INTRO TO MY TWO SKETCHES
For my garment, I followed the theme of history and culture. After doing a little bit of research on Chinatown’s culture and traditions, I got really inspired by the whole theme of the Chinese calendar and the different zodiac signs. I thought of doing a garment celebrating a special year in Chinatown’s history and representing it by its Chinese zodiac sign. I was very interested by the year 1965, which is the year the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was adopted, and immigration restrictions were ended, which ushered in an enormous immigration wave into Chinatown and made it the dense and multicultural place that we know today. Celebrating this year in particular is I think a good way to celebrate the wealth a blend of cultures can bring to a place, especially a megalopolis like New-York city and maybe propose a different opinion on the currently very controversial topic of immigration. The year of 1965 had as a Chinese zodiac sign the green wood snake, and its lucky colors are red, black and yellow. Therefore, I wanted to base my garment around the idea of the snake and use only these three colors.
In my first sketch, I was inspired by the traditional Chinese clothing that I saw in Chinatown, especially the Chinese HenFus. I wanted to remain close to that silhouette but with a modern twist. The dress itself is plain and black, and has a traditional shape and belt, but has some transparency in the leg area (I thought of using tulle fabric for this part.) The coat is pretty big and transparent (black tulle ) and I thought I could create a snake pattern that I could incorporate on the sleeves and on the bottom of the coat, the pattern getting “denser” towards the extremities of the garment. The snake pattern Is yellow and red to stay with the lucky colors. Going from the neck to the middle of the thighs, a gold snake is glued onto the dress, creating a sort of necklace and ornament for the garment. I’m not too sure of how I will realize the snake yet, but I want it to look like it’s made out of gold ( or at least gold metal) to symbolize wealth.
Staying within the idea of the snake, I thought I could link the garment more to the year if refers to and the cultural significance of it, here the year 1965. My first sketch had a more traditionally Chinese silhouette, so I thought of making a garment that mixed a little bit more the western and eastern culture by creating a garment that had a more 1960’s western silhouette (to tie it back to the year 1965) with some Chinese elements. The skirt of the dress is a swing skirt like the ones you could see in the 1950’s-60’s in the US, has a little bit of transparency (black tulle) with some red and yellow snake patterns that get denser towards the bottom of the garment. The chest area is made out of traditional Chinese black satin with some traditional Chinese prints on them (red and yellow). The sleeves are also made out of black tulle with the snake pattern. There is a giant red snake going around the garment. I’m not too sure yet how I can make the snake itself, but I want it light enough to be glued over the garment without disturbing its shape, and I also thought of embellishing it by maybe using rhinestones etc to make it stand out a lot and symbolize the beauty and wealth the meeting of different cultures can bring.