Last week after class our group met up with our assigned librarian, Alycia Sellie to see if there was some way we could get around the copyright walls we had hit in terms of using images from Vogue.com in our project. Since no one, including Alycia has given us a definite “NO,” we’re going to proceed using the images that we need with credits. Along with wrapping up my essay on Tokenism, I’ve been trying to brainstorm ways that my section could be visualized. Since I don’t really have great knowledge of the language for the tools I’d maybe want to use, I’m going to sketch my ideas out, explain it, and see if one of the fellows can lead me in the right direction.
Tuesday was the deadline for our group that determined whether or not we’d have to re-route the entire thing, and we did, so we met with Jennifer Tang that Thursday in hopes that she could pass on some guidance to us. We were able to come up with some great ideas based on the data that we weren’t able to access. We defined our project threads, so basically we’re going to create an essay style visual, something totally different than what we started out doing. For now, we’ve divided the project into three sections: Racial Categorization, Missing/Messy data and Tokenism. Each section will be led by a member of the group. At our meeting earlier today, we were able to get a lot of our thoughts on paper about our individual sections, which also came in handy when we were preparing the presentation for Tuesday’s class. At our next meeting, I think we agreed to start talking about how we’re going to visualize these sections.
Last Thursday we had an extremely productive and thought inducing meeting with the GC Fellow, Jennifer Tang. That Tuesday was the deadline we created for ourselves in terms of getting the data from casting agencies that would supplement our project. Of course, we only heard back from one agency, so the meeting on Thursday was centered around the re-routing of our project. Jennifer helped us organize the threads of the project that we brainstormed on Tuesday, and organize them into what now will be our “essay style” visualization. We’ll be focusing on: racial categorization (the section Alison will be leading), missing/messy data (Nico will be leading this section) and Tokenism (I will be leading this section). Our ideas were born out of the data that we weren’t able to access and why.
We met again earlier today with fuller thoughts on each section that we were assigned. This made it easier to prepare for our presentation on Tuesday and also to start thinking about how we wanted to visualize the different elements of our project. I think at this week’s meeting, we’re going to talk some visualization. Jean suggested something called “Gephi,” so maybe that’s something we can explore at the meeting, or one of the fellows can elaborate on it so we can figure out how we can incorporate it into our project.
After days of playing the waiting game, we only heard back from one of the casting agencies. Our deadline is Tuesday, so at this point, I doubt we’ll hear back from the rest. The next class period will have to be focused on the re-routing of the project that we discussed a couple of weeks ago. Right before class, we have a meeting with Matthew Daniels at Polygraph in hopes that he’ll be able to give us some technical guidance. His site has amazing visuals, and it’s extremely dynamic and user friendly. Outside of the technical work, we are still tweeting and we’ve also been designing logos for the site. A lot of what I’m doing now is reading up on the theory of our subject so we can come up with a thesis that’s clear and concise.
This week I continued to work on outreach for the group. Luckily, Matt Daniels, one of the co-creators of POLY-GRAPH agreed to meet with us sometime this week to give us some guidance on the digital aspect of our project. He, like most of the fellows, warned us how contentious our project is & how difficult it is to qualify people of color. We knew this going into the project, and the purpose is not to come up with our own qualifications, it’s to observe how the industry does and does not qualify them. I don’t have high hopes about getting model statistics from agencies or casting directors, but I’m going to try up until the deadline we set for ourselves. At this point I’m banking on the fact that we might have to re-route our project.
I also set up the twitter account @skindeepNYFW for the group. I think it’s important that we have a social media presence to share thoughts, articles and updates centered around our project. We’ll be tweeting with the official hashtag for the class, but I think it’ll be cool to come up with a hashtag of our own for people outside of the classroom to be able to engage with the project.
My first duty for this week were to get in contact with Lauren Sherman at the Business of Fashion regarding the use of runway photos and what the protocol is for getting permission to use them. I haven’t heard back from her yet, but I’m hoping to have heard from her by Tuesday’s class. Second, I needed to compose a formal letter to send out to the casting directors of each show we plan to feature in our project. There are only 10, but the trick is actually getting a contact for each ones. If worst comes to worst, I will go to each casting firm that they’re affiliated with and ask for the information we need face to face. This is a crucial aspect of the project. Without knowing the ethnicities of the models, the project doesn’t exist. I am worried, but I feel like we have the tools to get what we want. A lot of the digital aspects are still pretty foreign to me, but I’m doing my best to be as helpful and useful to my team mates as possible.
This week Nico compiled model rosters of all 10 runway shows that we’re looking to feature in the data visualization. Now, with all of the information we have, Alison was able to organize our collected data into a master spreadsheet. Over the weekend I emailed Lauren Sherman, the New York editor of the Business of Fashion to see what their process was for pulling runway shots from Fashion Week. They feature lots of slideshows on their website, so it’ll be helpful if she’s able to lead us in the right direction. Like last week, we are still trying to find out which source is going to be the most useful to us to access the ethnicities of the models who walked this season. This is going to be the biggest hurdle, and I feel like I can’t focus on our theory without getting over this hurdle. I fell like we’re a bit stagnant (which is no one’s fault) but I’m not worried about the final outcome of the project. I think It’ll be a good idea to put in more hours this week.
This week we’re able to meet with Tessa Maffucci, a fellow DH/Fashion Studies candidate who participated in the NYC Fashion Index project last year. Tessa has been a great resource for us and filled us in with a lot of “do’s and don’ts” as we further our projects. We also got a lot of great technical suggestions and advice from her. Our tasks this week included recording show rosters on spreadsheets, so taking the name down of every model who walked in a show . This week I did that for Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang. I was able to access all of the models on models.com. Having a lot of information on models in one place is a great resource. I look forward to our group discussions this week. We always learn, or come up with something really cool. We’re also trying to get in touch with former model and founder of the Diversity Coalition, Bethann Hardison. The Diversity Coalition’s initiative is to combat racism/discrimination on the runway.
In the past week, we got a nice sized task out of the way. We took 9 popular fashion publications and recorded (in a shared spreadsheet) every major fashion designer that they covered/reviewed on their sites. Then, we’ll take the ten that were the most covered across the board and that’s how we’ll determine the ten that will be featured in our project. Next, we’re going to get the model rosters from those 10 shows, which will probably available to us on Models.com.
I’m really glad we got to meet with Ms. Tang last week because she really helped us narrow down a lot of the things we were up in the air about. Hopefully we’ll be able to correspond with her through our journey, as she seemed really interested in the project.
Okay, so I was originally supposed to go to the Text Encoding workshop this past Tuesday, but there was a mixup with the rooms, so I ended up in the Command Reference workshop. Although this really won’t be of any use to me in my future projects (or maybe it will, I won’t speak too soon) it was good to about this entire program in my computer (Terminal) that’s basically a command center for everything that goes on in it. I was told that through Terminal, I can use commands that go above and beyond the basic commands that you are prompted to do on a Mac. For example, if I wanted to clear out some files that weren’t being cleared the traditional route I could go into Terminal, put in a specific file command and it would be gone. Also, you can make “directories” within Terminal that can then be exported as PDFs and/or HTML codes. It was really interesting, but definitely something you have to work with consistently as the commands and codes seem to be endless. I’ll be looking forward to attending another workshop where we work on the command screens.