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Understanding the fashion figure

[Understanding the fashion figure]
sketch painted red

The term ‘fashion figure’ is saturated with many meanings and characteristics of sociocultural significance. These are particularly focused on the representations of gender and the standards of beauty.

Fashion accommodates a variety of interpretations, associations, and meanings. It is also infused with social and cultural significance and belongs in a contemporary context. For fashion designers, this usually involves a process of personal research and inquiry to give form to an idea that is communicated through their own aesthetic perspective. In doing so each representation of a fashion figure is quite unique and individual, even if a designer is working for an established label or for their own collection.

One constant factor throughout the process of fashion design is the requirement to address the human form. This may appear rather limited or constrained at first, however, in reality, a fashion designer has a wide variety of methods and techniques available from which to construct and communicate an individual approach to drawing or rendering a fashion figure whether through a sketch, a drawing or an illustration.

The term ‘fashion figure’ is widely used by fashion designers to describe a stylized human form and by association is also infused with sociocultural meanings and characteristics, particularly around representations and presentations of gender identities and standards of beauty. These are important considerations not to be trivialized, however, it is also important to understand that in the context of fashion design the fashion figure also represents a construct to enable a design to find expression.

Consequently, fashion sketches and particularly illustrations are characterized by stylistic elements that may include exaggerated proportions. This gives rise to the notion of figurative drawing in fashion where the intention is not just to present a design on a body but rather to communicate a ‘look’ or style by accentuating proportions and projecting an attitude or mood as part of the overall visual communication.

In the next step, you will interpret figurative drawings in fashion and examine the impact proportion has on the evaluation of fashion drawings.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Fashion Design

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