I spent the better (and hotter) part of July attending the Design Studio course at Parsons New York. I stayed in a one of the New School University's dorms near Stuyvesant Park with a roommate from Hong Kong, someone whom oddly enough, I had mutual friends with. As I had completed the Sewing and Construction course in Paris last July, I chose a course this summer that would hopefully broaden my horizon in the fashion industry and expose me to different aspects of what going to a design school would be like. Over the course of the three week program, I did learn a lot more about fashion beyond the making of a garment. I spent a morning live sketching models to make various croquis, followed by spending hours trying to figure out how to work my way around adobe illustrator and photoshop so I could turn the croquis into a professional looking garment proposal. I also went to three weekly lunch seminars where I listened to parsons graduates explain their senior thesis work, the founder of Three as Four discuss his intriguingly advanced and collaborative work, the founder of McDonald's Play discuss theory of product design. Because I have this website, have had worked at a consignment boutique, and have been interested in the success, intrigue, and strategic work of clothing companies from the creativity of Alexander McQueen and Martin Margiela, to the recognition of houses like Chanel and YSL, and even to personal practicality and want to wear clothes from Patagonia and Lululemon, I have always been interested in the more business side of fashion. And this program did force me to explore logo making, visual presentation, prototype making to at times frustrating yet rewarding level. I have always dreamed of living in New York ever since I first heard Frank Sinatra's iconic song on my dad's record player, and I have found memories of spending a day by myself watching Sex and the City at breakfast followed by Breakfast at Tiffanies on my sister's TV while sketching pages and pages of dream couture collections that would hypothetically be worn by big names at the Met on the first Monday in May. And while I have visited New York over weekends with my family, this was the first time I could really get a sense of what it would be like. I spent one Saturday walking from my dorm (318 E 15th street) all the way up town to Central Park, of course stopping into Saks and Bergorfs on the way, a Sunday window shopping in Soho, a trip to the Met's Camp exhibit, a trip the the Cooper Hewitt and the Whitney, and many trips to various Ice Coffee shops and street side mango vendors to cool off. While I did visit Carrie Bradshaw's infamous apartment, I never saw SJP as I was hoping to or any other Manhattan icon for that matter. I met some very funny girls who were on their winter break from Argentina, I connected a Hamburg girl with my German born grandmother, I walked to class every day with a girl from Switzerland and went to lunch with kids from my class marking around the world in Dubai, the Philippines, Texas, DC, and the accents only got stronger walking in and out of my dorm every day. While learning about the many less glamorous behind the scenes sides of fashion only assured me that I was ok with putting in the work for doing something I loved (or that it still didn't seem like much work at all), meeting people all around the world only further assured me for how excited I was to move on to bigger and better things, and receiving constructive criticism from my peers and teachers at our weekly public critiques only built up my confidence and willingness to take advice with grace and patience, I left New York with a bit of a different mindset for my future than when I arrived.
Below are my final product presentation boards! Both projects were very different from what I am used to constructing. I certainly reached various challenges with both, but I can't wait to continue garment making with a new perspective on creativity and what I can do, and to also continue my new interest in product design
1) This was my project inspired the history and tradition of New York's Chinatown. I constructed this garment out of three lanterns, and it was definitely the most unconventional material I have ever used!
2) Our second project was titled "Thing from the Near Future." We were assigned to create a product that would help humans in 50 years from now, and we brainstormed what technology-what is has created, and what it will create, from medicines to flying cars. In 50 years, there will be problems that we will face that we will have no way of preparing for or could even imagine happening today. However, I believe that most of the problems our world is facing today have a lot to do with technology. Specifically, how we have developed as humans. While some of my classmates chose to address issues such as air pollution, phone usage, sustainability, etc., I chose the topic of mental health. Mental Health has always been a issue I have seen as more important than almost anything else, and although I was a bit hesitant to pursue this interest initially, I learned a lot about myself while developing my ideas and supporting my product. Out of all of the dresses I have made, this product concept is my favorite by far. I see a future with this product that can actually do good for the world, so much so that I gave out pieces of it to my classmates who spread all around the seas. That feeling, of being able to in some way help people find a little bit more peace and joy in their lives is a feeling that making a dress for myself for some school dance can never, and I am beyond grateful that I was able to do this.