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.
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.
This module has allowed for various objectives to be worked towards and learning objectives to be met, which I have feel have strengthened my professional practice and future career prospects.
Research has allowed for various topics to be covered, analysed, critiqued and reflected upon, such as:
– Creative and Interdisciplinary Practitioners
– Organisations Supporting the Creative Industries (Local, National and International)
– Recent Advances in Technologies
– Policies supporting Practice
– Theoretical Perspectives
This research has been thoroughly discussed throughout my blog, report and presentations in relation to my practice, whilst also shaping exploratory work, working towards objective 4. I have found it most relevant to make use of industry contacts to secure research-led meetings, whilst making new contacts has become vital to working towards objectives 1, 2, 3 and 5. Such industry contacts have secured International meetings in Tokyo, Japan, National meetings in London and Local meetings in Leeds with research participants. I have found it invaluable to also contact HE institutions in regard to making contact with both British and Japanese students between the ages of 18-24 whom may be interested in answering a questionnaire post new-year regarding my research topic. I was unable to make contact with HE institutions in Japan, and found this was a good contingency plan with such a large international base of students in the UK.
Not only have I researched into organisations supporting both my practice and research question and secured both National and International meetings, I have found it invaluable to talk to them about their policies further supporting practice, such as the ASOS Model Welfare Policy in particular, whilst working towards objectives 2 and 5. Going forwards I would like to contact the likes of B-EAT and local charities in order to see how the response in eating disorders has been affected by such issues raised in my research topic and practice, whilst also discussing how policies and guidelines are created and enforced. This also in relation to objectives 2 and 5.
I am in discussion with London-based practitioners regarding a collaboration, and have also confirmed a collaboration with Scarlett Carson for semester 2, a Leeds-based commercial photographer. This has been derived from the MA course, meeting like-minded creative practitioners whilst adding a different dimension and perspective to my practice. That can also be said for Bobbi Gastall (Rae) a Leeds-based practitioner whom I have collaborated with in semester 1 through the Practice and Professional Development module, producing a zine entitled, “how to be a blogger”. As my practice is Graphic Design, this can be quite solitary especially when freelancing, so working collaboratively brought new ideas discussion and debate to the table which I really enjoyed being a part of and want to continue to do so in my practice going forward. In addition this was working towards objective 4.D.
I have also researched into future exhibition spaces for semester 2. This has not been part of my practice since leaving my BA(Hons) Graphic Design degree as I mainly work digitally and therefore promote my work and my practice digitally also. Going forward if I work on the Life-Size Barbie Doll project (working towards objective 4), is the one project I have not had time to explore this semester, this would perhaps require such spaces to exhibit to the public, and therefore felt it was important to be aware of such spaces on a local and national platform.
Throughout this semester I have researched recent technological advances in both the fashion and beauty industries, and have found Instagram to be a key advancement for such industries allowing for digital marketing campaigns, collaborations with bloggers and international and instant reach for example. Keeping this in mind and working towards objectives 1 and 4, Instagram was used not only as a platform to showcase my critical-design Instagram Post project, but as a platform to share ideas, work and gain feedback in return. Findings have shaped the direction of both exploratory practical work and research working towards objective 4.
Instagram also has allowed for me to find creative practitioners relevant to my practice, with Anna Potter for example as discussed in my report, also promotes and shares her work in similar ways, using a critical-design approach also with underlying tones of satire and similar feminine aesthetics. Research has led me to find other more obscure practitioners such as comedian Luisa Omeilan and graphic designer Toni Hollowood as noted below, both of whom also work with similar underlying tones and messages. The three practitioners noted however are locally and nationally based, along with Scarlett and Bobbi discussed above and would like to find other practitioners who work on an international scale whom resonate with my practice and research topic going forwards to broaden this context and research.
Other key recent advances in technologies have been discussed and analysed in relation to my research to date, practice and research topic through my on-going blog, presentations and report surrounding this module.
In relation to theoretical perspectives underpinning my practice, I found that I had to do a large amount of research into different ideologies in order to gain a sense of which are most important to take forwards as key theories. The main two were Self-Perception and Social Identity which I feel also fall in line with the words of Anna Potter, Luisa Omelilan and Toni Hollowood particularly forming strong contextual links also supporting my current practice. I feel that understanding the work of these practitioners in regards to context, message, satirical yet serious tone, delivery and aesthetics has been crucial, with Potters’ work being quite resonant of my professional and practical design style, using feminine colour palettes, typography and a range of both print/digital-led designs to provoke thought using a critical-design led approach. In addition, such theories as Self-Perception have become the underlying theoretical context of my practical work to date, working towards objective 4. For example, the “what’s my name again?” project has been derived from the ideal of self-perception using theories throughout to support illustrations and copywriting, whilst the wellbeing campaign for example, uses third-person perspectives to gain judgement on themselves, therefore showcasing the the audience how this is not real and can in turn affect one’s self-perception. Going forwards, I would like to continue to research both noted theories more in depth, whilst looking at the other theories discussed heavily in my presentation (male/self-surveying gaze and self/objectification) in further detail to support further research and exploratory work.
In regards to future career plans, the MA so far has allowed for much self-reflection on this to be considered, supported with research, whilst it has also allowed for me to meet new contacts, and therefore gain invaluable HE teaching experience on a BA(Hons) Fashion programme, which was a personal goal set at the start of the course. One of the reasons I wanted to do the MA was to better career opportunities within my industry whilst opening new doors to new opportunities/alternate career paths and feel that this has been taken advantage of. The second reason I wanted to do the MA, was to find a way through my practice to help others, as I feel the industry is very corporate and actually damages many people in regards to self-perceptions and body image confidence, particularly within the areas of design I work in – fashion and beauty – and want to showcase the other, ethical side, being that, we can be whom we are and do not have to be dictated to by a business strategy, social media or a magazine for instance. In addition to this, I have often thought about setting up an agency supporting specifically fashion graduates enter the world of work, and feel that teaching at HE level is working towards this long-term goal in a way enabling to help students with the right skill sets and knowledge to have an impact on the fashion industry, whilst also learning myself via curriculum plans and assessment criteria what knowledge is needed to work towards this. In addition, I have found that teaching has allowed for better time management and organisation, whilst also allowing for myself being able to understand the course structure of the MA much more competency, enabling me to understand and fulfil the learning objectives required with more rigour. Further to this, I have also looked into PCGETHE’s at both Manchester Metropolitan University and Bradford College, however have recently been advised it is preferable to undertake a teaching qualifying course with a HEA also, which would allow me to apply for job roles at institutions such as LCA for example in the future. I feel that by talking to members of staff regarding such qualifications, doing research and speaking with my current employers, I have been able to scope out and assess options going forwards which could either be done alongside teaching if still in post, or prior to taking on a full-time teaching role in HE. This is something I will consider much more in depth in semester 2, however feel it was important to clear up my options for future development, career plans and strategies.
The MA has allowed for me to meet colleague Hattie Spowage, whom I have also been discussing potential post-MA business opportunities combining our practices of pattern cutting and garment design with graphic design, in order to create a viable commercial brand. This has been looked into in some detail with Hattie looking at fabric mills and suppliers, with myself looking at studio spaces we can work potentially obtain to start, along with opportunities for business funding and support. These have been discussed in depth on previous specifically related blog posts, however has not been the forefront of focus this semester due to as noted above, the priority has been to contact industry links and secure local, national and international meetings and interviews in order to work towards objectives, 1-5. Further to this, Hattie has also introduced me to a new platform of online networking called, Fashion in Leeds. This group also run networking events at The Tetley in Leeds, which Hattie and I plan to attend in semester 2 to gain further business insight and meet contacts whom may be required if the business was to go ahead.
I feel by having options post-MA, I am giving myself more industry led experience, whilst adding to my skillets further. Ideally, I would like to continue with part-time lecturing, whilst working alongside Hattie on a fashion brand, which would allow for skills to be developed for later in life/career I was to set up a fashion-led agency as noted above. This module has allowed time without any immediate pressure for me to consider my career choices, taking into account new opportunities and new contacts.
I have also recently made contact with a friend and now female body builder, Brittany Rhodes, as discussed in a previous post whom was recently on a BBC Documentary regarding women, self-perception and positive body image, have discussed the possibility of teaming up in the new year to run local body image workshops to promote healthy body image and educate regarding the power of the media, in particular social media and Instagram. Not only does this fall in line with my research topic but allows for a different perspective, and allows for someone with an already established based and following to support a practice such as mine in a positive way, allowing for me to fulfil my objectives and potentially adding another regarding such community led workshops.
The professional context module has also allowed for positives and issues within my professional practice of freelancing to be reflected on in context of my current practice. This is something which has been discussed heavily in my first presentation and report, understanding how working with previous employers and clients has perhaps pushed the direction and focus of my MA understanding how and why for example social media and models affect self-perceptions. In my presentation I noted working for a previous employer whom asked me to design cosmetics for children and have since worked with freelance clients whom work with in my opinion, emaciated and unhealthy models, and those who particularly do not represent a positive body image relatable to the mass public and general target audience. It is such issues which have influenced my research topic, research to date, future research and objectives, in the hope of raising awareness and exposing the industry in some senses. To me, this raises many ethical issues surrounding my practice, as I feel within the fashion industry and beauty industry, as much as policies can be set in place, or I myself can write and propose one working towards objective 5 to alleviate these issues, I feel that such industries will not want to standardise due to the ‘identity’ of brands being damaged. Working within these industries as much as I love them, in practice, has become a battle at times to consider if a job is viable, but then freelance is a business which needs to be ascertained. Therefore, working with Hattie on a more personal business would alleviate many of the issues of working with a larger scale industry and will allow for positive body image to be relayed through the brand for example, whilst allowing for our own policies to be created in line with this which may hopefully inspire and guide women to feel okay with their bodies, identities, style and self-perception. I really want to encompass my practice and what I love but in a positive way, helping people, opposed to having a negative impact on the target audience.
Freelance work however has allowed for various contacts as discussed in my report to be contacted in order to arrange meetings and interviews for semester 2, working towards objectives 1, 2, 3, 5.
Furthermore, I have found that seminars, lectures and post-presentation discussion and debate have allowed for issues within the field of graphic design to be openly talked about, particularly between other designers and teachers alike. Issues have been raised around muffled creativity due to use of stock imagery in industry opposed to free creative licenses and how this can affect motivations and exceptions of students working towards industry. Issues surrounding ethics and HR in the workplace have also been discussed, along with management structures within ‘agencies’ which often feature little creative encouragement. Also discussed were high expectations set for students in regard to the industry post-university, allowing for false hopes and deflated realities when entering junior designer roles with little real-life context being instilled into students. I found these forms of discussions interesting having felt similar myself, whilst also helping Ross with feedback and research for this MA topic regarding the Graphic Design industry and its readiness for Graduates. This forums allowed for reflection on my own career to date, the current positives of freelancing, working for oneself and having creative control, whilst putting into perspective how I can alleviate such issues in my own practice, as discussed above also.
In support of my freelance practice, self-promotion is key and has been discussed in blog posts in depth, however not touched on as much in my report or presentation due to not being of key relevance throughout my practice so far on the MA. Instagram has been a continuous method of both promotion and feedback as heavily discussed, however throughout the module other forms of self-promotion in regards to freelance has not been a priority, due to limited time to work on additional projects whilst not being the focus of my research topic. I have now at the end of the semester, began working on my revised personal branding to ensure I have updated CVs and business cards for any meetings/interviews taking place in semester 2, and plan to update my professional website and online portfolio with photographed exploratory work to date to share the message being worked on, whilst gaining feedback from a different audience. I would of perhaps liked to of done this earlier on in the semester in hindsight in order to have these in place for when contacting individuals/organisations, as this may in some instances prompt a response opposed to not.
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 7A2, 7A3, 7B2, 7C2, 7C3 and 7D2 competently in relation to my practice, professional context and research question.
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:
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;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 psychology, 6, 1-62.
During the process of finalising my report, I met with Brittany Rhodes which allowed for objectives to be worked towards via new future plans, which I thought were crucial going forwards. In addition, an interviewee has dropped out, meaning several elements needed to be reworded and rearranged.
I feel much happier with my report in relation to my first draft, and feel that having feedback and input from my tutor really helped initially getting started on the right foot. I do feel however that there is still room for improvement overall, and upon reflection would of liked to include more literature, but feel as though the priority was relaying my meetings/interviews post-New Year, whilst also covering a range of research and activities to date. With so much to say, and having both presentations and feedback in regard to these also to consider, found that this enabled me to be more critical, concise and focused throughout the report.
With this taken into account, below shows my final report which I will be submitting after making amends post feedback from my tutor also, shown on a previous blog post in relation to draft 2.
Danielle Muntyan (dm92082)
Professional Context 1: Interim Report
Research Question: “A cross-cultural study designed to develop understanding of the ways in which social media and beauty publications in the fashion industry affect the self-perception of women aged 18 to 24”
This report aims to contextualise progress to date in regards to resolving my working research question, underpinned by a range of both professional contexts and theoretical perspectives.
As a Graphic Designer working in the Beauty and Fashion Industries on a National and International scale, I encounter ethical, social and cross-cultural issues such as, working with photography of objectified and emaciated female models. Such issues led me to investigate the ways in which messages being communicated may be perceived and internalised by the viewer, shaping my research question.
The Fashion and Beauty Industries are becoming more digitised through advanced technologies of Social Media and Beauty Applications, adding a different dimension to the media than magazines allowing for the end-user to be in curational control of their appearance and ‘live feed’ opposed to being dictated to by Editors. Therefore, I am interested in investigating how such platforms are affecting the self-perceptions of young females Internationally (18-24).
In regards to a cross-cultural and International context, I am particularly interested in Japan exploring, how young females (18-24) are both represented and perceived through social media and magazinesin response to the rise in blogger culture, and obsession with cultural icons, with 77% of bloggers being female, and 27% of those running fashion and beauty-led blogs (Vuelio, 2016, P. 3, 5). I am also interested in finding out the impacts of Western trends and brands dominating Eastern cultures, in relation to my research topic.
Research to date has worked towards answering my research question and learning objectives. This research has taken form of qualitative, quantitative, ethical interviews and critical-design led approaches that have shaped the direction of my current practice and methodologies.
My original proposal stated the following objectives in relation to my research question:
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.
These are the objectives that I will continue to work towards throughout this project.
2.1. Creative and Interdisciplinary Practitioners
Research to date has led me to a range of creative and interdisciplinary practitioners, whom resonate with my practice both in regards to theory, message and design, supporting the foundations for further research and exploratory prototype work:
Dunne and Raby have influenced research and prototyping to date, utilising critical-design throughout my ‘Instagram Post’ project, allowing for “design proposals to challenge assumptions, preconceptions and givens” (2007, Web). This methodology has informed my practice, but also the direction of research to date using Instagram directly to engage with and gain feedback from the target audience.
Anna Potter (2016) resonates with my practice, utilising underlying satirical tones and cross-cultural contexts derived from media, cultural icons and the Internet particularly supporting my exploratory project entitled, “What’s My Name Again?”, in relation to message, context and aesthetics.
Discussion and idea generation, led to a collaboration with Bobbie Rae, an interdisciplinary Leeds-based practitioner. This collaboration has both developed and strengthened practical ideas, working towards a resolved visual Zine entitled “How to be a Blogger”. Working with Bobbi has allowed for a different perspective of an original idea to be considered, whilst adding a different aesthetic and tone to the concept, deriving a stronger outcome.
2.2. Organisations Supporting the Creative Industries
Studio Spaces and Recruitment Agencies are part of my professional practice, however have not had to drawn upon these to date. It has been more relevant to draw upon my Industry contacts to secure interviews and meetings with individuals/organisations in an aim to work towards answering my research question and achieving my objectives.
Social Media has been invaluable in regards to feedback and local engagement, allowing for UI, further prototyping and idea development. I am hoping to engage with HE Institutions and various fashion programmes in the UK in regards to talking to both British and Japanese females (18-24), in order to gain comparative and quantifiable National and International insights, working towards objective 1.B.
Self-promotion is a key-part of my professional practice, in regards to working Internationally and establishing a cross-cultural client base, however this has not been the primary focus of the International context of my work.
Instead, I have utilised various Self-Promotion platforms for publicising exploratory practical work in order to gain feedback, and share ideas with a critical-design led approach.
Self-Promotion Platforms include:
In January (16th – 23rd) 2017, I will be visiting Tokyo in an aim to carry out cross-cultural field-research. To ensure research is carried out effectively to help answer my research question, the following research methodologies will be considered:
I had hoped to engage with HE institutions and various fashion programmes in Tokyo, Japan, with the intention of talking to Japanese females (18-24), in order to gain insight on how social media and Western Brands can affect self-perception and body image. I havehowever, been unable to make contact and now hope to consult Japanese females in the UK.
HE Institutions Tokyo, Japan:
Conde Nast contacts recently confirmed a meeting with a Beauty Editor at Vogue Japan, to discuss the ways in which Japanese culture and women are portrayed in regards to both social media and print. In support, I have built links with a translator Yuko Watanabe located in Tokyo through a contact at Tokyo Disney, should the need for this service arise.
2.3. Recent Advances in Technologies
Advances in technologies have in, my opinion dictated, the direction of promotional media within the industry and therefore has taken priority through research to date.
“Media helps us to shape beauty ideas by showing certain body sizes [as] beautiful and desirable” (Rumsey, 2012, P.217) allowing for social media platforms and magazines to participate in this creation, which can, in turn, be damaging to self-perception, through the internalisation of idealised imagery and false reflections.
Photo-Manipulation, Filters, VR, Augmented Reality and Photo-Recognition technologies have allowed for advances in Application Design, UI/UX and Graphic Design.
‘Makeup Mirrors’ originally created by Japanese cosmetics brand, Shiseido, allows for one to try on makeup productsusing highly advanced facial recognition technologies and augmented reality, illustrating the positive impact of such advances. These generated images however, can also create negative perceptions in comparison to one’s true beauty and their actions – Slater and Tiggemann (2015) found that “when a person compares their own inner or self image to an image that has been [edited] it can pose the threat to self objectification and self absorption” (Fardouly, 2015, P.34). In summary, it is technological advances such as this, along with issues surrounding Western ideals of ‘icons’ and bloggers’, which has informed my decision to research Japanese Culture further.
(Image 1 – Shisiedo Makeup Mirror, Tokyo Flagship Store)
Through research, policies and guidelines set by various organisations, charities and establishments have been found, that encourage fair practice, social responsibility and ethical issues surrounding body image, model welfare and mental health within the media.
B-EAT (UK) and the Model Alliance (US) for example, can support, advise, promote and encourage fair and ethical practice in the media howeverthere is not, a binding set of guidelines that enforces all retailers, magazines and brands to follow to proactively promote positive body image. This allows for different ‘ideals’ to be portrayed by the media, causing mixed messages and perceptions for the viewer.
The Social Responsibility team at ASOS founded the ‘Model Welfare Policy’, the only brand enforced guidelinesensuring that models have a healthy BMI and have no known mental health conditions, for example. I am interested in investigating whether such policies would be beneficial on a National or International scale, corresponding with Objective 5.
Parody law is described as “[the] copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work” (Stem, 2010, Web) and allows for entitlements as a designer to work with creative freedom commercially. In relation to my current practice, I am working with parody and satirical perspectives in relation to the cultural icon, Kylie Jenner through the mocking of her branding to represent a range of key theories and issues that surround self-perception, body image, and the media.
(Image 2 – Kylie Cosmetics Logo, 2016, Instagram: KylieCosmetics)
(Image 3 – Exploratory Project Work “What’s My Name Again?”, 2016, Instagram: MuntyanDanielle)
2.5. Theoretical Perspectives
Various theoretical perspectives that underpin my current practice have been researched in order to find the most relevant to my research question:
– Social Identity
– Male Gaze & Self-Surveying Gaze
It has proven evident that the main theories associated with both my practice and that of relevant creative practitioners are Self-Perception and Social Identity.
Self-Perception is key to my current practice – shaping my prototyping work, whilst being the anchor point of my research question, understanding that, we interpret our actions the same way that we interpret the actions of others, therefore being socially opposed to produced from choice (Bem, 1972) highlighting how our self-perceptions are created from third-party perspectives in order to feel accepted.
Social Identity supports the Self-Perception Theory stating that one’s personal identity and self-awareness, is formed through their acceptance or non-acceptance into a social group, and the respective intergroup comparisons, being relative to social media and comparative behaviours with perceived ‘ideals’ (Turner and Tafjel, 1986).
In regard to the media, it is argued that “status is not considered here as a scarce resource or commodity, such as power or wealth; it is the outcome of intergroup comparison” (Turner and Tafjel, 1986, P.19), highlighting how the media for example can trigger internalized negative self-perception and intergroup comparison also in order to feel accepted.
This project has begun to encompass the groundwork of theory and contextual understanding in relation to my research question and objectives. I aim to continue to contact Industry Professionals, Bloggers and Brands in Tokyo ahead of my field-research trip. In support, I plan to research Japanese culture, socio-cultural ideals and expectations in further depth. In addition, have arranged a field-research trip to London (7th – 8th January 2017), whereby I plan to use the same methodologies as noted in 2.2b, in order to understand how International brands affect self-perceptions and body image on a cross-cultural scale.
Industry links have secured a meeting with ASOS’ Social Responsibility and Design Teams, through which I will be discussing the ASOS Model Welfare and Positive Body Image policies further specifically in relation to objective 2 and 5. I plan to speak to CSM MA student Toni Hollowell, whilst interviewing an International Female Blogger Collective, Milk and Honey, and Brittany Rhodes to gain different perspectives into issues noted in my research question, whilst working towards objective 3. Workshops on Positive Body Image have also been discussed with Brittany Rhodes, which may run within the local community within in Semester 2. I am also currently in discussion with Vogue UK regarding a comparative interview for quantifiable data working towards objectives 1A and 1B.
Word Count: 2199
Bem, D. J. (1972). Self-perception theory. Advances in experimental social psychology, 6, 1-62.
Dunne and Raby. (2007). Critical Design FAQ. Available: http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/content/bydandr/13/0. Last Accessed: 28th November 2016.
Fardouly, J., Diedrichs, P.C., Vartanian, L.R., Halliwell, E. (2015). ‘The Mediating Role of Appearance Comparisons in the Relationship Between Media Usage and Self-Objectification in Young Women’, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Sage Journal. P.34.
Slater and Tiggemann (2015). Psychology of Women Quarterly. The Mediating Role of Appearance Comparisons in the Relationship Between Media Usage and Self-Objectification in Young Women. P. Unknown.
Stim, R. (2010). What is Fair Use. Available: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/what-is-fair-use/. Last Accessed: 1st November 2016.
Turner, J. C., & Tajfel, H. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. Psychology of intergroup relations, P.7-24, P.16.
Vuelio. (2016). UK Bloggers Survey. P. 3, 5.
Kylie Cosmetics Logo (2016). Available at: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/fb/2f/77/fb2f775c990326b393aa776bcb6330e3.jpg
Last Accessed: 4/12/16
‘Muntyan Danielle’. (2016). Available at: https://www.instagram.com/p/BMaAsmAB13x/?taken-by=muntyandanielle. Last Accessed: 3/12/16
Shiseido Virtual Cosmetics Mirror (2014) Available at: http://media1.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2014_32/600916/140804-virtual-cosmetics-jms-2001_775f499f2c873d2990a12a46d1e05597.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg Last Accessed: 28/11/16
Presentation 1 Bibliography:
B-EAT (2011). Media Guidelines. P.3-14
B-EAT. (2015). Logo. Available: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a2/Beat_charity_logo.png. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
BeautyPlus. (2016). Image. Available: http://www.beautyplus.com/JP/index.html. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
H&M. (2016). Image. Available: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7027/6484051349_98959987f1_o.jpg. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Kardashian, K. (2015). Kim Kardashian Selfish. Available: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Kim-Kardashian-Selfish/0789329204. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
L’Oreal. (2015). Image. Available: http://cliqueimg.com/cache/posts/img/uploads/current/images/0/88/427/main.original.640x0c.jpg. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Lancome. (2016). Image. Available: http://asia.be.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/03/1333692851211-min-625×405.jpg. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Muntyan, D. (2015). Jade Clark | ‘Barbie’ Promotional Poster. Available: https://www.behance.net/gallery/26818865/Jade-Clark-Barbie-Promotional-Poster. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Nevada Group. (2016). The Kardashian and Jenner Empire: Why They Lead In Content Marketing. Available: http://www.navadagroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/THUMB-1.jpg. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Ravndahl, S. (2016). Image. Available: https://www.instagram.com/ssssamanthaa/?hl=en. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Rimmel. (2016). Virtual Makeover. Available: https://uk.rimmellondon.com/sites/default/files/basic-page-inserts/virtual-makeover-v2.png. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Song, A. (2014). How To Take Good Instagram Photos. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSfrjvF86aE&t=73s. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Song, A. (2016). Capture Your Style. Available: http://www.songofstyle.com/capture-your-style-book-by-aimee-song. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Vogue Japan (May 2016). Vogue. P.256, 257, 112, 113.
Vogue Japan March. (2016). Image. Available: http://i2.wp.com/fashioncow.com/flowerpower/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/daphne-groeneveld-by-giampaolo-sgura-for-vogue-japan-march-2016-2-1.jpg?resize=770%2C990. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Vogue Japan March. (2016). Image. Available: http://www.fashiongonerogue.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Daphne-Groeneveld-Plastic-Fashion-Editorial-Vogue-Japan03.jpg. Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Presentation 2 Bibliography:
Fredrickson, B & Roberts, T (1998). Objectification Theory. Psychology of Women, 22. P.173.
Noll, S & Fredrickson, B (1998). Objectification Theory. Psychology of Women, 22. P.626.
Rumsey, Nichola, and Diana Harcourt. (2012) The Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of Appearance. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. Print. P. 217.
Shields, V & Heinecken, D (2002). Measuring Up: How Advertising Affects Self-Image. USA: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 74, 77, 102.
Unknown. (2016). Social Identity Theory. Available: https://www.learning-theories.com/social-identity-theory-tajfel-turner.html. Last Accessed: 3rd December 2016.
Amrezy. (2016). Instagram. Available: https://www.instagram.com/p/BMKc4E_Az71/?taken-by=amrezy&hl=en. Last accessed 3rd December 2016.
Beauty Images. (2012). Disorder in Mirror. Available: https://beautyimages. les.wordpress.com/2012/04/disorderinmirror.jpg . Last accessed 3rd December 2016.
Gonzalez, S (2016). Image. Available: https://www.instagram.com/p/BLt6h0WDU2S/?taken-by=iluvsarahii&hl=en. Last accessed 3rd December 2016.
Huffington Post. (2014). Playboy Pin Ups. Available: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/22/playboy-pinups-on-meeting_n_6028418.html . Last accessed 3rd December 2016.
Kardashian, K. (2016). Instagram. Available: https://www.instagram.com/p/BJ0Td9HBr0V/?taken-by=kimkardashian&hl=en . Last accessed 3rd December 2016.
Unknown. (2014). Tokyo Fashion Harajuku Group. Available: http://all-that-is-interesting.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/TokyoFashionHarajukuGroup.jpg . Last accessed 3rd December 2016.
Unknown. (Unknown). Social Identity Theory Model. Available: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/484770347367805958/ . Last accessed 4th December 2016.
Vogue France. (Unknown). Objectification of Children. Available: http://objectifcationofchildren.yolasite.com/resources/objecti cation%202.jpg . Last accessed 3rd December 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).
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.
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.
Bem, D. J. (1972). Self-perception theory. Advances in experimental social psychology, 6, 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.
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:
“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.”
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.
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
“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?
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.
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
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.
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
As I had gone over time on my first presentation and then rectified this issues for the second presentation, I wanted to revise the first presentation prior to submission reflecting on and taking feedback into account.
This can be seen below:
Slide 1: Introduction and About Me/My Practice
I’m Danielle Muntyan, a Graphic Designer, Digital Illustrator and Consultant working with Beauty and Fashion brands to create both digital and print-based visual solutions to unique brand problems.
In 2006, I began my journey leading me to where I am today. Studying for my English Language GCSE, whereby I researched ‘Size 0’ and the idea of ‘Thinspiration’. This, along with the pressure of wanting to ‘be the best’ in my studies, spiralled into a world of Anorexia which I was captivated under until the end of 2010. Upon reflection it is apparent that the media and the journalistic-side of the Fashion industry I was interested in studying at the time, triggered and shaped my expectations of myself, and therefore would shape my studies and practice to date.
After leaving University, I began working as a Cosmetics Designer. I found myself designing cosmetic products for target audiences as young as 10 years old. As a designer this made me feel uncomfortable and based on my past experiences knew how this could impact upon someones perceptions of themselves at a very young age.
This leads me to present day, and my research question asking ‘how Social Media and Magazines within the Beauty and Fashion Industries affect our sense of body image and self-perception?’.
Slide 2: Cross-Cultural Influences on Magazine Content/Advertising
The lack of diversity, cultural, ethical, religious and societal issues have become much more important to within my practice through working with clients in Industry and has opened up my eyes to other cross-cultural issues surrounding the Industry.
For example, Vogue Japan resonates with the West almost entirely with 7 Japanese cover models being used since 1999 and using Western-led content. 3 of these Japanese models were used in the first year of the magazine being published, and the first edition featured a collaboration featuring Kate Moss.
I find Vogue Japan very interesting in contrast to the UK edition due to cultural differences – we have grown up in a society whereby we want to fake tan in order to fit in and change our appearance, whilst the Japanese have specially formulated beauty products which lighten skin, opposed to darken it. This is shown via Lancome and the AD with Emma Watson as the sponsor – the typical ‘English rose’ with porcelain skin. Furthermore, this ‘Beauty and Health Special Edition’ also promotes the ‘ideal’ western figure, showing women in Japan how to achieve ‘long legs’.
In January 2016 I am going to be spending a week in Tokyo, Japan, in an aim to understand this gain research first hand.
Slide 3: Influencer Culture and Social Media
Magazines have always interested me due to the control and dictation of content. With magazines such as Vogue, it is clear that the editors are responsible for dictating which models are used and what they are dressed in – pushing trends and brands which they perceive ‘in’ upon us, the public. Therefore we are consciously or unconsciously affecting our self-perception, and therefore our perceptions of others too.
Social Media has allowed us to take back this control and choose what we want to share, curate and promote. Instagram started off as a positive in a commercial world, whereby as individuals we could share our photographs. Instagram has also become in many cases a negative impact upon someones self-esteem, confidence, identity or self-perception. Brands, celebrities and icons now use this platform as a form of promotional media. Furthermore, there are also those who have created careers around their curated Instagram feeds adding a new cultural trend to an already self-aware and self-obsessed industry.
Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, and vloggers such as Aimee Song have re-defined their careers within a world of social media, and have branded the ways in which they are seen accordingly to avoid any mis-conception as to who they are, and what they look like. The pressure of social media, means hundreds of ‘selfies’ are taken a day. Kim Kardashian states the key is “your best angle and good lighting” and released a book titled “selfish” containing over 600 images of herself, taken by herself. Hinting at Narcissism, there is also a book and YouTube video by Aimee Song showing one “how to take the perfect photo for Instagram” and how to build your Instagram brand.
Beauty Vlogger and Makeup Artist, Samantha Ravndahl noted, the industry has “cheapened experiences” overtime, taking away the craft and skill of makeup artistry and relaying the trade back now as a means of testing ‘ideals’ and perfections. Samantha noted that everything has become about how she looks and is constantly aware of how this, as she has a certain image to maintain with a following on 2.4m followers, but when wanting a day off, she gets ‘judged’ for not looking ‘perfect’ as she is often perceived.
If this facade can affect someone in such a high position in the world of Social Media to get lip fillers, botox and a breast enlargement at 22, I wonder what impact this has on those in their teenage years or younger who are still finding themselves and whom are very susceptible to the pressures, ideals and ‘perfections’ pursued by the media.
Slide 4: Advances in Technology
The photographs shown on this slide showcase a portion of new technologies within the Beauty and Fashion Industries. All apart from bottom right are Apps which have been designed to change our appearance through facial recognition technologies and augmented realities. BeautyPlus is a Japanese app, which as shown, does this through a range of filters, or options, to edit our facial features – anything from tooth whitening, to eye widening and skin lightening. There is also a UK version called MakeUp Plus for those who may be interested in giving this a go! Rimmel and L’Oreal have created Apps allowing the user to ‘try on’ products or ‘celebrity looks’ which can be bought afterwards – this was a solution to shopping at home, and to also solve the problems of trying cosmetics in store. In China, L’Oreal released a relevant version, and was more popular than anywhere else in the world, as allowed women to try on makeup at home, without shame of cultural expectations and stigmas around cosmetics.
These apps encourage you to either look like someone else, whom doesn’t actually look like themselves due to photo editing post-production, or encourages you to change the way you look in order to fit in with the expectations and norms of your culture and pre-determined ‘ideals’ of beauty.
Advances in technology in this respect further promote the idea of constantly being able to view the idea of ‘perfection’ 24/7, and allow for further ways to change how we look and are perceived intern altering how we see ourselves and our own beauty.
Lastly, H&M were found in 2011 to be using CGI created models with real-models’ heads photoshopped on in their catalogues and on their website, creating a debate around the idea of standardisation. Skin tones were changed to create diversity, however the body shape was stick like, and each model wore the same pose. I feel this alone showcases the negatives in what technology within the Beauty and Fashion Industries can achieve, and how this can affect ones self-perception and eventually the perceptions of others too.
Slide 5: B-EAT and Summary
B-EAT note that Eating Disorders are not solely caused by visuals shown in the media, but that this added with current pressures can trigger or prolong Eating Disorders. As noted whilst talking through my first slide, I believe this is what happened to myself, and also what happens to others who position themselves as a follower or an active participant of the industry.
In support and in response to the negative impacts of the beauty and fashion Industries, several organisations and policies have been put in place to help the media tactfully tackle these problems.
These are organisations such as B-EAT, EDAW and the UK All Parliamentary Group on Body Image can help brands, and fellow organisations with advice if requested, however this does not seem to happen often enough. ASOS however have the ASOS Model Welfare Policy in place allowing for only healthy models to be used, and cared for whilst allowing for diversity across a range of men and women – not simply standardising with one size, shape and ethnicity.
I feel that this is a really proactive and positive approach to tackling the sensitive issue, however feel that there should be a National or International Policy regarding Positive Body Image and Model use within the media, whilst also having more guidelines on digital manipulation and copywriting for example.
It is said that 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder, 89% of which are female and only 43% will recover fully. Is it time that companies, brands, icons, influencers and celebrities for example encouraged positive body image and beauty, opposed to building brands, businesses and self-worth through the neglect of others mental health, feelings, emotions and physical well-being?
I would like to leave you with a couple of questions.
Do you feel magazines and social media affect your own self-perception?