Theme: Personal Space
With my first garment sketch, I was inspired by the amount of fans I saw on the side of the street that was sold. I decided to design a dress that incorporates the fan shape that covers the majority of the upper body. The dress is purposely very conservative to reflect the desire for pale skin and avoidance from sun exposure in the Chinese culture. I also added a fan shaped hat which attached to the wearer’s hair that hovers over and out of the wearer’s head to protect them from the sun. The dress overall is very big and takes up space which expands on the theme of personal space, visual overload, and personal interaction. The very large garment forces the wearer to take up a lot of space. It gives them a lot of space in a very crowded city. The dress itself is designed to have many layers of fans and fan like shapes along with very tradition, red, patterned fabric to emphasize the idea of visual overload that many people experience in a large, colorful, and crowded city like Chinatown. The fans garment also diverts interaction. The large fan that sticks out of the chest area covers half of the wearer’s face which creates a wall between the wearer and the outside world. Which is an alternative function that, historically, many Chinese people utilized the hand fan for other than for cooling purposes. The back of the dress juxtaposes the front a little bit. It incorporates the more modern social idea that tan skin is a symbol of wealth and class as the rich were able to have more leisure time while the lower working class were working in indoor industrial jobs.
After thinking over the logistics of the making of this garment, I cam across the problem of time and technicality. I quickly realized that the large wide fan skirt would not work. I instead switched up the bottom for a flowy silk skirt. I want the skirt to be in the same red color as the red in one of my fabrics to connect the continuity. Since this new skirt is a much simpler design, I want to make the skirt very long and have a long train. The material used would be either silk or chiffon: a very light fabric that floats in the air and this way, it creates space around the wearer. The top of the dress, I would want to make it out of wood, to reflect the wood from the fans in a skin colored wash to represent the change in cultural ideologies of pale skin from traditional views to modern views.
For my second garment, I wanted to create a functional and fashionable accessory. Walking through Chinatown, I noticed the vast amount of umbrellas, visors, and hats that are both sold and used. The purpose of these items is mainly protection from sun exposure. Throughout Chinese culture, the desire for more fair and pale skin came from the idea of social class and wealth. As the more poor worked outdoor labor jobs on farms or selling foods on the side of the street, their skin tone was darkened from the sun exposure. This created the idea that having fair skin meant having more wealth and being of a higher social class. So with my first design, I wanted to include both this aspect of sun protection with also protection from the pollution. Along with hats and umbrellas, many Chinese people wear masks over their mouths and nose to protect them from the micro dust and pollution in the city. I brought this idea of a mask into my design by creating a accessory that wraps around the face and only exposes the eyes.