– PROJECT BRIEF –
There has been a great shift in our society over the last 20 years due to the creation of the internet. The internet is a revolutionary tool that allows millions of people to easily communicate and access information instantly. The last twenty years have also seen a steep decline in religious affiliation and a shift towards secularisation. Now, while correlation does not imply causation, the decline of religion and the rise of the internet do seem to be linked in some way. Both organized religion and the internet have been able to connect the world and many people’s fascination and obsession with each is comparable. There has also been a heavy use of religious imagery used in pop culture today hinting at the possibility that people have been looking elsewhere for guidance and mentors. While the internet is still young, it has made a great impact on our society and has in a way started a new period of learning, innovation, and growth. The internet might not have clearly replaced religion but there has been a natural shift towards the online platform and away from traditional methods.
I wanted my final garment to embody these ideas and attempt to visually communicate my concept. Using the internet as my inspiration, I began to try and think of ways to visualize what the internet is and how it serves society. The internet connects people around the world and allows people to share information with each other almost instantly. I chose to create two garments that are connected by distressed denim fibers to symbolize how the internet has been able to connect people in a very intimate way. I chose denim because it is a very utilitarian fabric and in its most basic form, the internet is a useful tool and resource. All of the separate fabric manipulations represent the eclectic nature of the internet and the wide range of information you can find. I also chose to make the pieces monochromatic in order to not distract from this heavy detailing.
I also wanted there to be a generational aspect in the relationship between the two models. One acts as almost the mother or older sister that is passing on information to the younger generation. The second “younger” piece is more modern, streamlined, and wearable whereas the first is more complex, romantic, and excessive.
– PROCESS –
The creation of these garments started with my research. I read numerous articles, book excerpts, and blog posts about the relationship between social media and religion. One article in particular, by the Pew Research Center, titled “Digital Life in 2025” asked thousands of technology experts and builders about what the future of technology might hold which truly inspired me. Their responses were then condensed into 15 theses that predicted the fate of the internet and technology. These theses prompted me to design a garment that focuses on the way we communicate and what that means to our bodies.
In my thesis for my seminar essay I wrote, “Internet culture and social media have replaced the cultural need for organized religion. This can be seen through their unifying nature, people’s relationship and obsession with both systems, and the changing iconography in each. This comparison shows how heavily dependent we are on the internet and represents an important, and possibly beneficial, shift in our society.”
– FINAL PHOTOS –
Models: Christine Jiwonra, Meilun Yan
Photography: Zachary Fernandez
I wanted the environment of the shoot to reflect and compliment the style of the garments. The concrete and stone background is clean and modern but also slightly distressed and rough around the edges. I also wanted to keep the styling, hair, makeup and poses simple so that it would not distract from the work.
– REFLECTION –
The research paper in Seminar 2 directly influenced my final piece in studio and allowed me to create a tightly conceptual piece that questions the importance of the internet in our everyday lives. When designing the final garments, I had my research with me and would read a couple articles before I started sketching. This was important to me because I wanted to make sure that my pieces were very analytical and reflective of my essay. I truly appreciate when artistic projects are then supported with research and history in order to develop a social commentary through my work. It is what makes my work more exciting and relevant.
This process has helped me truly understand who I want to be as a designer. I think the final product perfectly represents the dichotomies in my design style. I liked that I played with light and heavy, sheer and opaque, and excessiveness and minimalism all in these two looks. Moving forward, I want to try and refine my design style and continue to do things that challenge and excite me.