As the school year draws to a close, I can’t believe a year has already gone by in NYC. As I finish my first year at Parsons, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief as finals are finished with and all that’s left is packing, wrapping up loose ends, and getting ready for the summer.
Taking 5 classes my first semester and 6 classes my second semester, the school year has definitely been filled with lots of work. My studio class, for both semesters, were one of my favorite classes. Each challenged me to do my best, and the projects were both interesting and fun.
Space + Materiality and Time have definitely pushed my boundaries, one working more with wood and 3D building (other than fabric) and the other with working with video editing and animation. Drawing and Imaging reinforced the basics of drawing for me, with nude model drawings and still life. Sustainable Systems has taught me more about how to live sustainably and what our world is facing, in terms of the ecosystem and problems with pollution, plastic, and inequalities in the workforce.
I really liked my electives I chose for the spring semester. I was lucky enough to take 3: Fashion Image, Product and Packaging, and Soft Structures. I really enjoyed all 3, having produced some of my best work for these classes. Product was more of a last minute decision, as I have always been interested and wanted to explore communications design. Soft Structures helped strengthen my sewing skills and it was fun to create more garments. Fashion Image let me play with photography, another one of my interests, and explored what makes an image a fashion one.
Some successes included “A Leak in the Pipe” for Studio 2 and my Soft Structures final. For Studio, it was a good collaboration between Dara and I, the finished garment is really strong. For Soft Structures, my technique and attention to finish improved immensely. My first and final projects in Product class were also strong, my first project achieving the aesthetic and functional requirements and the final, another good collaboration that resulted in a strong body of work.
Some failures were my first project in Studio 1, I was a little too ambitious and didn’t complete the project on time, resulting in a deduction of points. This led me to plan out and manage my time better. Also working in Drawing/Imaging, live model drawing was not my strong suit, and acrylic paint is a medium I rarely work with. Being pushed to work with acrylic for every project was challenging, and my final was left unfinished, again, I was a little too overambitious.
We were assigned a song, Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie. The way our Product class was structured, it really took the planning process to the max. My partner Yubin and I first created mood boards, one for our artist, David Bowie, and one for the genre, Glam Rock. From there, we were asked choose 6 images to incorporate into our designs.
Then we created 3 concepts, which we refined to two. And while most groups chose one final design, I wanted to create both, since I felt they were both strong. My partner agreed, so we refined the two and created both. The outcome was very good. Our teacher was pleasantly surprised at how finished and neat our final was. The t-shirts were an added plus, having the designs printed directly onto the t-shirts. And concept 2’s CD package was cool and a challenge to engineer.
Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this project! My partner and I worked very well together, and although we were ambitious and wanted to create both designs, it turned out very well. Minus a few small technical issues, I am pretty satisfied with the outcome of this project! This project definitely highlighted process and the thinking process.
Another project I was really happy with was my Soft Structures final. We were given the assignment to make a zero waste garment. I decided to choose to design a garment based on Chinese Minorities. I first created a mood board and collected fabric swatches.
Then from there, I sketched out some designs, bought the allowed 1.5 yards, patterned out the pieces, and then hand dyed the fabric a navy blue.
Then I made a muslin version, which worked out most of the beginning problems. And then I started making the final piece, first the jacket, then the lapels, and finally hand sewed the tassels.
Finally after completing the garment, I had a photoshoot in Chinatown with my friend Yiran Jia, who was also in that class, and Sarah Lam, who helped us photograph.
Final Thoughts: This project was also one of my favorites. The final outcome turned out very well, the hand dyed fabric worked perfectly, and it combines the traditional style of Chinese minority groups with a more contemporary blazer style and long sleeves. The location of the photoshoot, Chinatown, also enhanced the garment, and having Yiran, who also designed a traditional Chinese garment, was an added bonus.
Next year and the years to come, I want to continue to refine my sewing skills, learn new pattern making, and work with more unconventional materials, pushing my boundaries as a fashion designer. I want to create more avant garde styles and garments. I want to learn 3D printing and work more with up cycling and sustainable forms of fashion.