My thesis topic? FASHION.
Why? As I once wrote about myself:
“I believe the creativity I possess (how little it may be) is not only limited to the designing of the built environment. Rapidly, a creative passion for all things wearable is developing inside me. Like most girls, I love dressing up. Putting together outfits and experimenting with clothes are things I enjoy so much.”
When I was formulating my thesis topic during the first month of my 5th year’s first semester, I was faced with the choice between doing something that I might enjoy so much yet might be superficial for others and doing something that I might not find too interesting but may be socially relevant like devoting a project that can be of use to the poor, to the disabled or something to that effect. The former won, needless to say.
For some time during that hell of a year, I cannot quite deny that I felt somehow embarrassed to discuss my topic to other people. Why? (1) Because of the smirks I received when I talk about my chosen fashion-oriented topic (which might just be paranoia – now I’m just thinking those reactions meant “I knew you’ll do something like that” and not “How shallow can you get?” ) (2) Also because I was still so unsure as to what direction to take. Fashion is broad, you see. Determining what it needs most was my greatest concern. I had to prove that the project is socially and economically relevant, at least. To make the long story short, I pursued the initial topic, did extensive background research, created the “perfect” design problem, researched some more, did programming, conceptualized and translated the whole thing into a concrete design. It was a long journey, definitely.
I decided to talk about this because, for the second year, I have received yet again emails and messages from some thesis students. Some asked for advice on how to choose a topic, some said they are also planning to do fashion-related theses and they would like to seek some help. Not saying that I am a pioneer of this, definitely a lot of people have done something fashion-related too, but I am glad at least a few got inspired by fashion as well. And unlike me, they won’t be unsure and embarrassed because Fashion is never superficial (fact). Something really significant for the country can come out of it.
Here are some tips for incoming thesis students in choosing a topic:
1. GO FOR SOMETHING THAT INTERESTS YOU.
Remember that you will be working on it for a whole year (some I heard start even earlier). You do not want to lose the motivation in the middle of the whole thing. Changing topic repeatedly (during the semester) is very risky as you will lose too much time.
Bonus perks? You get to explore your interest while doing actual work. During my time, I was thrilled to contact and interview fashion designers/bloggers, visit fashion/modeling/photography schools and attend Philippine Fashion Week runway shows. All for the love of doing my thesis!
2. RESEARCH, RESEARCH AND RESEARCH SOME MORE.
Research first on the background of the topic in general (example: Fashion) then go to a more specific topic depending on what direction you would like to take (example: Fashion Design, Textile Industries, Retailing). Exhaust all the libraries you know, don’t settle on the things the Internet can give you. Books, magazines and journals are very useful. Take note of every article that is connected to the topic, it might come handy in the future.
3. BE SURE TO LOOK INTO PRECEDENT STUDIES.
You do not want to do something that has already been done. Thesis is all about coming up with something NEW. If you come across a similar work, look for an aspect the previous study failed to cover and work around it.
They say time flies when you are having fun. Enjoy every bit of it (even though I’m sure you’ll find it dragging and tiring at one point) and before you know it, it’s all over and it’s time for your graduation march. Now, how to ensure you’ll be having fun? Go back to point one.
I posted this photo right after I passed my thesis deliberations February of 2012 (deserves a hashtag throwback)
Too happy? You bet!
Where was I? In one of my rendered interior perspectives, of course!
Read about my thesis here: 2011-2012 Undergraduate Architectural Thesis
Good luck thesis batch 2013-2014!