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Mask Manifesto

Positionality statement.
I was born in Venezuela and grew up in a number of countries. My father is Chilean/Dutch and my mother is Australian and we moved around the world with my father working for a New Zealand company. I am a white heterosexual male who finds it hard to strongly identify with one nation or culture. My formative years were in Sri Lanka. These were special years where l learnt that the human experience has a need for creativeness. Throughout my travels I have had the opportunity to view and experience many traditional festivals and ceremonies, I believe these experiences drove my desire to create wearable art that transforms the wearer. The aspect of these cultural ceremonies that stuck out the most was the use of masks to portray different identities or characters in their stories. As a child l loved the idea that masks hid a real person. I loved the mystery of the mask wearer and the idea they were projecting a false reality to the viewer. I have always been inspired by this and in recent years I have related the concept of a mask to the hiding of my own identity. The struggle of not feeling like I belong to one county lead me to unknowingly mask my true feeling about this topic. Because of this, I had somewhat blocked the thought out and it was only just in my toolkit assignment that I found the common thread of not knowing my true identity. It also made me aware that I have been masking some of my creative talents for the fear of being mislabelled. An area I will continue to explore is the idea of “toxic masculinity”. As a young male I was labelled because of my interests in fashion, performance and my role as a hair and makeup artist for theatre productions. Students and adults presumed l was gay. This presumption impacted me because no one likes to be categorised. While I don't think being labelled as gay is a negative thing, I just wanted to do what interested me and not feel defined by other people’s judgements or opinions. I believe this type of mislabelling affects many men in the creative industries.

My beliefs.
I believe the human experience is a community experience where we gain knowledge and inspiration from the world around. We develop our own iconography from being inspired by other artists and designers. We acknowledge that our own work can inspire and create ideas for others to build upon.

I believe that fashion can hide or reveal a person. It covers a person and projects an image to the outside world.

• My interest in fashion, fashion accessories and sculpture comes from a love of artistic form and how this can be used to deliver a message.
• I see my creations as a medium to make viewers more aware of the negative impact of mislabelling people, particularly the idea of ‘toxic masculinity”.
• I want my work to engage people and give them a feeling of self-worth and potential, and maybe understand themselves better.
• I want my work to create a sense of optimism. I want people to feel good and come away with a positive feeling and hopefully a sense of excitement.
• My goal is also to be innovative and adhere to sustainability practices so that l create the least negative impact environmentally, ethically, socially, and politically.

How can I do this?
*Design fashion that is durable and lasts
*Design fashion that can be repaired, upcycled or reused
*Source design materials /manufacturing methods that have the least negative impact on the environment
*Source manufacturers that are socially and ethically sound
*Consider the supply chain, items are made to order so that there is no excess stock.

Design Principles.
Emphasis refers to exaggerated elements of a garment to draw the viewers focus. This could be done with bold colours, patterns or eye-catching features of a garment.

Variety can either be used in a singular garment or a whole collection. Variety as a fashion design principle means creating contrast between designs, making the experience fresh and interesting for the audience.

Inclusive design to me means creating garments that appeal to a diverse demographic.

Proportion is a fundamental design principle which is key to the design and construction of a garment.

Without unity, garments would look unfinished and out of place when pieced together. Repeating, or creating a motif throughout the design process allows for cohesiveness and can also provide a touch of professionalism.

Mask design and creation.
I want to use different types of materials/objects. I am inspired by the works of Jeff Koon who transforms everyday objects and popular culture into forms which question ideas about desire and hope, individuality and the masses. I love his use of materials and the beautiful forms and shapes he creates. I have always been interested in forms both natural and man-made. As a child l would find inspiration in natural objects and transform them into simple forms. Everyday objects give inspiration to create the unexpected. Mass objects or everyday familiar objects, and natural objects are part of our history and community. These are objects with no authorship or ownership. This conversion of materials is a fascination and a driving force behind my creativity. As Jeff Koons stated about Dali’s work, “What l like about Dali is his interest in everyday life and everyday objects, and in the power of transcendence through material things- this journey of going inward.” (Ed. Gioni, 2021, Page 131).

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