Bridge 4

Body Image in the Family Unit:

When I first started this project I was having a hard time picking a narrowed topic. below is my initial project proposal:

I will be researching the way words both verbally and digitally effects the way somebody views their body. I will also be looking into the way this can change what they believe the “desired body” is.  I believe the media plays a huge role in the way body shaming is normalized. I also believe that the way we talk about weight and body size/ shapes is a problem and needs to change. Fat, skinny, curve, short, tall; non of these should be “bad words”. For my Studio portion of this project I am creating a denim jacket. Using laser cutting I will create images and “draw” tweets, comments or quotes onto the fabric that have to do with body shaming. I think showing harmful words being worn on a person has a stronger impact than seeing them printed on a magazine or commented on social media. When the words are seen on a living person that become more real. With this project I want to bring awareness to the way words linger longer than just in the moment they are said. 

I knew that I wanted to focus on body image as I had been investigating the topic all semester. After realizing how big my previous proposal was, I decided to think about what factors in my life have played the biggest role in creating my body image. I decided that family has I powerful impact on a persons body image. I wanted to investigate this further and look into how and why this is the case.

Final design proposal:

I believe that if people were more educated on the way their words and actions, as they pertain to body image, effected those within the family, particularly children, harmful dialog that leads to eating disorders and body image issues could be avoided. I will discus different ways that family can affect body image and research alternative ways to answer and treat tricky situations revolving around the topic. I want to spread awareness and start a conversation on this topic by designing a shirt that can be worn in public, catch peoples eye, and start/lead a conversation on the topic. I will do this my incorporating bright colors, engaging images, and having a clear message.

Final Mood Board:

The yellow, pink, and blue colors in the background are swatches of the fabric that I used. I wanted the fabric to be bright so that it would grab peoples attention. I also incorporated stick figure “car family stickers”, I saw these a lot growing up as nearly every car in my town had them. I noticed that the figures were always stick figures and never showed different body types. I included a rough idea for my final look that was the style of design I hoped to achieve in the final garment. I was inspired my pop art as it tells a very clear and direct story using few colors and basic shapes.



For my initial sketches I knew that I wanted to create my own laser cut trim that represented families with different body types. I knew that I wanted to use bright colors and imagery on the front that caught peoples eye. I had not yet conducted my interviews at the time of initial sketching so I did not know exactly what the images would be.


I created my final sketches in illustrator so that I would have a better idea of how the final pieces would look when put together.

Project Process:


I started by making a simple block pattern for my design with measurements.



After that I scanned my pattern pieces and added the photo to illustrator. I drew the outline of the pattern in illustrator then checked that the final measurements from my paper pattern matched with the digital one.


Once I had the measurements down, I started designing the different components and images I wanted to laser cut and add to the top. I did this in color first so that I would be able to see how the colors went together as I went so that I could make adjustments easily as I went.


Explanation of visuals:


I wanted a way to sum up the message of my project so that anyone who looked at it knew the context of the other images. I did this by adding “Body Image” to the back. I added a plus sign on the right shoulder to represent “positive” and I inserted a “family” with all different body types that is holding hands. The message of the back is: positive body image in the family unit.


My mom was called the big blue whale in middle school by her dad and brothers (she was not and has never been remotely fat). This caused her to stop eating for the most part, until she reached her goal size. This image represents her as well as a topic I discus in my research paper: It is important not to comment on a family members weight, even jokingly.


When I was in high school my brothers and dad would joke with me about what I was eating. “Do you really want to eat that?” they would say. Hearing them say that definitely changed my relationship with food and my body. This image represents me and a topic in my research paper: Changing the way we talk about food from “don’t eat that it’ll make you fat” to focusing on health and nutrition: “that won’t give you the nutrients and energy you need”



When my dad was growing up he was extremely scrawny. He came from an obese family so he was scared of both extremes. He worked out as much as he could with the goal of not looking like a scrawny boy then and not reaching become obese like his parents later. This image represents my dad and a topic in my research paper. In my research paper I discuss the way we need to change the way we view exercise. Talking to children about exercising because it’s good for overall physical and mental health, not as a way to “be less fat” or “less skinny”


For this trim, I combined different geometric shapes that represent different body types into a pattern.



For this trim I created Families with different Body types to represent the different body types not only between people but within family as well. I wanted to show how this is something that can bring the family together and something that a family can support together instead of something that separates a family or hurts a member of the unit.


After I had everything planned out I separated it by color of fabric to laser cut on illustrator.

After that I laser cut the pieces. I noticed while laying out my pattern that the black block in the front of my shirt didn’t cover as low as I wanted it to. I decided to move up the black stripe to extend the upper piece. After doing this, I had to rearrange my pieces until I liked the way it looked, as it no longer worked as I initially intended.


Final Photoshoot:


I wanted to take photos in a public area where the bright colors of the shirt could catch peoples attention. I decided to shoot with my roommate and her friend as models. I asked them to discus the piece and what the different parts meant, as well as to go about their day as they would if they were just wearing the shirt on a regular day. I shot photos of both scenarios.

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