ASOS: Corporate Responsibility & Planning for Interview

This is working towards objective 2, 3 and 5.

I have a contact at ASOS HQ whom has agreed to meet me for an interview regarding the topic of their social and corporate responsibilities around the idea of body image in the fashion industry. The issues of social responsibilities, ethics, and corporate responsibilities can be seen in my previous blog post, Social and Ethical Responsibilities of the Magazine Industry which discussed these issues in context to the industry, whilst in context also to my own practice. I am currently in conversation with my contact at ASOS to arrange a convenient time for the interview to take place. I will confirm details of my contact once I have confirmed the appointment. I plan on taking a series of questions to ask, as well as asking how these issues affect the employees within the design and social media departments on a personal level as also discussed in the previous post noted above.

I was surprised to find so many different organisations and policies which ASOS have been working with to achieve their guidelines and ‘Model Welfare Policy’, which I think as an international fashion platform is an amazing achievement and step forward to addressing the issues noted.

Below I have listed Organisations and Policies surrounding ASOS, all of which support Positive Body Image, whilst promoting support and raising awareness of such issues surrounding the fashion industry. I hope to look further into these/discuss at interview:

  • B-EAT
  • EDAW
  • UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image (APPG)
  • Government Equalities Unit
  • Equalities Ministers Advisory Group
  • ASOS Model Welfare Policy

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Below shows the full article taken from the ASOS Corporate Responsibility site as seen above. I was again surprised as to how aware as a company they are of the way they could be perceived if they do not account for diversity and positive body image. I personally think guidelines and policies such as are are something which every fashion, and beauty retailer for that matter should and must have, in order to try to and alleviate some of the issues surrounding body image in the industry and encourage a variety of shapes of sizes. This would allow for an inclusive and accessible platform for a community of digital consumers.

From my pre-set objectives in relation to my working research topic, objective 5 is to produce a set of guidelines which could be proposed as a policy to run nationally or internationally within the beauty and fashion industries. I have bolded key points which I feel are particularly relevant to this, and my research topic, whilst also being good starting points for preparing for the interview with ASOS.

This is working towards objectives 2, 3 and 5.

We want to use our influence among young fashion-lovers in a responsible way, by promoting a healthy, positive body image to our customers. We do this by:

  • participating in government advisory panels to tackle body confidence issues
  • bringing in experts to train our employees on body image and health
  • ensuring our own Model Welfare policy and guidelines on digital manipulation are fully applied, to protect our models and our customers
  • enabling customers to post images of themselves wearing the clothes they have bought through our #AsSeenOnMe feature
  • publishing articles on diverse and inspirational young women in our ASOS magazine, focusing on their achievements not their looks
  • working with anti-bullying charity, The Diana Award, recognising that online channels and activities are having a huge impact in the area of bullying and self esteem
  • continuing to fund the charity, B-eat, which provides online support for young adults with eating disorders

HOW WE WORK WITH OUR MODELS

We use over 100 models employed through 21 modelling agencies. The models we work with reflect our dominant customer, that is, twenty-somethings who wear size 8 – 10 (women) and medium (men). Our Curve range is for women’s size 18-30, and we use agency ‘plus size’ models for this range. We have had challenges in finding agencies who supply ‘plus size’ models above a size 16 but we are beginning to make progress in this area.

OUR MODEL WELFARE POLICY

Our Model Welfare Policy states that we will:

  • not work with models who are under 16
  • provide free lunch and snacks to models
  • closely monitor our models and raise any concerns about their health with their agency
  • employ models who are a healthy weight and shape

DIGITAL MANIPULATION

Our internal guidelines on digital retouching dictate that we do not artificially adjust photographs of models to make them look thinner. When we retouch images, it is to ensure that the image looks more like the real product, so usually involves aligning the colour more closely with the real product.

The catwalk videos that we include alongside product descriptions on our website depict the models exactly as they are.

FASHION FOR A WIDE RANGE OF BODY SHAPES

Our garment technology team constantly work to improve the fit of our garments and to ensure that we can deliver the right fit, first time to every customer. We aim to make our fashion fit the customer, not the other way round. To serve our diverse customer base therefore, we offer fashion in over 30 different sizes, including clothing, footwear and jewellery.

  • our Petite range fits people of 5’3″ or less
  • our Curve range fits people of size 18-30
  • our Tall range fits people of 5’10”
  • our Maternity range fits people of size 6-20
  • our Wide Fit footwear range fits people show size 2 to 9

Our ASOS Curve range has been successful with strong sales, and has won several awards:

  • Reveal online award: Best plus size for ASOS Curve September 2015
  • Body Confidence Awards – Responsible Fashion (ASOS Curve)
  • Fabulous for Curves at the 2013 Fabulous High Street Fashion Awards
  • Best Online Retailer at the British Plus Size Fashion Awards in 2013
  • nominated for the Campaign for Body Image in the Body Confidence Awards 2012

EMPLOYEE TRAINING

We are raising awareness among our customer care employees about potential health problems related to body image. The eating disorders charity Beat has provided training on body image health to our customer care team leaders. This will help them to respond sensitively to questions we receive from customers about body image and eating disorders, and direct them to appropriate help where required.

ONLINE SUPPORT GROUPS

In the past 3 years ASOS joined forces with Beat to fund Online Support Groups, which offer a safe and supportive environment for discussion between those with an eating disorder, or between carers, families and friends. Support Groups were trialled in late 2012, and launched in February 2013 to coincide with EDAW – Eating Disorders Awareness Week. With the support of trained staff and Beat volunteers, online Support Groups offer an addition to the Beat Network face-to-face groups, as well as an alternative for people who may not be geographically close to a physical group. They also provide an anonymous space for people who may not feel comfortable meeting others.

Each group has a volunteer facilitator, who is trained by Beat, and a Beat staff member moderates the discussion as well as signposting users to other sources of help, if appropriate.

Find out how to join a Support Group

ENGAGING WITH GOVERNMENT

ASOS participated in the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image (APPG) in early 2012. The group’s objective was to uncover ways to promote a healthier body image in the wider community.

The conclusions of the group’s final report were critical of the roles of the media, advertising industry and cosmetic surgery. The report also suggested one recommendation for the fashion industry, to set up a roundtable to discuss body image issues. We met with the Government Equalities Unit to discuss how we can explore some of these issues further as an industry and as a result ASOS took part in the Equalities Ministers Advisory Group on Body Image

BODY CONFIDENCE

Body image dissatisfaction in the UK has never been higher, and a huge amount of young people struggle with the issue. ASOS does extensive work to harness its influence among young fashion-lovers to promote healthy body image.

ASOS and the Diana Award aim to work together to launch the #MySense ofSelf programme to equip young people with the tools to challenge social and cultural attitudes towards body image, and to provide a safe environment to discuss body image issues.

The Diana Award is scaling up its anti-bullying work into a full campaign that incorporates raising young people’s self-esteem and body confidence. We will use our reach across the UK and Ireland to provide a resource that addresses the issues.”

Source:
http://www.asosplc.com/corporate-responsibility/our-customers/positive-body-image.aspx, Last Accessed: 14th October 2016

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Instagram Post: 14/10/16

This is working towards objective 4.A and 1.

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‘Like’ it on Instagram, here!

Caption: “New shades targeting the relationship between consumer and brand culture – how many do you own?”

This post highlights the impact of how a brand can affect a consumer without knowing when one releases a range of new ‘shades’ or products. Instagram, YouTube and brand culture has created an urge to own all of a brands product range in order to have a ‘full makeup kit’ and create beautiful ‘shade swatches’ for your photo streams and video clips. Furthermore, the more you own the more you appear to look like you follow the trends, which is what in turn social media marketing, ads and ‘competitor’ accounts want to you feel like.

How does this affect how we view brands? Do we feel the need to keep up to constantly look the best using the newest ‘on-trend’ shades? How does this in turn affect our self-perception and furthermore, our decision making processes as a consumer?

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Social and Ethical Responsibilities of the Magazine Industry

Working towards objective 2.

Whilst reading ‘The Magazines Handbook’ by Jenny McKay, I came across the below statements, and began to think about how these sorts of issues could come into play within my practice, and how I may want to question or consider social and ethical issues whilst working with different brands and clients.

I have noted the quotes below, along with a mind-map discussing my thoughts on this in context of my practice and research question as well as also looking at how this could be associated in context with my own practice.

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“Advertorials can cause problems for journalists if the writer does not want to work on material that might compromise his integrity as an objective reporter. Some publishers always use freelances for advertorials while other pay their staff extra for working on them and bylines are not used. Either way the practice of pretending to readers that advertisements represent objective editorial recommendations is ultimately damaginger the magazine’s integrity and therefore to its value as a brand. The PPA does issue it’s members with a set of guidelines to cover the preparation and use of advertorials but these are not always observed (Morrish 2003: 105-107).”

“‘Relevant advertising is valued by readers, and is consumed with interest’, writes Consterdine in his report for the industry on how advertising works.”

“If you cut out the ads in a magazine before reading it then the chancestors are that you’ll be discarding almost half the pages in the average weekly or monthly magazine. This ratio of roughly 40:60 is known in the trade as the ad-ed ratio … a good example is Vogue, which is devoted largely to fashion coverage and has high production values for all its photography.  It insists on the same from its advertisers and so a four-page advertising spread from Armani, say, brings to the reader yet more glamorous,  high-quality fashion pictures that the editorial budget alone could not justify”.

In regards to the last quote shown above, I have noted a video below created by OscarTBrand regarding the very issue of the “ad-ed” issue as discussed by McKay.

I found this video very inspiring and I would like to carry out such forms of research in regards to the UK and Japan editions of Vogue.

Sources:
McKay, J (2006). The Magazines Handbook. United Kingdom: Routledge. p204-205.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIIKTNPP5Ts, Last Accessed: 13th October 2016

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Dunne and Raby: Critical Design-led Research

In my previous post, ‘Initial Project Ideas’ I noted that each contained an element of Critical Design, especially the Instagram Posts and Posters which I am currently experimenting with. However, I was told about Dunne and Raby in a tutorial with Anne-Marie, and wanted to see how they carry out work as practitioners, and how this in return relates to my practice.

Critical Design is when “design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate amongst designers, industry and the public about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies.”

Anthony and Fiona, commonly know as Dunne and Raby, are both Professors, Authors and Designers and have worked featured in galleries across the world, such as MoMA in NYC and The Design Museum in London.

What does Critical Design mean?

“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.” (Dunne and Raby, 2007)

Work Example:

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The following extract is taken from: Weeds, Aliens and Other Stories, 1994-98

Dunne & Raby / Michael Anastassiades

“Weeds Aliens and Other Stories is a collection of psychological furniture for the home and garden. The project grew out of a deep dissatisfaction with the narrow range of psychological needs met by furniture. How many more chairs, tables and shelving units do we need in the world?

Weeds Aliens and Other Stories began as a sketchbook of drawings and ideas exploring the English obsession with the garden and seemingly irrational relationships between people and their plants. We wanted to encourage people to play out their eccentricities within their urban homes, homes with very little or no garden at all. These unacknowledged behaviours become legitimised through new types of furniture.

  • Garden Horn: A device for speaking to plants that otherwise might be neglected.
  • Meeting: A piece of indoor furniture to grow and look after; a place to meet and make up when lovers become neighbours.
  • Talking Tabs: Labels for reciting poems or recipes to plants.
  • Cricket Box: A drawer for collecting garden sounds.
  • Intensive Care: Communication with demanding plants anywhere, anytime.
  • Cucumber Table: A device for containing, growing, straigtening and displaying cucumbers.
  • Rustling Branch: Sounds replace appearances; an alternative to the vase.
  • Reserved: Seating to be shared with flowers.

Fabrication: Ben Legg
Technical advice: Rick Thomas, Mark Bullimore, Jon Rogers
Sound design: Jayne Roderick
Photography: Salvatore Vinci
Thanks to: Andre Cooke, The British Council Window Gallery Prague, Mark Daniels, Northern Architecture, Northern Arts, Sophie Smallhorn, Robin Blackledge, and Claire Catterall

The project is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.”

I chose to look at this example being drawn in by the use of photography as this still remains a dominant form of visual within both beauty and fashion industries, be on social media or in magazines and made me think how as well as illustrations and other forms of graphic design, how photography could somehow be used as a Critical Design-led research method in order to spark discussion around the research topic at hand.

It also allowed me to reflect on how even though I have used only illustrations to date, the same concept behind the form of research is prominent similarly to Dunne and Raby’s work in regards to gaining peoples attention in order to make them think, and ultimately engage in discussion or debate. However, I feel now knowing more about their background, their work and methods using forms such as video, photography, installation and sometimes illustration also, I feel I will be able to apply this knowledge going forward to further pieces of work. In addition, the benefit of collaborating with other interdisciplinary artists and creatives is evident allowing for various forms of work to be created including a wide range of conceptual projects and writings, sharing skill sets, ideas and knowledge. This is also something I would like to introduce into my practice in order to generate new ideas and informed conversation.

Sources:
http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/content/projects/74/0 Last Accessed: 13th October 2016
http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/content/bydandr/13/0  Last Accessed: 2nd December 2016

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Recent Advances in Technologies within the Fashion Industry: H&M and CG Models

This is working towards objective 1.

Whilst researching technological advances within the Fashion Industry in regards to body image and self-perception, I came across one particular technology which I saw as a negative, but a possible positive in some respects, which I shall discuss below.

H&M in 2011 were found to be using computer generated models and photoshopping ‘real models’ heads on to the bodies, changing skin tones to create diversity and match accordingly. However, H&M may of gone unnoticed as a global organisation breaking the boundaries within the industry on what is ethically and socially right to do as a brand, if they had not only used one pose throughout the entirety of their website and catalogue at the time.

An H&M spokesman explained to Adweek that, “for our Shop Online we are using a combination of real-life models’ pictures, still-life pictures, and virtual mannequin pictures. For all other marketing and campaigns—outdoor, TV, print, and other media—H&M will continue to use real-life models.”

This can be seen visually below.

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What I found most disturbing about this was how slim the models are. An International brand with huge amounts of influential power on the high-street chose to portray their ‘ideal’ women as a super skinny runway model-esk figure, opposed to seeing an opportunity to create perhaps a figure based on todays average woman, or a range of bodies showcasing different ‘normal’ figures if they feel the need to chose CGI over real-life models. Why did such a brand feel the need to go down this route to promote their clothing and accessory products? Perhaps this is for quicker turn around within the design and work involved in constantly updating an ecommerce site and a catalogue. Regardless of the reason, the impact can be damaging – especially if this was to catch on throughout the industry.

Adweek suggest that complaints have been made regarding these computer generated models, stating that the “stepford model ideal” promoted is not attainable nor correctly proportioned. Regardless of the ‘image which H&M have gone for with their new models, no two people look the same, and even if H&M used very slim real-life models, this would paint a better picture of the standardisation of women opposed to promoting the idea of ‘clones’ to women.

Furthermore, the online magazine site Jezebel, reported that H&M have also used computer generated models which upon close inspection actually have no faces. Whether this is a mistake a not, it proves that technologies cannot be relied on and that using real models would be more reliable in this respect.

This is evidenced in the photos shown below, whilst also being able to see quite clearly how poorly the CGIs have been put together in regards to photo manipulation, specifically shadows as shown below, enhancing the fact that this is in fact not a real person.

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Sources:
http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/hm-under-fire-putting-models-heads-perfect-cgi-bodies-136974, Last Accessed: 13th October 2016
http://jezebel.com/5824561/new-hm-catalog-features-model-with-no-face, Last Accessed: 13th October 2016

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Further Instagram Blogging Posts

This is working towards objective 4.A and 1.

Following up on my previous post showing the initial posts I had shared on Instagram from the past couple of weeks, I wanted to follow this up with the most recent set of posts.

In addition to sharing these digital posts, I have also been sharing the screen-printing experiments via my Instagram platform to engage active members of the target audience to connect, comment or like in order for me to gain further insight to analyse over time, whilst also seeing which aesthetic my target audience prefer, allowing for this to be applied going forwards in order to gain the largest reach to share the message and findings of my research questions.

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The caption for this particular post was: “When society tells you how to be, how to look, how to be as a person.. brands reinforce their power, redesign their packaging to sell those ideas” enforcing that ideas of brand culture, the power of advertising and also the power of packaging design which is becoming much more important in the saturated beauty market in order to make both new and existing products stand out.

With the boom of the ‘brow trend’, brands have very quickly caught on to this trend and engagement and have since very quickly released new and existing products as part of a new range to entice even more individuals into the cosmetics world, showing their power, and also highlighting the sheepishness of the consumer market.

This particular post has been designed using digital illustration in order to gain a recognisable and realistic CAD design opposed to being a flat vector, contrasting some of my previous posts slightly, whilst also being re creations of real products allowing for brand specific messaged to be relayed.

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This post, again echoes what has been noted above, whilst also adding another post related to the ‘Kylie Cosmetics’ range as also noted through a previous design. Again using a CAD style of illustration and a tongue-in-chic tone of voice, Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits have been re-drawn showcasing how synonymous her name is with her products, logo, and packaging. ‘Bebas Neue’ is the font which Kylie Cosmetics uses for both branding and packaging design and therefore has also been used allowing for instant recognisability and visual connection with the viewer.

The product name however has been changed to “WHAT’S MY NAME AGAIN?” being inspired by the cultural icon of Kylie Jenner and the idea that when you become so famous and so recognisable you lose your identity and become a commodity. I feel this is extremely resonant with Jenner reaching out into the cosmetics market, and dominating it via social media platform Instagram, therefore being natural to include it in this exploratory project.

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The post above was tagged with the caption, “How many of you would say that about yourselves when you look in the mirror? You are beautiful. Have confidence and forget what the media tells you to look like”, in order to showcase the importance of vanity in the digital age, and to also empower women to believe in themselves and spark thought about the way that they perceive themselves.

This post features simply typography, and a subtle illustration allowing for a further visual link between posts. Typography has been used in such solitary format in order to relay a message in a way whereby the viewer is instantly impacted by the question they are faced, provoking thought.

Posts on Instagram:

Below shows the above posts in context. I have also shown some comments which I received in regards to feedback, as well as the hashtags used to engage with the Instagram community which I am currently trailing and testing out to see what gives the best reach and engagement. Positive feedback also allows me to see that the subject matter and visuals are being received well and having a positive impact, which also affirming the idea of critical-design as used by Dunne and Raby (2007) allowing for such posts to mock assumptions and preconceptions of how one is told to look and be by the media, therefore highlighting such issue in an indirect way.

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Selfie Culture: The Importance of Selfies within Social Media Cultures

This is working towards objective 1.

It is noted by some such as Rizzoli, that Kim Kardashian is the “trailblazer” and almost icon of the “selfie movement” which we are currently living within the rise of digital technologies and social media. Therefore, I have noted two books, ‘Selish’ by Kim Kardashian and ‘Capture Your Style’ by Fashion Blogger/Vlogger Aimee Song. Both represent this movement and the power of it, and therefore direct how to do it well in order to turn “an Instagram hobby into a successful business” as Song notes in a manner which would make any active and engaging Instagram users believe that it is also possible for them also with the right ‘look’ and image. Not only that but Song actively encourages her readers and followers to carefully edit their photographs to achieve the perfect addition to their carefully curated Instagram feed. This can also be seen in a video below. I found the video very interesting in the sense that Aimee is very controlling in the way others take photos of her, ensuring she is perceived in a particular, and controlled way therefore obviously being very aware of her body image and self-perception, especially in regards to what angles are used to take ‘the best photos’. This confirms how obsessive this form of photography, where by through taking our own photos – selfies – or directing the shoots of our own portraits, we are in full control in a narcissistic sense of what we are showing the public.

I have also noted these two books in my initial plan for my Professional Context presentation, looking at how these cultural, blogger and celebrity influences are impacting on our body image through their use of social media.

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Selfish by Kim Kardashian
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“The selfie photography of Kim Kardashian West, featuring many never-before-seen personal images from one of the most recognizable and iconic celebrities in the world. From her early beginnings as a wardrobe stylist, Kim Kardashian West has catapulted herself into becoming one of the most recognizable celebrities in Hollywood. Hailed by many (including Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci) as the modern-day personification of Marilyn Monroe, Kim has become a true American icon. With her curvaceous style, successful reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, DASH clothing store, makeup and perfume lines, she has acquired a massive fan following in the multi-millions. Through social media (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook), Kim connects with her fans on a daily basis, sharing details of her life with her selfie photography. Widely regarded as a trailblazer of the “selfie movement”—a modern-day self-portrait of the digital age—Kim has mastered the art of taking flattering and highly personal photos of oneself. For the first time in print, this book presents some of Kim’s favorite selfies in one volume—from her favorite throwback images to current ultra-sexy glam shots—and provides readers with a behind-the-scenes look into this larger-than-life star.”
– Rizzoli

Noted Reviews:
“The first lady of #fame – the 100 Most Influential People” –Time Magazine

“Kim Kardashian already broke the internet. Now she’s poised to break the best-seller lists. . . . It’s easy to mock – indeed, the title almost does it for you – but this seemingly throw-away collection may end up being just as much a part of pop-art history as when Andy Warhol painted soup cans.” –Daily News

“Kim Kardashian is the queen of selfies, and she’s planning to make sure everyone knows it in her upcoming book, Selfish.” –MTV News

“Now there’s a book cover if we’ve ever seen one! . . . this book is obviously made for her biggest fans. Not to mention it includes previously unseen selfies!” –USA Today

“Kim Kardashian can take a selfie anywhere, and we mean anywhere!” –E! News

“In her new coffee-table book, Selfish, the reality star documents nine years of her life in selfies – some seen by millions, others revealed for the first time.” –Harper’s Bazaar

“Now you can get between the covers with her— hardcovers, that is. With more than 400 pages of intimate snaps (including bikini selfies, lingerie selfies and, yes, several nude selfies), flipping through her new photo book Selfish, published by art-house giant Rizzoli, feels like scrolling through a fabulously rich and beautiful friend’s well-curated smartphone.” –Playboy Magazine

“As they say, you have to love yourself first! After months of anticipation (and just a touch of eye-rolling), Kim Kardashian’s selfie-filled coffee table book, aptly entitled Kim Kardashian’s Selfish, [has] finally arrive[d].” –US Weekly

“Kim Kardashian has joined the ranks of Giacometti, da Vinci, Lichtenstein, O’Keeffe, and just about every other revered artist of any era: she, too, now has a Rizzoli-published book devoted to her work at the forefront of an artistic movement. Indeed, Rizolli notes that she’s ‘widely regarded as a trailblazer of the ‘selfie movement.’” –Flavorwire.com

“Treat your coffee table to a 300-page collection of Kim’s best selfies . . . ” –People Magazine

“[Kim K’s] the queen of the selfie. And her soon-to-be released hardcover book . . . should be all the evidence she’ll need to maintain that throne.” –CR Fashion Book

“Attention all Kim Kardashian fans – here’s the E! star as you’ve never seen her before! . . . aptly dubbed Selfish . . . [the images] definitely don’t disappoint.” –E! Online 

“As it stands, Kim Kardashian West holds the title for most Instagram followers (at 30 million) just behind the platform’s own account (at 60 million). An average Kim K selfie garners upwards of 650,000 likes with her wedding photo receiving 2.5 million likes. With all that in mind, there’s no question that Kim’s controversial new book, Selfie, is going to fly off the shelves.” –V Magazine

“From her favorite throwback images to current ultra-sexy glam shots, Selfish will provide readers with a behind-the-scenes look into Kardashian’s life.” –In Style Magazine

http://www.rizzoliusa.com/book.php?isbn=9780789329202, Last accessed: 12th October 2016

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Capture Your Style by Aimee Song
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“Oh. My. Gosh. You guys, I can’t believe it’s finally time to tell you this… I wrote a book! I’ve been blogging for about eight years now and in that time I’ve gotten to go all around the world to the most beautiful destinations and attend events I dreamed of when I was younger. A huge part of those experiences and my success as an influencer has been documenting them on Instagram. That’s what this book is all about–how to showcase your life through beautiful photos on Instagram.

Why should you want it? Instagram is so much more than a platform for pretty pictures. It’s the fastest-growing social media network with an engaged community, a major marketing tool for brands, a place where Beyoncé drops her albums, and a hub where products can be bought with a simple double tap. Including everything from fashion, travel, food, décor, and more, I’m giving you insider tips on curating a gorgeous feed and growing an audience.

Inside, you’ll learn ways to craft your voice and story on Instagram: all about how to edit your photos using the best apps and filters, how to prop and style food and fashion photos, how to gain more followers, and secrets behind building a top Instagram brand, transforming an Instagram hobby into a successful business.”
– Aimee Song, Song of Style

http://www.songofstyle.com/2016/05/wrote-book-called-capture-style.html

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Questions raised through Research

Below shows a list of questions which I have raised and noted whilst undertaking research, writing my project plans and mapping out my first Professional Context presentation in relation to my practice and my research question, “How do Magazines and Social Media within the Fashion and Beauty Industries, affect our sense of body image and self-perception?” I have realised that by logging these questions I am then able to assess which research methods can be used to try and find answers, whilst helping to direct topics of research going forward.

Questions raised:

How does this ever-lasting stream of so-called ‘ideals’, ‘perfection’, bloggers/vloggers and social media ‘famous’ affect our own ideas of our body image and self-perception?

Does this form of media affect us and influence us in a different way to magazines?

Is this due to content on social media in comparison to magazines?

Do people still read magazines and see them as a form of influence, or are we more enticed by social media for quick access and ease?

Who, or what within the Fashion and Beauty industries is the most influential in regards to our body image and self-perception?

What culture and history, for example are we missing out on as a society are we missing out on if we are forever taking photos of ourselves, rather than taking photos of our surroundings and those who we are with?

Is our self-indulgence taking away pleasure in our experiences?

Our we sourcing locations to take photographs for our social media accounts, or are we sourcing locations to take in what is there?

How do we feel if we cannot recreate or maintain that “flawless” look achieved through makeup apps?

How do these technologies add to the debates amongst body image and self-perception within a world which is becoming more narcissistic, controlling and standardised?

How does Western culture influence body image and self-perception in other countries due to the accessibility of celebrity culture, bloggers/vloggers, social media and the idea of the standardisation of beauty?

Do we have to look a certain way now to appeal to the opposite sex?

What do men think about the rise of beauty trends and fads?

What do they think of current ‘icons’ such as Kim Kardashian for example whom influence the looks and perceptions of women so much?

Do males and females feel differently about these issues?

How does the pressure to look a certain way, and the pressure to brand ourselves in someway affect our sense of self-perception and body image?

How do the streams of constant selfies and ‘perfect photography affect our sense of self-perception and body image?

How does instantly mimicking ‘the looks of others affect our sense of self-perception and beauty?

Are we more likely to try and change our appearance permanently through liking the results of edited photos more than what we see in the mirror?

Is this due to the over-exposure of Western models, magazines and social media platforms?

How does this affect the ‘everyday woman’ in Japan, her self-perception and purchases/activities?

Brands with power such as H&M, have the ability to digitally create any shape model – how does their chosen model correlate to their target audience and demographic?

How do these occurances within the fashion industry affect body image and
self-perception issues of the consumer?

Brand reputation, awareness and policies/ethics.

How was this campaign recieved by consumers and the target audience alike?

Could this way of showcasing items of clothing help with diversity issues in regards to body image if used in a different way?

Should we as women conform and look at a certain way?

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Initial Screen-Printing Experiments

This is working towards objective 4.C.

For my initial screen-printing experiments which make up part of my “Social Media Posts and Poster” Project as noted below, I chose to select this particular post to experiment with.

I wanted to test different colours and inks to see what the best method of print (digital or traditional) is in regards to outcome and commerciality, in order to take a selected few further for development whilst acting as pieces of critical-design led research via engaging with the active target audience mocking preconceived assumptions, expectations and ideas.

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“This post is essentially a satirical, mocking and sarcastic response to the instantly recognisable drippy lip icon which Kylie Jenner uses to symbolise her ‘Lip Kits’. The concept of this was perceiving the packaging design and iconography as how we should use the product without prior knowledge of cosmetics, responding to a world and community where individuals are so guided and influenced by visuals, therefore assuming that everyone is aware of these products, brands and uses.”

Below shows a range of photographs documenting the screen-printing process. The colours chosen initially to work with were Flesh Colour for the Lips, Metallic Gold, Gloss Red and Black. For this, red acrylic paint was mixed with Spot Varnish in order to contrast with the matte lips and typography. The same thought process was behind this with the gold – not only to add a different dimension to the print in regards to the effects produced digitally, but to associate with the “Kylie Cosmetics” and target audience also.

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Whilst printing the Red Lips as shown above, I realised that I had not accounted for leakage around the edges of the screen leaving bleed marks as shown above. I also found it quite difficult to align the lipstick drips to the lips as I set-up the print bed with the main print to the back of the screen. I found that I was wasting quite a lot of time and prints trying to sort out the slight miss alignments – also shown above. When I began to set the screen up for the gold prints, I sealed the edges to avoid leakage and bleed, and also set up the print-bed backwards to ensure the print I was working on first was closest to the front. I hoped after spending so much time to resolve the issues printing initially that the gold versions would work out better.

I found by having the print closer to me, I was able to align the remainder of the prints correctly, however the metallic gold ink came out quite transparent allowing for a gold sheen to be applied, opposed to a block of colour. I wasn’t overly keen on how this looks as didn’t feel it was as strong visually as the digital versions. I also felt that the prints as a whole looked very flat due to a lack of background colour or tone within the colours used for the lips for example.

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A3 Poster Prints and A6 Postcards were produced as shown below.

I do feel though however that even though the screen-printing process was enjoyable, it may not be the best form of print to take forward throughout my practice and development due to be so time consuming and limiting in regards to the amount of experiments I’d like to carry out surrounding this particular Social Media Post and Poster project.

In comparison to the breadth and amount of work, effects and variety which can be achieved digitally in the same time, I found with my ideas for on-going posts it makes more sense visually and logically to continue producing digital varieties. I also feel that I can produce more impactful results digitally, and furthermore I can target the ‘digital age’ of active social media users, via digital posts, which I feel will be very beneficial in regards to targeting the right audience and receiving the right feedback through my critical-design led posts.

In addition, the variety of posts which I have ‘posted’ on Instagram over the past week would not all allow for easy translatable designs which could be screen printed to the same ‘glossy’ effect, as I have included and shown to date through variety of CAD designs.

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Taking this onwards, I am hoping to work digitally producing a further range of experimental prints and posts which can feed into both the Poster Project and also the zine, which again I feel by working digitally will be more in tune with the chosen target audience for such projects. I would also like to continue working with a critical-design approach.

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