As a project for an Interaction Design course, I was instructed to code a website from scratch. Rather than simply create a portfolio site like many of my classmates, I got special permission to create a different, similar type of website: an online store selling clothes that I had made. I am very passionate about ethical clothing consumption and about reclaiming femininity through challenging traditional modes of acceptable dress. Inspired by Japanese street fashion styles and using my own coding knowledge gained in this course, I was able to create a website that helped playfully address issues surrounding these subjects.
Bunny Run exists to sell handmade, ethically produced clothing that helps redefine what it means to be “girly”. Femininity is so often associated with conforming to societal expectations and being submissive, traditional, or weak. The reality is that, in recent history, hyperfeministic modes of dress have been some of the most empowering because of the way they boldly assert that an individual is dressing for themselves and not to appease or attract anyone else. The website aims to counter the idea that frills and ruffles are just for ‘little girls’ with clothing items that acknowledge the wearer is someone who is confident and capable, and of course, cute.
The website for Bunny Run was coded by myself, from scratch. I decided on branding elements, color palette, sewed each of the sample pieces, designed and manufactured props (hangers, petticoats, etc.) created various assets to use as animations, measurement charts, and product images, handled copywriting and art direction, and coded functional submission forms, links, etc. using html and css. The website is responsive at multiple resolutions and I've imbued it with elements that give it personality, like illustration and colorful and expressive language to help create a feeling trust and comfort between the seamstress/designer (myself) and potential customers. I wanted things to be simple, without being boring, and clean, without feeling cold.
Frequently, femininity is portrayed in a way that is palatable and accessible to men, and anything outside of that is intimidating. Something hyperfeminine like babydoll dresses with teddy bears, ribbons, and lace is kind of confrontational. Dressing this way takes a certain kind of ownership of one's sexuality and identity that wearing expected or regular things does not. It takes more strength of character to be unafraid of publicly enjoying the things that you like than it does to waste time trying to avoid stereotypes or judgement. The content and style of Bunny Run’s dresses and visual design help to drive that way of thinking home.