. (1949). The Mirror Stage as the Formative Function of the I as revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience. Available: http://faculty.wiu.edu/D-Banash/eng299/LacanMirrorPhase.pdf. Last Accessed: 3rd November 2016.
Vuelio. (2016). UK Bloggers Survey. P. 3, 4, 5, 10, 17.

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BBC Documentary: Get Muscly In A Month/Interview: Why More Young Women are Body Building with Brittany Rhodes/Future Plans

This is working towards objective 1, 3, 4 and 5.

I came across this short documentary on the BBC, and discovered that a friend, Brittany Rhodes was one of the main participants, being interviewed by Adele Roberts regarding her career as a female body builder. I was really surprised to see Britt on the TV and, since this has aired has nearly reached 10k followers on her Instagram.

I found this documentary interesting as it gave a different perspective in relation to the media an body image/self-perception issues regarding my research topic. Different perspectives of this is also something which I was made aware of during feedback for my 2nd professional context presentation, and it was suggested to look at male perceptions. This is something I am going to look into in semester 2, however took this also, as a different perspective being still related to my research topic, but entering the world of fitness and gym culture, which is popular with both males and females across the UK. It appears that women such as Britt are not going to gym now to lose weight and maintain a super-skinny physique, rather now going to build strength and definition through weight training.

Britt noted in the documentary that, “I was a size zero. I wanted to actually have that curvy figure and that’s why I got into training” and feels as though this new culture has given women empowerment: “I think for girls, lifting weights feel good. Now they’ve got empowerment – they don’t need a man for money”. I found this interesting as the social media I have focused on has mainly given women empowerment through consumerism, opposed to fitness, and as I do not go to the gym myself, was unaware of how popular this culture has become. Britt also noted that she feels the trend started in the US via social media platform, Instagram, whereby she first saw women within the movement online, and saw this as motivation to better herself, feel confident and happy with her body.

The main difference between Britt’s perspective and that of the bloggers for example analysed throughout my research to date such as Sarah Gonzalez, is that Britt has done this for herself to feel happy, confident and change her life for the better, using Instagram now as a motivation platform for her followers, launching a new career as a PT whilst competing, whilst others, as noted, have used this platform and their bodies to make money becoming marketing commodities and objects through self-objectification, social identity issues and self-perception issues. I found this to be inspirational in Britt’s case, and feel more women should use Instagram as a platform to promote positive and healthy body image be it competitive body building or simply average women promoting healthy and active lifestyles, opposed to showcasing and encouraging unattainable ideals.

Screenshots from the documentary and interview excerpts from BBC Newsbeat are shown below for additional context:

 

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“I was a size zero. I wanted to actually have that curvy figure and that’s why I got into training.”

“I think for girls, lifting weights feel good. Now they’ve got empowerment – they don’t need a man for money.”

“I work a 50 hour week as a recruitment consultant. I get up at 4am to go to the gym and then go again after work. I think there’s enough hours in the day for anyone to achieve whatever they want – and not just in fitness.”

“If you set a goal, start with 30 days then move onto 60 days – your body can change a lot. It can be done if you stick to the right diet and right training.”

“If you train smartly then you’re not going to get a big chest. Lifting weights is not going to make you look like a man.”
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Since the documentary aired, I have met up with Britt as I will be working on her personal branding for her PT business, blog and website. Furthermore, this led to discussion of my MA and the relevance of her sport and my practice. Britt has agreed to take part in an interview for research in semester 2, whilst also discussing the option of teaming up to promote positive body image utilising her ever growing following and our joint contacts. We have discussed the idea of setting up community based positive body image workshops, for both males and females to encourage body confidence and positive self-perceptions, educating participants on the media, social media, magazines and fitness in relation to this. We both want to use our professional practices to help others, share a message and engage with a community, and feel together this could be possible. This will be looked into much more heavily in semester 2.

In addition, Britt has since shared some one my social media wellbeing campaign posters via Facebook to let her following that we are planning exciting and positive projects for 2017. I really appreciated this, as allowed for feedback from a different audience as shown on the screenshot above, with a follower commenting claiming that sometimes she feels this way too, and perhaps is unaware of why. I really feel positive about the joint projects going forward, and can really feel that by working together this could be really successful and beneficial to the community. I also really appreciated the feedback, as allowed me to see that the concept of this project works and is engaging when posted in the right environment – hence the Facebook and social media development of this project in the future, working towards objective 4.B.

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Source:
BBC & Roberts, A. (2016). Get Muscly In A Month. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p04gr9vy/get-muscly-in-a-month. Last accessed 3rd December 2016.
Rhodes, B (2016) BBC Newsbeat: Why More Women are Body Building. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/38184412/why-more-young-women-are-body-building. Last accessed 3rd December 2016.
Facebook (2016) Available at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157772910090043&set=a.10151337429050043.816310.760035042&type=3&theater. Last Accessed: 5th December 2016

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Reflection on Dunne and Raby: Critical Design in Relation to my Creative Practice

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“What is Critical Design?
Critical Design uses speculative design proposals to challenge narrow assumptions, preconceptions and givens about the role products play in everyday life. It is more of an attitude than anything else, a position rather than a method. There are many people doing this who have never heard of the term critical design and who have their own way of describing what they do. Naming it Critical Design is simply a useful way of making this activity more visible and subject to discussion and debate.

What are its main relatives?
Activism
Cautionary Tales
Conceptual Design
Contestable Futures
Design Fiction
Interrogative Design
Radical Design
Satire
Social Fiction
Speculative Design”

The above is an extract taken from Dunne and Raby’s website, explaining what critical design is and it’s main associates. I came across this whilst searching for the above photo to place on my submission boards. I found it interesting that ‘satire’ was included in this list being the underlying tone of voice throughout my practical work to date, including the zines, instagram posts, wellbeing campaign and promotional packs, working towards objective 4A-D.

I feel that the critical-design approach has allowed for my initial idea of producing work to stimulate thought and conversation, much more focused being designed with this purpose in mind. This approach has allowed for feedback from my target audience (females, 18-24), working towards objective 1.

Through research, I also noted another practitioner whom works with critical-design approaches, Toni Hollowell noted throughout my research and report to date. Hollowell uses more of UI approach to the work/exhibition of reference, shown below. This is something which in Semester 2 I would like to explore. I did originally plan on working on a life-size Barbie doll project which would reflect real women and ideal women as branded dolls in an exhibit environment, however due to projects developing and collaborations taking place, as well as a wealth of research I have not had time throughout semester 1 to explore this. This is something I would like to work on going forwards.

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In this vein, I would still like to continue to work with critical-design as I feel it works well with my target audience as shown to date through feedback on my Instagram account – instagram.com/muntyandanielle

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I found that this feedback is mainly good for direction of aesthetics/topic of Instagram posts for example, due to most reaction to Kylie Cosmetics related posts, whilst being good for general feedback on concept and idea. However, I did find that even when questions were posed, more ‘likes’ were received than answers given, and found that this may not be the best approach to gaining quantifiable data working towards objective 1 solely, and will also need to carry out interviews, questionnaires and focus groups accordingly.

Sources:
http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/content/bydandr/13/0  Last Accessed: 2nd December 2016
http://events.arts.ac.uk/event/2016/11/10/Beauty-HACKS/?_ga=1.159840061.1610888711.1468174710 Last Accessed: 25th November 2016
https://www.instagram.com/p/BNVsYiehmjb/?taken-by=muntyandanielle Last Accessed: 5th December 2016
https://www.instagram.com/p/BK1oQoiBUet/?taken-by=muntyandanielle Last Accessed: 5th December 2016
https://www.instagram.com/p/BKwYt0jhAqx/?taken-by=muntyandanielle Last Accessed: 5th December 2016

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Organisations and Charities supporting Positive Body Image within the Fashion Industries

This is working towards objective 1, 2, 3 and 5.

Further information on further organisations and charities supporting positive body image within the fashion and beauty industries that I would like to contact in semester 2, in order to obtain information about their policies and guidelines.

UK All Parliamentary Group on Body Image (APPG)

“To provide a cross-party forum for MPs to conduct an inquiry and monitor on an ongoing basis the causes of body image anxiety. To explore what steps can be taken to promote body confidence, working with advertisers, the media, fashion industry and youth organisations.”

The Model Alliance US

“Model Alliance, a not-for-profit organization (application for recognition of 501(c)(3) status pending), with the assistance of fellow models.  Our goal is to work with progressive modeling agencies to give models in the U.S. a voice in their workplace and organize to improve their basic working conditions in what is now an almost entirely unregulated industry.” (Ziff, F, 2012)

 

Sources:

UK Parliament. (2015). Register Of All-Party Groups. Available: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/body-image.htm. Last Accessed: 29th November 2016.
Ziff, S. (2012). Introductory Note. The Model Alliance. Available: http://modelalliance.org/introductory-note. Last Accessed: 29th November 2016.

 

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