Tirosh Yellin, MA Fashion Curation Graduate
CONFAASHION - a combination of the words context, art, and fashion - is a personality quiz. It consists of fourteen questions around what I define as fashion-sculptures, which are binary objects created by designers and artists to not necessarily be worn, but displayed. It proposes an experimental and engaging approach to digital fashion museology, focusing on the needs of the museum visitor and online participant.
CONFAASHION was created in the light of the swift changes the world has faced during 2020 and the Covid-19 outbreak and restrictions in movement and social contact. The initial idea for the project was generated over the spring of 2020, following my decision to leave the UK to return to Israel and stay with my family in the house where I grew up. At the time, the term “non-essential” was frequently used to divide peoples’ positions and choices. This evoked a very strong feeling of irrelevance within me, as I felt that the scope of my study with its focus being solely object-led was detached from a time in which human-life and well-being are the most important. I kept thinking fashion items in all different collections in museums and archives all over the world are not as directly affected by the pandemic as the humans working in or visiting museums. This fundamental understanding led me to re-direct the emphasis of my research from objects to people and position myself as a visitor-experience led researcher and practitioner. I felt relieved I found my niche within the fashion curation discourse - making people happy. And this is why the main aim of CONFAASHION is making participants happy even for a mere four minutes of quiz taking.
In order to do that, I knew I wanted to create a light-hearted experience that speaks to people in their language - I wanted it to be understood easily. The biggest challenge was transforming academic research to fun quiz questions whilst maintaining the balance between the two. The target audience for CONFAASHION is the Reluctant Visitor - referring to the less passionate museum visitor who usually accompanies a more ecstatic exhibition- visitor, then skim-visits the exhibition and left waiting in the museum cafeteria scrolling their phone to kill time. I acknowledge the fact that the attention competitors in this case are Instagram, the news, and similar apps, and for this reason the quiz takes a few minutes only.
In the first blog, I introduced the concept behind the CONFAASHION quiz. In this second blog, I talk about the process of building the site and the potential for its use in the museum world.The CONFAASHION quiz was built collaboratively with my brother Navot Yellin who was the IT consultant for CONFAASHION, on a web-building platform called AppGyver. Navot works as a product manager in an Israeli start-up and his working experience in the field of UX (user experience) is vast.
My background is in fashion design. Building CONFAASHION was my first experience designing for the digital sphere. I was surprised by how little I knew or even understood about creating a digital platform that would appeal - this is fundamentally different to designing eye-pleasing tangible objects. Despite my design experience, sometimes I felt clueless. Learning from my brother’s knowledge helped me form a solid base and refine my taste in approaching web-design. I wish to deepen my knowledge and have already applied these skills in another project I am currently working on.
We chose AppGyver after testing a few similar platforms. Their platform enabled the calculation of the quiz answers for the participant to score Art, Fashion, or Context. We used Airtable, a platform for building collaborative application for the workflow I which collects the results of each participant’s interaction with the site. This data is collected through a fun experience and has the potential to be used by museums to become better informed about their visitors’ feelings and interests.
CONFAASHION is a module of a different angle on fashion museology in the digital landscape. The online world has a completely different set of rules and it increasingly requires diverse experiences and different perspectives on design and visitor enjoyment. I have learned that to create a successful digital adventure that is an intrinsic element of a fashion exhibition, it needs to be almost completely detached from the physical world to be convincing to people outside of the fashion curation discourse. It is something else that involves re-shaping our mindsets and understand that what was once a museum is now a website.
AppGyver has chosen us to be their ‘Creators of the Week’
CONFAASHION by Tirosh Yellin can be viewed the MA21 Graduate showcase of work from students of MA Fashion Curation, MA Fashion, Film and Digital Production, MA Fashion Photography, MA Fashion Journalism, MA Fashion Cultures and Histories and MA Costume Design for Performance
The Showcase includes a series of LCF podcasts where Professors Amy de la Haye and Judith Clark of the Centre for Fashion Curation discuss with students the themes and perspectives highlighted in this year’s work.