Floating World

Sun Young Choi

Research output: Creative and literary works / consulting reports / case studiesPerformance and exhibitsAcademic researchpeer-review


Concept statement
Ukiyo-e(s) are woodblock prints and paintings in Japanese art that flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries. Kachō-ga is a theme representing flora, fauna, and birds popularised in 19the century.
The term ukiyo-e translates as "pictures of the floating world.” Ukiyo-e has profoundly influenced Impressionism and industrial design throughout art history. This study aims to interpret and utilize historical and artistic sources of inspiration by transferring traditional woodcut printing images of Ukiyo-e to modern digital printing on garments. In addition, by combining Ukiyo-e's flatness without depth in space and a graphic created with a linear perspective, the outfit integrates an oriental view of the world and a Western approach to present two different worlds, the past and the present, the East and the West, in harmony.

Aesthetic properties
The original image belongs to the late ukiyo-e genre of kach̄-ga, featuring birds, plants, and flowers. This is a relatively realistic description of natural materials and reflects the idea of nature-friendly ideas and Laozi's pursuit of an ideal world beyond the secular world. On top of that, a geometric pattern of gradual one-point perspective reminiscent of stairs is added to reinforce the surrealistic feeling. If the original image has a low chromatic tone based on ink, the newly added image has an artificial and vivid tone. This highlights the theme of meeting two disparate worlds by clearly showing the difference between the two images. In order to express the meeting of various worlds, a coat was devised in which shirts and jackets were combined into one. As shown in Figure 3, one piece was folded for the left panel of the front to implement a total of seven overlapped layers. The material was intended to have a depth effect by overlapping various colors and patterns using transparent polyester organdy. Unlike the real world, where gravity works, it wanted to emphasize a surreal feeling without weight. In addition, the layers of the front, back, sleeves, and pants were different.

Design process and Originality
The design process proceeded in the following order.
i) It is digitally developed a pattern construction in the form of a combination of shirts and jackets. The patterns were drawn on paper, and it was corrected through toile fitting and then digitalized on a life-size using Illustrator CC.
ii) The printing pattern was customized to the life-size front, back, and sleeve patterns. Considering the layer, the original images were mapped to the desired location over the digital CAD pattern.
iii) Geometric patterns were gradually reduced to 95% of the actual size of the pattern block and then placed on the original image. It gives the clothing a sense of space by creating a vanishing point in the middle like a one-point perspective. At this time, color harmony due to the overlapping effect is considered.
[Fig. 3] shows a left front of bodice patterns where the jacket and shirt integrate one by layers overlapped to present a surrealistic effect. When folded up based on the center vertical line, the right side becomes a jacket, and the left becomes a shirt. Unlike the front, the back is composed of twofold layers. In the upper part, a jacket collar is attached to the front, and in the lower part, a shirt collar is attached to the inner part of the front.

This study is meaningful in that it expanded the possibility of digital printing and modernly reinterpreted historical and artistic design inspiration to provide new applications. The clothing composition method designed to this end is appropriate to express the design concept in a way that minimizes the discarded part and adds a sense of space and three-dimensional feeling to the clothing. It is hoped that this study will give insight to students studying fashion design and the practitioners considering historical and cultural sources in fashion design development.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputArt medium
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2022
EventInternational Textile and Apparel Association 2022 Annual Conference - Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, United States
Duration: 27 Oct 202229 Oct 2022


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