Fashion Collapsing on Itself

Fashion Collapsing on Itself.

Fashion has been around us for centuries, however, fashion as an industry is a relatively new market. Fashion brands began developing rapidly since the 1950s, soon after the World War II, along with all the other industries which we contribute our money to everyday. More than 150 billion garments are produced every year, yet an American alone throws away about 70 lbs of clothing every year.


The purpose of fast fashion is to create low-cost collections that mimic the current luxury fashion trends. Thus, it is inevitable that fast fashion embodies unsustainability, as it is impossible for the mainstream fashion market to sustainably keep up with the absurdly numerous collections the high-end brands showcase every day.

Fashion, especially fast fashion, has become such a big influencer of industrial polluter, that it accounts for over 10% of our overall carbon emission and the second largest industrial polluter after oil. The apparel industry alone uses 70million barrels of oil annually to create synthetic fiber commonly used in our clothing. This synthetic fiber takes over 200 years to decompose, yet on average, these fast fashion garments are worn less than 5 times and kept for only 35 days.


Not only is the fashion industry contributing to 10% of world carbon emission, the process of creating synthetic fibers emit gasses such as N2O that are 300 times more damaging to the environment than CO2. Furthermore, the apparel industry alone, is guilty of over 70 million trees that are logged every year for fabric, and cotton alone, is censured for the world’s single largest pesticide-consuming crop that uses 24% of all insecticides and 11% of all pesticides globally.


To make matters even worse, the fashion industry is also convicted of being the second largest consumer and polluter of the planet’s water resource. One quarter of the chemicals produced in the world are used in textiles, and synthetic fabric used in our garments shed plastic microfibers into our waterways. To explain things simply, plastic microfibers account for 85% of the man-made materials found along ocean shores, threatening the marine life, and ultimately, us.


Now, the fashion industry has become a running treadmill that is impossible to slow down until it collapses on itself.  There simply are just not enough resources available in this finite world anymore. There are not enough water ways that can be polluted, land to be destroyed, air to be polluted, and most importantly, human resources that can be exploited.


On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed due to structural failure killing 1,134 people and injured almost 2,500 people. Rana Plaza was a sweatshop where cheap garments were made in poor working conditions to meet up with the low-budget and fast paced fashion trends in the other parts of the world, which of course, includes the United States and probably all the other countries you can think of.


Consumption is occurring within the richest nations of the world, yet the consequences are targeted on people of the poorest nations. Changes have been made since the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster, however, these changes are minor, and the public, including you and I are beginning or even may have forgotten about these consequences and the warnings our planet has been showing us. We have contributed to more than enough exploitation of our precious resources, and we cannot and should not contribute further into destroying them any further.

Parabolic Curve

Space and Materiality

Serin Hwang

Spring 2018

Parabolic Curve Final Construction

Prof. Derek Haffar


Parabolic Curve Construction project was an interesting project which incorporated mathematical concept with an artistic construct. A parabolic curve appears when multiple points are at an equal distance from a fixed point and a fixed straight line. These consecutive straight lines form a curve which we often times see in nature; bird’s nest rotating liquid, etc.


I first began unpacking this project by doing multiple exercises of drawing parabolic curves in different forms to understand the characteristics and properties of a parabolic curve better. Once I was more comfortable with drawing the parabolic curve, I began designing the curve for a 3D model, exploring different ways of making the curves via changing and varying the axis and increasing and decreasing the axis interception points. These designs were then tested out using coffee stirring wooden sticks in order for me to get a sense of how they will look three dimensionally. These designs were rejected and altered accordingly until I chose a design that I felt strongly about.

The design I was originally going to create a 3D parabolic curve was a complex parabolic curve system which consisted of three different parabolic curves that were intertwined with one another. Due to the thickness of the coffee stirring sticks, I used thinly cut cardboard paper and staples to create the first draft parabolic curve model. However, the design did not turn out as I had anticipated, and the design seemed overdone and overly complicated. The feedback I got on my model allowed me to change my design completely and pursuit a more minimalistic and calm design which only consisted of one parabolic curve.

Choosing the type of wood was rather simple, as the types of wood left for scrap was limited. The wood I chose was plywood, as I liked the layers of thin wood that showed on both sides of the wooden stick when cut, which would enhance the design of my parabolic curve. Since it was my first time working in the wood lab and use the machines located in the lab workspace, I had difficulty cutting even strips of wood at first. However, upon multiple trials, I was finally able to cut strips of wood with even width. The first assemblage of the wooden pieces seemed like a success, however, the model felt a little rigid and stiff which contrasted with the picture I had in mind when designing this model. When designing this curve, I imagined it to be a large sculpture located in a large open landscape which would create a feeling of movement of the wind and fading of the sculpture with the wind. However, the model did not communicate the anticipated effect which was due to the straight cut plywood sticks, and I decided to cut one end of the sticks diagonally.

Disassembling the model was easy, as the wooden pieces were assembled using mechanical work, not adhesives. When I was first told that adhesives were not allowed due to multiple reasons (i.e. hard to disassemble when mistakes were made, creates a mess, does not dry on time, etc) I still believed that using adhesives still provided more benefits than disadvantages and questioned the professor’s purpose. I also thought that I would not be one of those many people who would alter the model once it had been assembled, as I did not doubt my designs. However, alterations had to be made after my first assemblage in order to create a better piece of work, and this was thankfully not a difficult task. Using mechanical methods to hold wood together requires more thinking, effort and time, and although I still believe in the advantages of using adhesives, I now know that there are more disadvantages of using adhesives, and the fun I had with finding a working method to keep my sculpture together without the use of glue.

I believe that there have been mistakes made during the process of making this sculpture, such as the sculpture not staying in position because of the thin dowels, however, I overcame this problem. I also believe that using a toothpick as my dowels was still the right choice to make regardless of the slight shifting it makes on my sculpture, as the thinness and color of the toothpick matched the overall color of the plywood used for the main body of sculpture.


Due to its minimalistic yet beautiful construction, parabolic curves can be applied in various real life designs. Examples include stairs design, chair designs, chandelier designs, clock designs, and countless more.


The amount spent on this project was US$ 0.00. This was possible because the materials used throughout this project was recycled resources I found. The cardboard used for testing out my earlier designs were from a cereal box, and the wood I used for the final model was constructed using scrap wood from the Parsons Making Center. Finally, the dowels I used (toothpicks) were from Chipotle. When I was first introduced to the $20 challenge, I knew it would be a possible challenge, however, I did not know that I could complete a single bridge project without using any money.

Drawing the Imagination: Drawing Beyond the Box

This charcoal drawing was interesting, as everything about this drawing was open to my own belief and interpretation of what would be the visual image beyond the photo placed at the center of the paper. As simple and plain as the drawing may be, the drawing was challenging in certain aspects, as the photo and the drawing had to work tonally and I found it difficult to decided on when to stop to prevent over working and losing the sense of reality.

It is inevitably true that this exercise allowed me to focus on capturing the tone and the style of the photograph to mimic the image and extend it beyond the frame as a visual fabrication.

Drawing the Imagination: Forging David Hockney

Forging is a practice younger artists did in the past as a way of learning another artist’s techniques. I personally like forging, and the idea of trying out the style of another artist, as through this practice, you are able to absorb the style of another artist, and although not original, make it your own. I believe that it is important as art students to test out a large spectrum of styles and techniques of previous artists in order to find our own personal style and color. As if we are unaware of the various styles of the previous artists, and test out different styles, it will be hard for us to find our personal styles.

Drawing the Imagination: Dream

The first assignment was drawing my dream. Dream had been my inspiration for many of my previous works, and drawing my dream was not a hard thing. What I really liked about drawing my dream was that I could connect the dream to myself and my subconscious. It was also fun to see the virtual images I had drawn down on the paper, as it felt like a reinterpretation of my own idea.

Drawing the Imagination: Sketchbook

Keeping a sketchbook has never been my cup of tea. So when I was first given an empty book which was to be filled out in two weeks, I was dumbfounded. The first week of filling the sketchbook was extremely hard for me, as not only was I not used to sketching, I never brought my sketchbook around with me. Therefore, lacked ideas and the creativity to fill out the empty pages. The second week was not much of an improvement either, as I still struggled to put something down on the book. The style of work I enjoyed producing weren’t delicate and meticulous enough to be wowed at, and not bold enough to be freely fill out the empty pages.

To me, the two week long project was a failure, however, I decided to write about this piece because I learnt so much from trying to fill these empty spaces. Also, this assignment made me understand what the professor had continuously told us during class: that “white paper isn’t nothing, and we had to use the paper accordingly”. I always knew what she meant, but never understood it and felt it. However, from filling these empty pages over days and nights, I now realize that a blank paper has more to it than being empty.

Drawing the Imagination: Drapery

Drapery was one of the most fundamental practices in drawing. However, with the shift in the perception of art from needing to be technical to being more focused on creativity, the act of drawing drapery as a source to improve technical skills has been lost. I agree to a certain aspect that creativity is more important than drawing with great technical skills, especially since we have countless other ways to express our creativity and idea using different mediums. However, I also believe that there is a reason why practicing technical drawings remained important for such a long time: because having the technical skills to express our creativity is equally important.

I personally enjoyed going back to drawing the basics, which I had not done since I arrived in Parsons, as I too had forgotten the importance of practicing how to draw every so often to not forget how to draw. The first few drawings came out stiff and rigid, however, with more practice, my lines became more fluid and I was able to relearn the skills I had forgotten for a long time.