Today I researched designer Christian Benner. I chose to research him because I think that he’s work is a perfect example of the word “”custom-made”. He’s inspiration comes from the whole punk rock scene of the late 70’s and 80’s. He’s mostly famous for his leather jackets and t-shirts, that he often compares the artistic process of which, to a creation of painting. I thought that this is exactly what I need, because the topic to my FMP is: “Clothing as Canvas.” and he can be one of my big and helpful inspirations. Benner’s creative processes are very “savage”. He sometimes posts videos of himself (during the creation process of he’s customized pieces) on his social media, which is – instagram. And that’s where I got really inspired to try out something similar. Analysing he’s videos I could clearly see that he would always have some sort of t-shirt or leather jacket in front of him and he would literally “torture” the fabric until it gets this cool distressed look.
So, I went to look for all the materials I would need (according to Benner’s videos) to achieve the same result as he did. I went and bought oversized/plain white t-shirts from Primark, spray paint, scissors, bleach, fabric markers and a lighter. The procedure held place at my accommodation in the smoking area. So that if I would set anything on fire, it is safe because I’m in the open air + I had a bottle of water by my side, just in case. So I hanged the t-shirt on one of the walls, just like Benner does, and started trying out all the materials and different ways I could distress the fabric.
I mostly enjoyed creating holes on the t-shirt with scissors, because it turned out to be way easier than I though, plus it looked very natural. Burning the fabric didn’t give me the result I was expecting, maybe because the t-shirt was white, but it didn’t leave the “burnt marks” I wanted, the fabric very quickly turned black/brown and I had to pour water over it because the fire spread quiet quickly and there was a lot of smoke. However, I liked the result of using a cigarette, it looked way more accurate and sort of like a hole with burnt ends, that’s what I was looking for. Spray paint as well, didn’t meet my expectations, it was very hard to “draw” on the fabric, the paint could only cover large areas, plus when the tee dried out a bit, the texture of the fabric changed from being really soft to being hard and tough. The fabric markers were working pretty good on fabric, but I guess to draw or write something decent looking you need to be working on a flat surface and not how I did it, all at once.
Overall, I enjoyed kind of creating and improvising (customizing) as I go and distressing the t-shirt. I didn’t really like how the final outcome looked like, maybe because I didn’t think my steps through, I just went with it sort of thing. But I did enjoy the freedom of it, because sometimes it’s very healthy to just not care, not think and give yourself a chance to really improvise. Next time I might get more different shades of the spray paint and think through what I’m going to do. I will stay away from burning, because I didn’t like the result of it and definitely experiment more with fabric markers and fabric paint.