Thursday, April 25, 2013

Geek Chic: Dorky But Cool

It's that time of year again: time for the Robert Kaufman Fabric8 Contest. In this competition, the judges from Robert Kaufman Fabrics and Spoonflower pore over hundreds of designs (one entry from each designer) and choose 100 semi-finalists. Then the general public votes, and the top eight designers then create a collection around the original design. The general public then votes again on the collections to determine a winner, who will be given a contract to work with Robert Kaufman!

The theme for this year's contest is "Geek Chic", so I went back to my '80s roots and focused on fashion and hobbies of the hipster dweeb, naming the collection after the term coined by Judd Nelson's character, John Bender, in the ultimate '80s flick "The Breakfast Club". Using hand-drawn illustrations, as if doodled in a notebook or *gasp!* on a desk, the collection features cameras (perhaps thrifted for 25 cents before the obsession became mainstream), calculators (everyone turned into a nerd when the calculator became a necessity in the trigonometry classroom), record players, Swiss fashion watches, combs we'd put in our back pockets, hi-top sneakers, and of course, "The Cube". All of these things have become "cool" again, perhaps even more so, some 30 years later. The ultimate revenge for those of us who have always been geeks at heart!

The first design shown below, "Make It Snappy!", is the print I'm entering into the contest. It features a collection of vintage and retro cameras, including those resembling the Brownie, Polaroid One Step, Canon Snappy (my first camera)...even a couple inspired by Fisher-Price toy cameras. These may not have been geeky at the time, but collecting them now is all the rage for geeks like me. To me, "Geek Chic" could be defined as "dorky and cool at the same time." And it seems kind of dorky-yet-cool to go back to using analog objects now when digital cameras and apps for processing and sharing are the mainstream.

Make It Snappy!

Cal Q. Lator and High Energy (Gray)

Apple Pi with close-up

Hi-Fi (Black) and All-Stars (Gray)

May the Cube Be With You and Magic Cube

Hi-Fi (White) and High Energy (White)

Geeky Stripes (Black on Grid) and Oh, Goody! (Black)

All-Stars (White) and High Energy (Red)

Hi-Fi (Yellow) and Oh, Goody! (Pinstripe)

Swiss Time and Geeky Stripes (Color)

I've had so much fun working on this collection, not only because the subject matter is so nostalgic, but because it is different from anything I've done with surface pattern design. Doing the drawings and then seeing them come together with color and in patterns...I could get used to this! There are just too many geeky-but-cool things from the '80s--I have a feeling I'll be doing a second collection!


cat and vee xoxo said...

Aaaammmmyyyy!! This collection is AWESOME!! It is seriously SO fabulous, I SO hope you make it all the way through to win this competition!!

Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club was so awesome wasn't he. They all were. I loved that movie so much. Though my all-time John Hughes-movie crush was Andrew McCarthy.

Thanks so much for sharing all these designs, and the story behind them. Are they in your Spoonflower shop already, I will have to go and check. Good luck!! Cat x

Anonymous said...

These are truly awesome Amy! I am so impressed. I absolutely love the cameras, calculators, and converse! The colors and layout are amazing, the drawing style is excellent and on trend, and the collection as a group has a lot of strength. I think you have a real contender here. The last time I felt this strongly about your chances, you won! All the very best of luck to you :)

penny candy handmade said...

Thanks so much, Catherine and bubbledog! I would love to just make it to the semifinals! I'm working on refining the collection and making some new coordinates...we'll see!

@Catherine: I loved all the Brat Pack actors and characters, too! Have to admit I was one of the many who had a major crush on Jake Ryan. But also Anthony Michael Hall. Oh to be a teenager again!

@bubbledog: I know I got the colors right if you think they look good! I'll keep my fingers crossed that the '80s will prevail again in the contest. ;-) I am having a lot of fun with this collection, especially drawing by hand...going old school! If I do advance in the contest, I owe a lot of it to you, since you were the one who introduced me to Spoonflower in the first place!!!

ratty said...

SO awesome to see you in the semi finals!! LOVE this collection to bits!

penny candy handmade said...

Thank you so much, and for reading my blog! I'm refining some designs, mixing them around, trying some new things... It would be easy if six or eight designs were required for the final collection, but only four makes it hard to choose! Thanks again!

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