Posts in Tania Swift
Concrete Catwalks ~ When Art Meets Fashion

Designing the new collection is not only about creative expression but trying to use this platform to represent women ~ women of colour.

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The original images come from American Vogue, which I buy in September as it’s their major release for the up and coming seasons. The magazine is more like a book, full of advertisements by brands showcasing their latest products.

Love Inclusivity - pencil drawing with digital manipulation.

Love Inclusivity - pencil drawing with digital manipulation.

What has always struck me is the lack of diversity of women of colour in this publication, to be fair this is not the only one. Even though it is seemingly high on everyone’s agenda, there is still a clear lack of representation. It is improving but slowly.

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Flicking through the pages made me reflect on my own childhood and that of my mum and Aunty, who are both mixed race. They were adopted so any cultural alignment was severed so the only sources they could potentially align with were role models within the mass media. Sadly this was not the case. And made me think where are the role models now? Where can women of colour look? Where can they see someone similar in film, in magazines or on tv?

Girl with a Pom Pom Hat - mono print with acrylic paint.

Girl with a Pom Pom Hat - mono print with acrylic paint.

Now I am under no illusion, I know I am not able to change the world on this front. I am a solo person hoping to use my creativity to shed some light on this issue.

I hope my drawings and digital illustrations, that are printed onto t-shirts, allow this message to be communicated on the streets, creating a concrete catwalk if you like and not only held within the confines of a gallery. So the visual narrative is out there for everyone to see and support the visibility of women of colour.

Living in a Digital World

I am so torn at the moment between organic growth and trying to solve the mystery of algorithms. 

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An an online e-commerce business I know I need to be savvy when it comes to showcasing my t-shirts. How I make the website user friendly and efficient and how I utilise social media to engage people with my brand ethos.  

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However I discovered today that Instagram have changed their algorithm again so apparently only 10 people or so will see your post. I am not sure if this is true but it feels like another hurdle to master alongside still trying to navigate this digital world.  

So where to invest the energy? My plan this week is to do thorough research into the digital marketing world and come up with a plan as opposed to just being ad-hoc. There are a number of online tutorials I plan to view this week to see if the message is the same so I can be clearer with my ideas and goals.

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I think I may also need to stream line my ‘tone’ so I am attracting the right target audience to my brand. I read a recent post regarding the notion of attracting followers as opposed to chasing them, which really resonated with me and is a path I wish to pursue hence being clear regarding the brand messaging in my posts. Also, I need to find a t-shirt brand that I really like and emulate them to an extent. Which is advice I have received on a few occasions. It is just finding the right one.

But the rebel in me wants to just go with the flow and do whatever. But can a successful entrepreneur be just so?  

Reflecting On the Second Collection So Far

The launch of the second collection of T-shirts was a week today and there have been some interesting developments already.  

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The amount of traffic on my website, especially on Sunday, was interesting because it really spiked, which was the first time this had happened. So I have been analysing people’s behaviour on the website and which t-shirt they are drawn too, which is intriguing as this can change from day-to-day. I need to look in more depth at the ones getting the most views over the week. 

Excitingly I have sold some t-shirts, which is fantastic. As a designer / artist, it is always great to know your work is ‘out there’ somewhere and as a want to be entrepreneur/ business woman, it helps fund the next projects. 

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The M.I.A t-shirt (design on the left) was supported by Refugee Action via their twitter account, which I was so happy about. I hope I can donate lots of profit from this t-shirt to their worthy cause. 

So what next? I definitely need to work with a social media guru and specialist SEO person as I’m still very much a novice when it comes this area and I need an expert. I realise I am very adhoc when it comes to social media so I need a specific strategy and someone to do that side of things for me. 

I am already thinking about new designs and what I could do for the future. This is the most exciting aspect for me, being creative and expressing myself through various mediums especially via fashion.  

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I am still completely in love with the idea that the t-shirt is a canvas accessible to everyone and anyone who likes what the brand stands for and or the visual aesthetic.