After witnessing first-hand the effects of a tragic car accident, my project initially began by researching into these unfortunate events. I focussed on making a functional collection to reduce the physical consequences, which led me to emphasise my concept on protection and security.
From further research, I began to see an increase in mental health effects as a result of these accidents, especially anxiety. Though there has been an increase in opportunities to support suffers of anxiety (helplines, Mental Health Awareness Week, etc.), I wanted to shift my focus towards designing products that would personally relax the user at all times. This has enabled me to design an inclusive range of garments that particularly aids and protects wearers from feelings of distress, by creating practical and creative elements within the garments.
I began reading interviews and found images of sufferers’ artwork, indicating that panic attacks were especially common. Initially inspired by car/bike accidents, I took detailing inspiration from Belstaff and Barbour, high-end men’s brands, whilst also implementing the colour palettes and silhouettes from Stone Island. This enhanced my design development and pattern cutting skills; integrating innovative features that will relax the wearer.
I concluded that my customers didn’t resonate with the traits of Belstaff and Barbour’s. Further research ultimately led me to design a collaborative range between Y-3 and Stone Island; Y-3’s diffusion of functional sportswear and avant-guard design specifically caught my eye. The design development from Stone Island relates with Y-3’s streetwear style, whilst the unique design incorporates innovative features that aid users, targeting a specific set of consumers with a new high-end fashion sports niche.
My products include soft fabrics, interchangeable pockets, and bar codes that direct the user to a playlist. This consists of relaxing music and breathing exercises, calming the user if enduring a panic attack. Relievers such as an opening within the sleeves allow air onto the body, whilst tightening features, text, compression clothing and weighted fabric are further details. Aromatherapy can also be beneficial, so I considered creative techniques to merge the scents into the garments. Sweating is a key symptom when undergoing a panic attack; fabric research has shown advanced methods to modify cotton fabric so it emits a floral aroma when fused with sweat, decreasing distress. As a student, I am unable to fulfil this notion due to high costs, yet this idea is included in my sketchbook for future fashion to consider. Furthermore, I have utilized the aromatherapy process within my store layout plan, including a range of scents with the diffuser, allowing the client to relax in a private area.