Monday, May 3, 2010

Beta Fashion

A few months ago I entered a fashion competition through a website called Beta Fashion.

I had never heard of the website before, but I liked their concept. Hot (and some not so hot) designers join the community and read the guidelines for the challenge released for the designers. They then create a line of outfits, consisting of 3-5 looks, all while following the rules explained in the guidelines . The community rates the designs and the highest rated ones gets shortlisted. These are then rated by a jury consisting of designers, buyers etc, people active within the business.

I have been designing clothes since I was 9, which makes me active in the art for 12 years. I had actually never designed a collection before; picked a theme and making all the pieces fit the chosen theme. I usually just sketch loads and loads of clothes, but I don't try to follow a specific theme. I try to explore loads of different styles, cuts, colours, try to develop my personal design style. I thus thought it would be interesting to follow a theme, follow rules that somebody else had given me.

There were three options to choose from:

1) Neon Noir - Film Noir splashed with neon
2) Epic 80's - Turn historical movie costumes into a hybrid of old and the 80's
3) East Meets Western - Well... the title is rather self-explanatory

I chose the first theme, and this is what my contribution looked like:

I was actually very happy with my designs. I know I could have worked more on the models, making the style of drawing looke more professional, so I will have to work harder on that next time around. What I had in mind was to have the models look a bit like cartoon figures, but it didn't actually turn out the way I wanted them to. But I think I interpretated the theme very well and that all the designs are very commercial and easily sellable.

I eagerly waited for the raiting period to end, and was excited to see I got a 2.56 out 5. I was hoping to make the shortlist! I did not get shortlisted though and was not in the runnings of winning on of the two selections that were going to be made. I was quite dissapointed.

The two selected winners can be seen below:

I was actually quite distressed to see that the first one had a lot of users in the comment section with the same surname as the designer. One user even saying she was the designer's auntie. It got a lot of attention and I was left wondering how many friends and relatives she got to vote for her, as I was not seeing all the "WOW" in it. And to me at least, if all other entries get about 30 votes at most and this one gets 150 votes, I'm thinking the girl has a lot of friends. The clothes look rather simple and did not appear to be winning material to me. The illustration style was very good, but the actual clothes did not impress me. I was also not able to see the actual theme interpreted; Neon Noir? I also thought it wasn't young and fresh enough, it didn't bring anything new to it. 

As for the second winner... I am dissapointed it won over my designs. A fringed vest? Really? I like the second dress, I think the rope detailing is very nice. But apart from that the clothes in this one are also not doing a very good job impressing me.

I think this website needs to rethink their approach to this competition and not let people with a lot of relatives/friends have a bigger opportunity to win than others. It's not about contacts and popularity in the sense of getting everybody you know to give you top scores. It is supposed to be about finding hot new talent. 

So maybe they should think about giving up this rating system and having the judges look at all the entries?

Either way, I'm looking forward to the next round. It will be interesting to see what the guidelines are and what I will come up with.

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