A practise-based action research self-study : "how do I improve my practice as a bridal-gown designer in a highly-competitive market?"
Walters, Casey Jeannne
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In my practise-based action research self-study I have developed ways in which to improve my practice as a bridal-gown designer in a highly-competitive and import-driven bridal-gown market. My earnest intent was to improve my practice using action research methods whilst simultaneously developing a solution through critical reflection and practice-based approaches as an economically-sustainable designer of bespoke, cost-effective, competitively-priced bridal gowns. I realised the potential for professional influence and positive economic growth through entrepreneurial thinking, not only for me but for others; it was this which cemented a sense of values in me as an action researcher. I have displayed a healthy marriage between equally important views of practice as theory and the theory as practice. I explored relevant literature that would validate my practice and aid in answering my critical questions, which became evident as validation chapters in my study. Carrying out internships with three bridal gown designers opened my eyes to the real world of business, a sense of theory as practice, where I could see, first-hand, the effects the import industry had on local designers and what they were doing to survive. The conceptualisation of foundational bridal blocks was a solution to save time in my own creative process so that I could produce cost-effective bridal gowns at a competitive price, in a sustainable manner. Once I had explored and created my own interpretation of the foundation block concept that transformed into a small collection of bridal gowns, I used the foundation blocks as a starting point to design bridal gowns for ‘real’ bridal clients. My study is personal in nature; by way of using self-study methods and also the personal ‘one-on-one’ connection I have with my ‘real’ bridal clients. I extended this ‘personal factor’ by holding a public exhibition to which I invited my friends, family, the public and my peers to view and give critical feedback on my work as a bridal gown designer.