Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.
My design manifesto stems from a journey of process, beginning with inspiration, textile investigation, production and communication. My outcomes are linked by a handcrafted methodology, nostalgia and contrasts of tactility. My youth in the New Zealand punk scene has come to influence my design signature. Punk is a subculture that emerged in the 1970s, centred on punk rock music, nonconformity and encouraging personal freedom. The subculture of punk encompasses DIY ethics and anti-establishment views. Recent projects such as You Bit off More than you Could Chew reflect this ethos.
Figure 1. Julia Palm, You Bit off More than you Could Chew, JPALM AW15, lookbook image. Model Lily Van Buskirk of Ali Mcd Agency, makeup artist Severine Costa. Photography Rachel H Allan.
Drawing on personal experiences gives my work authenticity, and also creates brand individuality for my label JPALM. My most recent projects have all referred to my connection with textile play. This is my most successful base for designing, and has led me down interesting and explorative paths. My work always centres on a dark colour scheme and creating interest with tactile surfaces. My work in design, illustration and styling all reflect these crossovers.
You Bit off More than you Could Chew was a collection designed for autumn/winter 2015 and consisted of five outfits.
The theme for this project drew on my youth in the New Zealand punk scene. My earliest memory of taking ownership of my own style was through punk culture, and many of the textile experiments explored in this project were triggered by my original DIY punk aesthetic.
Reflecting this nostalgia, my definition of punk attire is dark, decaying, patched and stitched. Simple structures are highly customised with handcrafted additions and embellishments. Modification, distressing, layering and disintegration track the life cycle of ‘crust punk’ clothing. A relationship develops with each garment as it reflects the individuality of the maker. The garment progresses and changes with the wearer, showing off each stain, rip, hole and patch. Crust punk is a sub-genre of punk that took off in the 1980s, amalgamating anarcho-punk, hardcore and metal. Crust punk is an expansion of punk culture, with politically engaged and nihilistic content and (musically) a slower, heavier sound.
The main references I make to punk culture in this collection are patching, hand stitching, discolouring, experimenting with texture, rawness, a DIY aesthetic and my memories of working in a make/trade environment. I have carried this aesthetic through to my visual communication and workbooking techniques – I thrive off making a whole project speak the same language. I have approached punk as an inspiration based on my personal involvement, feeling and experiences within the subculture, rather than grabbing at popular identifiers of punk in the mainstream. An integral part of my design process is moodboarding. This is an area I flourish in and it brings out my love of illustration. My moodboards are a true reflection of myself and my creative skills beyond fashion design. I like to think of them as separate artworks in their own right, informing my fashion design process. For these moodboards I used my own photography, illustration and collage.
My creative workspace is essential to my process. My private studio becomes my haven while creating, and allows me not to be distracted by the influence of others or by stress. My workspace reflects my theme and process during each project, and I adorn my walls with fabric samples, moodboards, textile experiments and memorabilia. This helps me to keep focused on the goals and objectives of each project and contributes to my design manifesto.
Figure 2. Julia Palm, You Bit off More than you Could Chew, JPALM AW15, lookbook image. Model Lily Van Buskirk of Ali Mcd Agency, makeup artist Severine Costa. Photography Rachel H Allan.
Figure 3. Julia Palm, You Bit off More than you Could Chew, JPALM AW15, lookbook image. Model Lily Van Buskirk of Ali Mcd Agency, makeup artist Severine Costa. Photography Rachel H Allan.
You Bit off More than you Could Chew allowed me to convert nostalgia originating in my relationship with punk into design in an original and authentic way. My goal was to represent my feelings and experiences of punk in a fashion-forward context, enabling me to underline the importance of my emotional bond to process. Keywords that influence my manifesto are ‘tactile,’ ‘dark,’ ‘authentic,’ ‘harmonious’ and ‘recognisable.’ You Bit off More than you Could Chew represents the culmination of my design strengths to date, and is a stepping stone towards Fashion Design Studio 6, my final major project in my Bachelor of Design (Fashion).
JPALM Design Manifesto
JPALM is aware of tailoring with an edge of dilapidation.
JPALM creates for the sullen and empowered.
JPALM distills experiences into tactile and authentic fashion.
She isn’t afraid of her own voice.
Julia Palm is in the final year of her Bachelor of Design (Fashion) at Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin.