First Year Reflection

My name is Alda Borges. I was born in Miami, but I have lived all my life in Ecuador, South America. I was raised in a country in which my family and friends are my life pillars. I like getting to know people and learn from their culture. For instance, I think that culture brings people together, serving as an identity, but at the same time, it divides the world into different groups. Even though, I believe that the variety of culture, race, and ethnicities is what makes the world more beautiful, interesting and worth to be discovered.

My major is fashion design. Since I was ten years old, I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer. Because of different experiences that I have had since I was a child, I don’t perceive fashion just as a sense of aesthetics but as another language that communicates who we are. For me, is like another language but without words. Growing up in Ecuador made me lived and realize that there are so many things to do for the world, like poverty, hunger, and even male chauvinism. And my way of expressing my statement towards that and contributing to counteract those issues is through design.

During my first year of study in Parsons, the themes that emerged in several courses were social justice, such as poverty and gender inequality, and beauty standards and stereotypes. Moreover, the skills that I learned in one course were essential to make my work in another course. For example, the skills learned in the Drawing and Imaging course about illustrator and photoshop were essential for creating my work and being one step ahead of the Time course during my second semester. Also, the skills of managing different materials that I learned in my Space and Materiality course made me feel confident and able to create more complex work for my studio class. Finally, the skills of writing and presentation which I learned during my ESL courses helped me in my Seminar class. Furthermore, I consider that each class shaped one another. The themes that were emerging, the skills that I was learning shaped the way I manage and engage work for other class. For example, during my ESL class, we focused great part of the semester on the issue of gender inequality and that inspired me to make my final Seminar/Studio project about.

What made my projects more exciting and engaging were when they became a challenge for me. The process of learning a different skill and not knowing the result is more exciting than knowing and controlling every step of it. I would say the satisfaction of looking at the results which worked beside of being a beginner is the best reward. Also, I would say for all my projects, the research part was essential in order to have a better idea and concept about my work. The process of researching gave me fundamental information that gave meaning to the design and concept behind my work. In this way, without that information, I wouldn’t have the same result and powerful meanings with my work. For example, when I was making my film project for Time class which focused on anxiety when I researched about that, it gave me ideas for new shots that can convey the feeling of anxiety.

When analyzing my projects from my first year, I believe the two that highlights from the rest, as they result more challenging, are my cosmetic project for my Product, Promotion, and Packaging elective course and my final work for my Studio 2. For the cosmetic assignment, we had to create a perfume with a targeted audience that reflects a feeling or mood. Therefore, I took the idea from my Drawing and Imaging class of creating a design of one of the deadly sins, so I chose “lust”. Then, the name of my perfume became “lust for love” as it was targeted to be a perfume for women around 20’s to 30’s. So, when I started researching what the word lust means, I connected it directly with my religion, which is catholic, so I had the idea of taking making my “Lust for Love” from the scene of Adam taking the apple from Eve as a symbol of temptation and lust, where a man can resist the temptation of a woman. In order to get this done for the due date, I followed the deadlines of each part of the project carefully, aiming to get done as much as I can so that I could finish on time. If I would have more time, I would create a sticker of the logo of the perfume and stick it into the bottle so that it would be easy to identify the “brand”.

Moreover, for my studio project, I had to create an art that represents my research paper. Therefore, as I was doing my research paper about corsets and male oppression, I came up with the idea of making photomontage as I liked to process and result of it when I learned it in my Time course. However, my studio professor suggested me to do an actual corset that can convey my ideology and I found that more intriguing and challenging than doing something that I already learned. Working with different types of materials was the challenge about this project. I wanted to represent the idea of oppression and constriction in the use of materials and the design of the corset. Therefore, I started brainstorming and sketching how I imagine someone repressed and I found myself thinking about metal, spikes, cages. For instance, I decided to use aluminum foil as the “textile” of my corset. I created spikes, I used different types of pins and wire. But, as I wanted to express the idea of male domination, I decided to give a deeper concept and use the design of a birdcage as a metaphor of oppression, the cage being the man and the bird the woman, specifically the reproductive part. To get it done, I set several deadlines for different parts of the corset, and that helped me get it done in time and leaving time for the documentation. Those two highlights represent my two biggest challenges that I had during the semester. Because both of them included skills that I didn’t learn before or I wasn’t as confident to do it for a project.


To conclude, in the future I would like to continue learning and researching the role of fashion in the present as a tool to make a political statement. Therefore, I would get inspired and take fashion as a tool that communicates ideas. I believe that my final project and research paper for my Seminar/Studio course can be taken further and create a transition, with the use of different textiles and design, of the corset from being oppressive, to being fashionable and even a feminist statement. Also, I would like to learn how to use the laser cut, which I didn’t have the opportunity to use during my first year and also to get the skill of dominating the sewing machine.

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