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Project 333

Defining my wardrobe:  to begin the fashion challenge I had to throughly clean out my closet and put into suitcases the clothes I would not be wearing. I did not include in this challenge things like pajamas of course. I did however limit myself to only 1 winter coat instead of the 3 I normally wear. As I began to put away mostly the printed items that are difficult to style I started to think about the clothes I feel most comfortable in and typically wear. I decided I would be leaving out 2 black trousers, 1 pair of pinstriped pants, 1 pair of grey pants, 2 pairs of different style jeans and 4 large crewneck sweatshirts. I also left out 2 skirts, a simple black dress, 3 pairs of sports leggings and 3 t-shirts, 2 black sweaters, 1 grey sweaters, 1 white sweater, 1 light blue sweater, 3 jackets (1 leather, 1 athletic, 1 canvas), I also left 2 simple silk and 2 cotton shirt for warmer days and a turtleneck.  What I found by doing this is that I left out clothes I already wear most of the time anyway. As I sorted through my clothes I decided I would be giving away some of the things I have not worn in a while. I took a large bag of clothes to the nearby thrift store Beacons Closet.

The constraints: I went into this project scared because of the limitations. I was not wrong to assume so. Because of the unpredictable weather it was difficult to work with what I had clothing-wise. I also felt somewhat frustrated and insecure that people thought I was wearing the same thing everyday. Because of this during the week I resorted to mostly sweatpants and gym clothes. Having that as a backup option was helpful for class options. I also found that my leather jacket was the most useful item in making my outfits look different and trying to put together new looks. What helped was that I had a variety of shoes and accessories to pick from when going out for dinner with friends or something. However, even tho I was able to accessorize and make the most of what I had, this was extremely difficult for me.

Testimonial from my friend Matthew DePalo:

“I was so surprised to see Sofie pull off the Minimalist Fashion Challenge! I would not have expected her to do this and definitely noticed a shift in her lifestyle. Sofie wore sweatpants to class much more often which was a departure from her style and also placed an emphasis on the versatility and durability of the clothing she selected to keep. She kept a lot of grey, black and white and definitely ran into trouble putting together outfits but made it through.”

Reflection: this challenge made me very grateful for having clothing of higher quality as I believe if I had only fast fashion items to pick from they would have been physically impossible to wear by the end of the challenge. I learned a lot about my personal style and the things I gravitate towards in fashion. This challenge made me think about how much stuff I have and how I do not necessarily need all those clothes that I previously thought I “could not live without”. While I was often frustrated with these limitations the versatility of the clothing items I selected allowed for some room to explore new outfits. This challenge definitely made me think about what is important in clothes and as a future designer this was an important lesson as it taught me what clothing items are essentials and how a simple black turtleneck and leather jacket can go a very long way. My style inspirations for this challenge were Pheobe Philo and Hamish Bowles, two powerful individuals in the fashion industry who found what looks good on them and stick to it.


Process Photos:

RDA Part 3: Designed Activism

Project Proposal

My project is focusing on the damage oil mining is having on our environment. A method previously described as the “future of oil mining” is having a toxic effects on our drinking and groundwater. The modern version of fracking has allowed oil companies to unlock oil and gas reserves across more than 20 US states. This has resulted in lower gas prices which people have taken advantage of greatly. While this seems like a good solution to boost the Americna economy it is highly dangerous to our climate. Fracking also has serious effects on air quality as these harmful chemicals enter our water system. There have already been many instances where residents in fracked communities complained about their water being polluted with these toxic chemicals. 

Fracking has also had economic repercussions as it has lowered the costs of oil and is expected to cover 80% of the global demand for oil in the next three years. With our current political climate the oil business in America is no where near an end as Trump has sought to portray himself as a “savior of the US oil and gas industry” (Time Magazine). With Trumps attempt to “Make America Great Again” through oil and industrialization the future of our environment is grim. This rise in oil production has also caused unrest in the Middle East and Russia as there is increased completion for oil exports worldwide. 

However, there are things Americans can do to help decrease the demand for oil. Switching to electric cars, public transport, using solar energy are all options, some of which are more economically friendly. Many countries and states have banned this practice amid concerns over water supplies. (The Guardian) 

I personally have witnessed the damages of fracking while driving through West Texas, one of the main oil exporters in America. When your plane lands in Midland Texas all you see around the tarmac is old oil mining pumps. As my family and I drove for miles to a ranch the highway was surrounded by empty land covered in these pumps. There was hardly and vegetation or wildlife to speak of in these areas. However as soon as we reached the ranch’s area the land was once again full of life. This experience was valuable to be as it made me more aware of the damages oil and natural gas has on our environment, it made me question all of my actions regarding sustainability and made me think of how I can do more to help protect our planet. Seeing this shocked me as I previously so oblivious to the effects oil has on the environment as I did not directly witness it. 

This experience inspired me to create an installation piece aimed at educating society about the damages oil consumption is having on our country and what we can do to help. My plan is to place in a clear box an arrangement of wild flowers. I will than be covering these flowers in an acrylic material that will mimic the black shiny oil. The box is meant to represent an environment as well as draw more attention to my project than simply covering flowers in black would. The flowers will be a random selection to show how this effects everyone and every part of the world. The use of the flowers will also make the project more aesthetically pleasing as the elements of color will draw more attention to the piece. This box will be placed in Washington square park and around it will be pamphlets with facts about the oil industry and what we as individuals can do to help protect our environment and cut back on oil consumption. These will be small fliers one can easily fit in their pocket. These fliers will contain graphic images of the damages oil mining has on our world as well as bullet points stating facts of what has already happened due to oil mining and what is going to happen if we do not change our ways. These pamphlets will also include advice on what we as individuals can do to help. 

 I believe the visual element of my project will have a strong effect on the audience as the issue is easily recognizable. The installation will be presented this weekend in Washington Square Park. As I do not have the right documents and permission for public art I will not be able to have this project on display for an extended amount of time. However, I plan on also photographing and publishing it on multiple social media accounts inducing my personal one and one I created as a platform for Parsons students to share their ideas and projects. Both of these pages have a relatively large amount of followers therefore I will be able to reach out and educate many. 

My goal for this project is to educate my peers and other people living in New York about what is happening to America as a result of the oil industry reckless behavior. Through this project I also plan on educating myself about what I can do to cut back on my oil consumption. I believe this project will show people that even if they do not drive a car they are still contributing to the demand for oil which is wreaking havoc on global climate change and the greenhouse gas emissions. I believe that art has a powerful effect on society, even more powerful than actual scientific research. Therefore backing my project with factual evidence and making it as visually stimulating as possible will have a strong effect on the viewers. 

Vaughan, Adam. “Fracking – the Reality, the Risksand What the Future Holds.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 26 Feb. 2018,

Worland, Justin. “U.S. Fracking Is About to Transform the Global Energy Market.” Time, Time, 6 Mar. 2018,

“California’s Fracking Gone Wrong, Part 2: The Environmental Costs.”, 27 June 2013,

Final Outcome

I was very pleased with the outcome of my project. While photographing it in the park I was approached multiple times and asked what the piece was. I was happy to explain the concept and the purpose of the piece. I had also had my fliers and my friend helped distribute them to those curious about the work. Once I had the desired photographs I placed it underneath the monument (pictured above) this was the ideal spot as there were many people passing by and it did not get lost amongst the greenery. Although I tried to hand out fliers, it was difficult as many people simply do not want to have to cary a piece of paper around, however I did manage to hand out a few.


In class presentation:

Object Redesign P2: Biomaterial Intergration

Natural Dye using berries.

For my prototype I used the natural dye kit. Because blue is not really a color that occurs naturally it was hard to create a prototype for what blue jeans would look like using natural dye. I was unable to access an indigo plant which is typically used for denim so I used blackberries and blueberries. I was worried how this would look once I noticed how pink my natural dye looked, however once I placed the dye fabric in the mordant it created a nice purplish hue. I believe if I used more berries the color would have been much more saturated. The process of creating the dye was longer than I thought, however it was interesting to watch the process.


  1. I boiled the berries 10 min longer than the recommended 30 for maximum saturation
  2. I washed my fabric samples and boiled them in the natural dye for 30 minutes after removing the berries
  3. I placed 3 of the samples in the mordant I prepared
  4. The remaining samples I left to dry naturally without treating them with the mordant

What I found was that the mordant heavily effected the color as well as the feeling of the fabric. The non treated once felt much harder and the color washed out easily. The treated fabric was a darker bluer hue and felt softer to touch.

Actual dye

Wool and cotton in the mordant

Non treated samples (left was washed)

Dry washed sample

Dry non-treated washed sample

Dry treated wool sample (left was not washed beforehand therefore there was natural oil on it from the sheep)

Dry treated sample (lighting in the room effected the color of the photograph)

RDA #2: Participation Observation


This experience as a volunteer at the park was very educational for me. I learned more about gardening and I cleaned the park and got rid of the trash. This experience showed me how much effort goes into maintaining the parks in NYC that we often may take for granted.  I am interested to see how the park will look once everything we planted blooms as it was very barren and empty. I believe that this volunteer program is something that many people could benefit from as it is a nice way to connect with nature and is a big contribution to our local parks.

Object Redesign Part 1: Material Profile + Ecodesign Strategies

JEANS – cotton, metal, dye


  1. Extraction and processing: Cotton is extracted from a plant and goes through a long process to create the thread from which the fabric for the jeans is woven.
  2. Safety/toxicity: Cotton is organic, however there may be presence of toxic pesticides which could be carcinogenic. If the cotton is organic then it is safe and non-toxic.
  3. Responsible disposal: Cotton is renewable and biodegradable. Cotton can be recycled into other products, it is treated similarly to paper in recycling facilities.


D. Potential substitutes: only use 100% organic cotton.

Metal (zippers, buttons)

  1. Extraction and processing: The metal used for zippers and buttons in the jeans is typically made in brass, aluminum and nickel. The zipper is created by molding the metals into the shape. Zippers are mainly produced by the Japanese company YKK.
  2. Safety/toxicity: Mass produced in factories leading to pollution. The metals used are usually exported from China or India. The mining of these metals is often not done responsibly and leads to pollution, contamination and loss of biodiversity. Both the mining and production are harmful to human and environmental health. Transporting these zippers to the manufacturer also leads to fuel emissions.
  3. Responsible disposal: The zippers are made from non-renewable resources. However, the zippers can be reused. Over 20 years ago YKK pledged to be more sustainable and reproduces zippers from recycled materials. YKK is coinsous about producing the highest quality products and strives to be environmentally friendly.

D. Potential substitutes: Use polyester free zippers


  1. Extraction and processing: Dye is created using indigo, a natural dye extracted from the leaves of certain plants. On average a pair of jeans requites 3-12 grams of indigo. The indigo is extracted and oxidized which created the blue color. The fermented leaf solution is then mixed with a strong base like lye and powdered. After the the powder is mixed with other chemicals to create the desired dye. Historically it is a natural process, however a large percentage currently produced is synthetic.
  2. Safety/toxicity: While natural indigo is low in toxicity the mordants and other chemicals used to create the dye are highly toxic and in come cases carcinogens. The pecticides used for the actual plant are toxic and cause run-off and pollute nearby land and water. Natural dyes are more labor-intensive which is synthetic dyes are often used. If the chemical dyes are not treated properly they are harmful to the health of the factory workers as wealth as the environment.
  3. Responsible disposal: Before disposal the pH of the dye most be checked and the dye must be neutralized. Disposing irresponsibly will lead to pollution and potentially the eutrophication of nearby water sources.
  4. Potential substitutes: Use only organic dye that does not contain carcinogens and pollutants. Extract Inigo from farms that do not use toxic pesticides and fertilizers.



Monument Project

This is a project I did for studio. This is the monument of Peter the Great in Moscow. The monument has received a lot of criticism for its meaning, aesthetic and location. The location of the monument is on the Bolotnaya Naberezhnaya, a part of Moscow where demonstrations and protests often take place. This street is also known for its nightlife.
I decided to cover the monument in denim to bring attention to the Soviet youth that would sell jeans on the streets for a living. During the USSR it was illegal to wear or sell jeans because of their western origin. While there are thousands of Soviet monuments in Russia celebrating Lenin, Stalin etc there are none commemorating the fall of the Soviet Union.

Reflective Statement – Bridge 5 Seminar

As I looked back on my notes, essays and projects throughout this semester I began to notice a pattern. My projects were all based on my past memories and how they have impacted me as a person. An example from Seminar that I particularly enjoyed writing was the essay on my grandmother where I used a specific event to create a portrait of her as a person. I think this essay is a strong example of my work as a whole as I tend to discuss memories of family and my Russian-American upbringing. This topic has translated into my Studio work where I created a variety of projects based on memories. A project that stood out to me was the self-portrait assignment. In this assignment I created an abstract self-portrait using plexi glass and mirror. I created a box with these materials and in the box placed objects that reflected who I am as a person. These objects were family photographs, a caviar tin and notes from school. School is another topic I tended to reflect on in my work as my education in England and Russia has left an undeniable mark on me as a person. Throughout my notebook the themes of family and school are what I tended to discuss most.
I want to continue researching these themes as I believe the best work is always the most personal. I am interested in continuing working on themes related to family, but more specific. In the future I want to create work on the effects divorce has on kids. I am also interested in doing further research on boarding schools influence on people. These two ideas were inspired by my own life as well as the designer Henry Alexander Levy. His collections share a common theme of disrupted families, reflections of his time in Le Rosey, a Swiss boarding school, as well as broader themes of religion, art, and music which are all of interest to me. In the future I plan on creating art based on these themes, but mostly divorce and its effect as it is something personal to me that I feel I still don’t fully understand. I am planning on experimenting with video and performance art as well as fashion design.

Bridge 3

Thesis Question: To what extent do the objects in our life serve as reminders of our cultural identity?

Throughout my life I have been collecting objects from different moments in my life as a way to always have a memory of that moment. These objects are precious to me even if it is simply a plane ticket. I have collected a variety of objects for example jewelry, tickets, receipts and small notes from days I believe were special, but the most significant collection in my life has been my doll collection.
Since I was born, my mother and father have given me dolls from their trips all around the world. I have dolls from Sudan, North Korea, Nepal, Chile, Egypt and more. By now I have over 100 dolls, some from the same country. These dolls are all done in different styles and are all wearing their traditional clothes. I keep my collection in a shelf in my room, they are not organized by country, but by time. I organized them in this way so that they document a journey. I view this collection as a single object because I value each doll the same and feel like the absence of just one would fail to document all the experiences my family has had traveling over the years.
Of course the core of my collection is dolls from Russia and America which have a more personal meaning to me culturally. Despite that, the dolls from the countries some people might not even know about mean just as much to me. I relate to all of them culturally, especially the ones from the countries I have also visited, because growing up some of my earliest memories were from traveling to foreign countries. As I brought back a doll each time I felt as though I was bringing a piece of that culture back home. This remains special to me as I will always have a small reminder of the places I have been and the memories I made there. These journeys have contributed to me as a person now, making me more open and curious about other cultures.
One of the earliest memories I have about my doll collection is my dad returning from Kyrgyzstan. At that young age of four I did not know about this country. However, I was mesmerized by the doll he brought back. It has the traditional head piece that looks like it has silver hair and a traditional long green silk coat over a white dress. This is still one of my favorite dolls because of its beauty. I was immediately interested in where the doll came from and what the people in this country are like. As my curiosity for these dolls grew I began to pay closer attention to the craftsmanship and clothing. I began to appreciate my growing collection more as each time I was learning something new about a different culture. I particularly remember being extremely curious about Iraq the time my father brought back a set of three dolls from there. This set had three figures – a man sitting down next to some kind of bowl of sand and two women in Hijab. All of their faces look the same except for the man’s beard and they were made with a low quality plastic that over time has fallen apart. The dolls had an eerie quality to them, their faces were less doll-like and had more stern expressions. When my father gave this to me I was almost scared of it, but I was also very curious. I wondered why these dolls didn’t look as “cute” as the other ones which were usually smiling, I was curious why the material was so strange and why my father said it this was the only thing he could find. Similarly to the dolls from Iraq, the one from North Korea was also the only one my father could get. It is a piece of fabric in a frame with embroidery of a woman in a traditional dress. The fabric and the thread is thin and rough, the figure lacks a lot of detail and looks very unrealistic, which just like the Iraqi dolls, comments on the country’s political climate.
I believe that this collection has educated me about the world and has also inspired my art. Most of my art revolves around people and their cultures. I am constantly inspired by the people in my life and my own research about different countries and their cultures, for example their clothes. This has always been the main inspiration for my work. Without my parents evoking my interest in cultures I believe I would not be the same person I am today and my art would be completely different.
My doll collection holds a special place in my heart as it is very sentimental and has helped shape me as a person, making me more culturally aware and curious. My collection has also helped me maintain the memories I have from the places I have visited. This collection has brought me and my father closer as he thinks of me when traveling and we often sit in my room and look at my vast collection recalling our memories from these places.