Monday, February 25, 2013

The Vintage Pattern Selector

A new book this year is that published by Jo Barnfield. Barnfield is a designer/maker who works under the name of 'House of Jo'. Since graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textiles, she had worked in the fashion industry as a pattern cutter and as a technical illustrator for Jasmine Di Milo. She currently lectures at Bath Spa University and City of Bath College, teaching design, pattern cutting and construction. Therefore, who better to produce a book entitled 'The Vintage Pattern Selector'.

Actually, this book is quite an interesting take on general pattern books as it allows the practical reader to mix and match a whole range of styles across the twentieth century. It is very much a mix and match project as it allows an opportunity for infinite self-expression. This is not a book that encourages the replication of specific historical looks, though that can be done if wished, it is, however,  much more a case of mashing for costume, allowing anyone to mix the 1920s with the 1960s, the 1940s with the 1980s. As the publicity for the books says:

'Wear a 1960s style shift dress with a classic 80s blazer. Match a 40s cowl neck blouse with 70s style tapered trousers.'

I think that it is true to say that we are living in a design era that uses complex and often multi-layered, multi-cultural and even multi-generational inspirational points as an everyday fact. In this respect, the use of a book such as 'The Vintage Pattern Selector' is an expression of our twenty first century understanding of the past. It is not a book about how to reproduce an historical event, but as the title suggests, it is a selector and the selector is the individual reader, individuality through specific individual choice, as it should be. If you take this book and its ethos to heart, imagine a fashion world dominated by the individual and their personal choices, a matter of the bottom of the pyramid calling the shots, rather than the small apex at the top. I suppose we can only dream at this point, but the philosophy of 'The Vintage Pattern Selector' seems to be going in the right direction.


pansypoo said...

butbutbut fashion is recycling the early 80's now.

John hopper said...

I must admit that I was probably talking of design in general, rather than just the ashion world. The fashion world has a long way to go before it sorts out its problems, from child labour, to environmental polution, to the dictatorship of style. We will have to see how the century develops.

pansypoo said...

i have an old 1950's i think knitting pattern book. i have so many knitting pattern 'books' then i changes + i make easy tunic sweaters + play w/ collars. IF i'd start knitting! i need to downsize the pattern books!

John hopper said...

Old pattern books are always good. Keep them and improvise the patterns. A little bit here, a little bit there and you have a new piece of clothing, at least pattern-wise. All you have to do then is make it.