Monday, April 9, 2012

Indian Army uniforms for women in the future

I started off very ambitiously wanting to study war strategies countries had used in the past and how they had changed over time. While doing my research, I realized countries weren’t openly going to discuss present war strategies. The whole topic was extremely hush-hush. So I decided to look at another aspect of the military- weapons. I wanted to study weaponry dating from the early 1600s to our present scenario. But when I went up to people asking what they thought the future of weaponry was going to be, they all said “nuclear wars”. This is when I settled on my final subject of research. Uniforms! They had been changed over and over again; every country had a unique uniform, and nothing was kept under wraps, finding information was very easy.
Military uniforms have gone from very elaborate, bright and colorful to very utilitarian. They are now supposed to be distinctive so they are easily identifiable and stand for unity among its members.
  Ancient Roman Empire soldiers have been shown to wear a small linen under cloth, a tunic, sandals and a heavy metal amour. They carried with them either a sword or a spear.
 Uniforms became more flamboyant around the 16th- 17th centaury. It was now a way of distinguishing between different ranks and regiments. The officers wore a coat, waistcoat, stocking, breeches, scarves and a hat.
  Today, military uniforms are all about function, camouflage and are even used as a means of psychological warfare against the enemy.
When I presented this idea in class, people suggested I narrow down my field of research. Designing a universal uniform for all countires was going to be almost impossible. I picked the Indian army. Out of the many uniforms that the Indian Army uses, I chose their field uniform. It seemed like the uniform that everyone was familiar with and so when I changed it, people would know what I’m talking about.
India changed it’s uniform recently because it was too similar to the Pakistani uniform. Then some time ago, we had trouble with the Indian Army emblem having been leaked so people could buy it off the counter. But while I was talking to officers in the army, the men didn’t seem to have any issues with the current uniform and the women had lots. So I changed topics again. I decided I would take the current uniform and modify it to be more women-friendly.
There seemed to be many problems with the uniform. Some complained that the cloth was too thick, while others said the clothes were not curvy and hence looked really shabby on a woman’s body. Narendra and one other person said that they didn’t like men staring at their breast line where all the medals and indication of rank are usually pinned. Also the five button fly on the pants didn’t make sense for a woman. In the time I had, I was only able to make a few changes. I got the tailor to make the uniform more attuned to the female figure by getting rid of the square form of the shirt and giving it curves. Because a lot of these army officers believe that the uniform makes them look shabby.
I also got rid of the breast pockets because they would be useless to a woman anyway. I slightly pulled up the pants at the waist. A problem that I couldn’t find a solution to in the little time I had, was the shape of the pants. They are made for the male body and the women in this country are larger at the hips. So they have to buy pants that are much larger at the waist so that the hips don’t look funny, but in the process ruin the length and the fall. Another problem that was pointed out in class was that these women will have problems closing the buttons of the shirt when they are pregnant. One solution would be to keep extra pleats on the sides that can be unfolded to make the shirt larger. The other option is, that they let the shirt be open (as it is sometimes kept, since there is an inside t-shirt as well) and the pants could have elastic at the waist. I still need to figure out where the medals would go. Someone in class suggested that I put a sashe on the shoulder where things could be pinned up. There are several other problems that women in the army encounter and I found it extremely strange that they haven’t been dealt with yet. I am still working on the uniform and once I have everything right in this one, I would like to create a whole new one.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Visualizing the Future of Transportation

Transportation possibilities

“Transportation is one of the most important, yet also one of the most overlooked activities within modern society.”
- Mark Safford

My ideation process began with the thought of how people would commute about 50 -100 years down the line. The possibilities are endless, and everyone would visualize something entirely different from the other. The public should be aware of the growing needs of mass movement and that will gradually develop through the course of time. We as designers have the ability to improve the standard of living just by modifying transient spaces. Movement of the general public would be a plausible method of improving the conditioning of a given locale. Technology based studies would help us in achieving the necessary tools we require to design structures that would affect the course of history. Artificial Intelligence is one such aspect of technology that can hamper distresses of the everyday commuter. Comfort would be overcome by luxuries such as multi-tasking in traffic. Micro modes of transport would also enhance the movement in city spaces with the possibilities of A.I. Segways for each individual citizen. Macro modes would include New theories of everything(TOEs) and we can develop on the String theory and dimension shifts. We can achieve brilliant results with science and technology and it does not mean that designers are excluded in this process. They might even be the pioneers of future transportation.

Initial Iteration

Autorikshaw / Segway

String theory : 'Dimensionless' train

Futuristic Yakovlov Yak - 40

Mobile Commerce

My project looks at a different medium of payment by making use of the mobile. It is a mobile phone application and will be able to make payments through your mobile. There are various features of the application as can be seen on the dashboard. Using the phone camera, the qr code can be scanned which would be printed on the bill or on the screen of another phone and the user can make and receive payment. So the user can make direct payment using your mobile. The app will be linked to the bank account so it will have all the account information.
For example when you are in a restaurant and you get your bill. The bill will have all the standard information but along with this, the code will also be printed. You scan the code using the mobile phone camera and all the information in the bill will be displayed on the mobile phone screen. You can then just press pay on the screen and it will make the payment hence eliminating the use of money or credit card.
It can also generate a qr code which can be sent or scanned by the other user and can receive payment. There is also a bill payment option which can pay all the bills like water, electricity, phone etc.
It is a new and alternative method of payment and eliminates the use of the wallet

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Final Project.

The installation is a metaphor for conveying the thought that truth and knowledge can never be permanent. The entire process of learning, unlearning and learning something new continues. The bench represents a transient space - as it is in its physical self. This physical nature of the bench is compared to the interim nature of knowledge.

The bench is not complete in its finishing so as to show to the humility of never being able to know everything. However, I'd like to refine this so as to make it look deliberate - something that it lacks at this stage.

The damaged end of the plank is intentionally done to show that the future can hold what we did not expect. To counter this the solid plank shows that the future might just hold what we've now predicted. This brings about a balance and a sense of relief that some things might still be in our control.

My Process

From the beginning of the class I have been struggling on what my final project would be. 
  • The basic idea was to keep the culture of handcrafts alive. According to me the numbers of skilled workers in the various fields of handicraft are decreasing on a large scale as mass production is the trend as the demand for the goods is high. 
  • I planned on doing my research on the future of handicraft and my products for the course would be a frock with smoking and a few hand painted fabrics. I also wanted to include bandhani, knitting and embroidery but due to limitations in resources i didn't make them.

 Frock with smoking

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Value of Handicrafts

Cottage industries, village industries, small scale industries, handicrafts and large scale industries are the various terms which are used for different types of production works, according to their size and production.
When a worker produces something with his simple tools, with the help of his family members only, then he is said to be running a cottage industry. The absence of big machines, electric power and hired labor are the features of cottage industries. In our villages, we se workers spinning and weaving cloth. This is the main cottage industry of our country. Pottery, wood-work, metal-work, leather-work, basket-making, cursing of sugarcane, etc., are some other important handicrafts of our country.
The importance of cottage industries is very great for rural as well as urban area. In villages, farmers can carry on their cottages industries side by side with their main occupation of agriculture. They are important for them as they provide opportunities for party-time employment. In urban areas also the poor can start some cottages industries with their own limited resources. They are indispensable for a poor country like India.
In cottage industries the question o the exploitation of workers does not arise. The worker and his family being both the employer and the employee themselves, get all the earning from their business. Even if in some cases hired labors are employed, the relations between them and the employer remain healthy.
Big machines are labor saving devices. They are not used in cottage industries. So, if they are encouraged, more and more people get employed. Besides this, they are good means for providing part-time employment.
The tendency towards centralization is inherent in large scale industries. This leads to over-crowing and congestion in the towns. Children and women are employed in big industries. Corruption becomes rampant. But handicrafts solve all these problems. They are mostly run in homes of the workers. So the housing problem does not arise, other social ills are also removed.
Further, the independence of the worker is maintained. The work can be begun and stopped according to his convenience. no rigid-routine is necessary. So in cottage industries the workers enjoy a marked sense of freedom.
Cottages industries have to face many difficulties. They cannot compete with large factories. As the products of the cottage industries are the result of the labor of the workers, their cost remains high in comparison with that of the mill-made goods. Workers are mostly poor. Sometime, they find it difficult to get raw material and the necessary tools for their work. So these difficulties come in the way of the growth of handicrafts.
Some suggestion for the development of cottage industry may now be made. The filed of production for cottage and large scale industries should be specified. The competition between these two spheres of production should be replaced by co-operation. Credit facilities should be provided. This will enable the workers to purchase raw materials and tools. Facilities for marketing finished goods should be provided. The Government should undertake research work for making simple and cheap machines. This will be very helpful for the progress of cottage industries.
The government has always recognized the importance of cottage industries. It established the Cottage Industries Board, All India Khadi Development Board, and other such agencies for the production of handicrafts. A large sum has always been allotted for their development in th various Five Years Plans of the country. As a result, much progress has been made in this direction. Let us hope much more would be done ofr this small scale industries in times to come.

Indian Handicrafts

Indian Handicrafts
Handicrafts are unique expressions and represent a culture, tradition and heritage of a country. The Handicraft Industry is one of the important productive sector. Various attempts have been made to define this broad and diversified industry.
Handicrafts can be defined as products which are produced either completely by hand or with the help of tools. Mechanical tools may be used as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished product. Handicrafts are made from raw materials and can be produced in unlimited numbers. Such products can be utilitarian, aesthetic, artistic, creative, culturally attached, decorative, functional, traditional, religiously and socially symbolic and significant.
The Importance of Handicrafts
The Cultural Importance: Handicrafts play very important role in representing the culture and traditions of any country or region. Handicrafts are a substantial medium to preserve of rich traditional art, heritage and culture, traditional skills and talents which are associated with people’s lifestyle and history.
The Economic Importance: Handicrafts are hugely important in terms of economic development. They provide ample opportunities for employment even with low capital investments and become a prominent medium for foreign earnings.
An Overview of Indian Handicrafts
The Indian handicrafts industry is highly labor intensive, cottage based and decentralized industry. The industry is spread all over the country mainly in rural and urban areas. Most of the manufacturing units are located in rural and small towns, and there is huge market potential in all Indian cities and abroad. Handicraft industry is a major source of income for rural communities.
The Handicraft sector is highly creative sector and produces large variety of crafts products. This industry is localized segment of the domestic and international market. In India the production of craft products are done on both large and small scale. Because of low capital investment people can start their business on small scale.
Though Indian Handicraft industry is considered a cottage industry, but it has evolved as one of the major revenue generator over the years. There has been consistent growth of 15% over few years and the industry has evolved as one of the major contributor for export and foreign revenue generation.
The Indian Handicraft Industry stands a unique place among all other industries. It represents the rich culture, tradition and heritage of India. India’s rich cultural diversity and heritage provides a unique and huge resource for developing craft products.
The Indian Handicraft Industry is showing continuous growth rate of 20% every year and it is one of the most important segment of decentralized sector in India. Also, it has shown continuous growth at the rate of 15-20% over the years and contributes major role for export and foreign earnings. The export earnings from Indian handicrafts industry for the period 1998-99 amounted to US$ 1.2 billion