Visualizing Music
photography, editorial, merchandising

Exploring the creation of the Latin dance Salsa and the meaning to the song “Aguanile” by Hector Lavoe, one of the first artists to create the genre Salsa with meaning behind each of his songs, to create a limited edition version of this one song.

Through my research I discovered the true meaning of this song, he created it as a ritual for a Zulu warrior during the artists struggling years. He was curious about other religions even though he was a Christian, after many years of success he was addicted to so many drugs and his career had hit rock bottom. He decided to visit an African witch who blessed him and “cured” him of his drug addiction, he was told to pray and give thanks to a certain Zulu warrior and wearing beads that represented such warrior. His way of doing this was to create the song “Aguanile”, after doing so he became a well known as one of the founders of Salsa in the USA, seeing how successful he became he decided he didn’t need his beads no more and disposed of them. This eventually had a great impact on his life as a few months later his son found his gun and accidentally shot himself, his wife left him and he was back on the drugs eventually dying of an overdose. This story impacted me in such a way as being a Latino myself I always enjoyed the music but never understood the meaning behind it, now I understand the power it has over so many generations and it has now become one of the great Salsa songs still listened to.

I wanted to create a sense of spirituality through the use of photography and light as the song and story behind the song was inspired by un seen forces whether you believe them or not the story would still make you think about the lyrics as they have a deeper meaning. With the use of long exposure and a dark room, I got professional Salsa dancers and put small lights attached to their joints. While playing the song I asked them to dance and to embrace the passion and lyrics to create the visuals of streaming lights coming from their bodies. This was later used for all the media, editorial, poster and merchandise.

Dissertation Design

Luxury Brands - A transition into a virtual world
Visual Research & Design

After many hours of litrature reviews and visual research for my dissertation topic I had one final task, to turn my dissertation into a design piece. My dissertation was based around the effects of online shopping has on luxury brands and how it is good or bad for such brands as they are mainly based around the brand experience. With a limited amount of time I set up a one day photo-shoot to explore my thesis using quotes from my research as themes To represent each chapter. I worked with the model into creating different looks with different kinds of clothing to try and capture what each chapter was about. The format I chose to visualse this was in two forms, a printed lookbook with QR codes linking to a website with each chapter to be readable. This was to link both physical and virtual aspects of my thesis.


Fashion & Print design

This project stems from my dissertation topic and taking it into a different direction with a more personal route. Growing up around fashion and luxury brands I have always wondered why they where so desirable and expensive, I took this opportunity to explore deeper into the making of a garment and to learn the basics of the fashion industry. Since my father and all his brothers are tailors I decided to take a few lessons in machine sewing, I also decided to use a shirt as my main symbol into what I wanted to explore. My main inspiration for all of this was the brand I already was working for, Eton Shirts. They had released a video entitled "A New Gentleman" and this is where I began my journey into what makes a shirt so powerful that it can make the wearer feel different. I also wanted to explore these feelings from different view points, such as psychology.

I eventually came to the conclusion that the shirts I was going to make where to represent the ideal version of ourselves, using the ideology theory as my main theme. Its running title was "Me Myself & I" and later developed into "HIDALGO" as I wanted my final work to be personal and to show off my egoistic side because from my research a shirt has always been a symbol of hierarchy, even in today’s society it’s a way for the wearer to be egoistic by the way a shirt is worn as having it tucked or un-tucked can have different meanings.

I decided to print, cut and sew my own clothing line with the idea of being the most egoistic versions of ourselves, I took myself and two other models and we noted down what kind of person we would want to be in an perfect world. After visualizing this, they where sent off to be printed onto Cotton Poplin fabric, big enough for me to make a shirt out of them. While cutting my templates I took decisions into what I wanted to show or hide, once cut and sewn I set up a photo-shoot to create a Lookbook for the brand. I took elements from packaging such as the price tags and used this as a place for me to express and explain the meaning of each shirt by writing poems instead of product descriptions.