Our Interview with Her

On a Monday, we were lucky enough to have met this lady in Washington Square Park. Before the interview, she was reading a novel. After we asked her if she would like to help us on our school project, she smiled, “Yes! I would do that. ”

We asked her if she was satisfied with the current world. She looked surprised, “I mean, you would be crazy if you are!” She then told us about how only two penguins out of 3000 survived through a moving, and how racism still exist in a lot of places. Moreover, “if you did not happen to read that particular news or article, you would not even know about them! It is horrible! ” She introduced her personal knowledge and opinions about these problems to us very patiently. We did not asked many questions but focused on listening to her. Her genuine love towards human and animals are very inspiring to me.

Later we got to know that she was a teacher before. It did not surprise me that she gave us an amazing “lecture” at the park!

A Re-Constructed Dress for Nora -P2P Project

In Progress 1

In Progress 2

Close-up Front

Close-up Back





All photos are shot and edited by me.

In my Bridge 2 Project, I designed a special gift just for Nora. The gift turned out to be a re-construct slip dress, based on an interview with her, the artwork she likes at MoMA, and ultimately, she as an individual. If it were not because of this project, I would not have this unparalleled experience with Nora. We chat by texting and face to face, went to a thrift shop, and enjoyed meals together. I found myself improved in terms of deciding between ideas, effectively communicating, and sufficiently using my skill sets.

It was difficult for me to pick an idea to develop on, which is one of the reasons why this project is challenging to me. I believe that everyone has many different experience and different aspects in their characteristics. After brainstorming about this project, I struggled a lot deciding on which aspect of Nora that I am going to focus on in my project. I was concerned about representing her in a way that could not reveal how interesting she is as a person. So I talked to Nora in person. She was very understanding and supportive, appreciating my different proposals as well as giving me her opinions. As a result, I decided to focus on two ideas. One was to incorporate Picasso’s painting that she liked at MoMA, into the vintage womenswear silhouette before WWII (the time period that the painting was created). The second idea was to go to a thrift store or vintage boutique with her, and re-make a piece or two that relates to her and the painting she likes. After developing more on each idea and discussing with my professor, I finally decided on working on the second idea.

The other thing that I found challenging was to effectively talk to Nora, making every moment of our time count for our projects. At first, I wanted to keep a lot of things in my mind about the project when I was talking to her. However, I found it a bit distracting and not very helpful. After a little while, I started to chat with her just like how I casually chat with a friend. Even though back then we did not know each other that well, I felt like both of us became more comfortable and open to each other. I found out about our mutual passion about vintage/thrift store shopping, our same opinions about fashion industry, and our similar experience working at fashion magazines. She told me about her life experience, moving around a lot and switching between Qingdao, Beijing, Tokyo, and San Diego. I knew that she was stressed about whether she could make money in the future to earn back her college tuition, and the way she dealt with stress was to read comic books and go out. She also shared her well planned future in 5 years and 10 years with me. I found these information directly and indirectly relate to the project and inspiring to me.

A very realistic thing for me to consider when I was critiquing myself and deciding on ideas was my skill sets. Although I was able to use basic Photoshop and InDesign, I was not that good at creating art through computer. However, I knew how to sew – I designed and made garments for 5 fashion shows before I came to The New School. Having knowledge about how different fabric is going to work in a single garment, skill sets to hand-sew and using sewing machines, and of course, using seam rippers, I had confidence about creating a garment for Nora. This also became a crucial reason why my professor, Nora, and I finally decided on the second idea I came up with, which was to reconstruct a garment or two.  

This project is definitely inspiring in terms of my decision between the original brain-stormed ideas, interview skills, and practical thinking. I appreciate the experience.


Reflection on “I Remember”

 I mainly used the moving and subtracting technique from my first draft to the second draft. After adding some more details, I feel like the imagery is more well developed and solid. While reading the second draft, readers should be able to better picture the scenes comparing to reading the first draft. Being asked and inspired by my professor, I printed out the whole piece, and cut each stanza, or each small chunk of memory, into paper slips. It almost felt like a ceremony, or a magic I played with words. I re-arranged them, trying to make the logic flow as fluent and easy to follow as possible for readers. For instance, I re-arranged the paragraphs by the time they happened and by places: first Japan, and then Idyllwild, and Beijing, Los Angeles, and then New York. I figured that I should maybe try it with my essays in the future, because the way I first write about something, especially in English, may not be the most logical and clear way of saying it. On the other hand, I made some minor subtractions. I eliminated some words that I think were extra, or could not convey my ideas clearly. However, when I look back now, I noticed that I should have be more brave and subtracted even more stanzas, such as the experience with Bazaar. I agreed with my professor that I looked like something in a resume.
From the second to the third draft, I mainly used the adding and reducing technique. I added a great amount of descriptions, to achieve a better level of details. For instance, I talked about the amenities of the hot spring near Fuji Mountain, mentioning the scent of the shampoo and the wooden facilities, which picture the scene better. Before the third draft, my description of the dirty snow and street of New York was too cliche. However, by adding my personal experience, which is the homeless sleeping on cardboards close to my hotel, it became my unique version of that particular experience. After putting in more details on the first half of my piece, both my learning tutor and I realized that some subtractions on the second half of the piece may be an appropriate choice. So I eliminated the experience on Melrose Avenue and the speakeasy bars in Beijing.