All students in their third year of the Textile and Apparel Design Program submit a portfolio for portfolio review. Portfolio Review (back in November) was a night of friends, food, and of course, fashion. It was great to see everyone’s work, and to show my friends and family what us TAD (Textile and Apparel Design) kids do. I was also excited to receive portfolio of distinction. My parents came and we went out to eat after wards at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Fu Gu. (Rufan introduced it to me, and I love it.) Elena and Adam came later and we saw Harry Potter 7 on Imax! It was a really nice night- a great way to celebrate everyone’s hard work. So, without further ado, here is my first portfolio. Many thanks to my photographers, Luke Burke and Eric Gaurkee, and my models Nathalie, Kelly, and Miki.


The Dog Owner

Pro photos courtesy of Eric Gaurkee, and modeled by my talented and adorable classmate, Miki.

“The Dog Owner” was a realization of one of my designs for the Apparel I Duality project. This project focused on communicating two opposing ideas in one garment –  in my case, domestic versus wild. For this piece, I focused on the role control and trust play in the relationship between people and their pets. I also thought about human perception of pets in opposition to their pets’ natural disposition as animals.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hope you are a having a lovely Valentine’s Day weekend! I used to not be a huge Valentine’s Day fan, until I realized this holiday does not just have to be about romantic love (although that is always nice). I like to think of it as holiday where you can show some love to your family, friends, significant other, or even people you don’t know. I tried to embody this sentiment at the party “Show Some Love” that I had last weekend, where I invited people to make valentines and contribute to the Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund, while watching Paris Je T’aime and New York I Love You.

Here’s a picture of the valentines I made at the party– who knows, maybe you will get one? 🙂

I’ll leave you with this poem by David Meltzer that I came across one day while working at the library in high school. I think it shows how love is rather indescribable…

The heart sees

what the mind sees

what the eyes see


Molten Rose

The Result.

Unconventional materials

Above: Kelly, my talented classmate and lovely model, and me. Dress: wax paper, crayons, candle wax as primary materials. Also used:  brads and hole punch protectors for closure, markers for coloring the hole punch protectors, duct tape to reinforce shoulders and armholes, and packaging tape to reinforce inside placket.

The Details.

Top-stitching on placket. I forgot to get a picture of the closure– I used brads (the type of closure you see on manila envelopes) on the under placket, which fold over holes that I punched with a hole punch in the over placket.

Hem detail. Edges dipped in candle wax.

(I had all these purple tea candles lit in the studio, and everyone was joking about the romantic ambiance it created. It was amplified when Miki took the rose petals she was working with and sprinkled them around, haha. )

Neckline details. Some of my favorite parts happened on accident- like how the tier in front sticks up, and how a  few pieces continue from the neckline down the arm.

The Process.

Thoughts/Ideas: I do not know if I would have come up with this if it were not for my Experimental Textiles class. Our first project for that class (before delving into the technical world of paper-making) was to make fabric-like yardage using any kind of paper. I rolled up Kleenex in Mod-podge and stuck it onto tracing paper in a web-like fashion. (I’ll post pictures of it once I take some, it is hard to imagine) Donna, who is a very talented artist and pleasant and helpful person to be around, made this great piece out of wax paper. She sewed strips of wax paper onto a larger sheet of wax paper and cut all of those strips to form fringe. It was very fabric -like and had a compelling surface. So, when it came time to think of unconventional materials for my apparel class, my mind went to my project for experimental textiles. I thought of all the ways those lines of Kleenex could wrap around the body and thought that I could use wax paper instead of tracing paper, since it would be more durable and it worked for Donna. So wax paper was on my mind when this vague childhood memory of melting crayon shavings between wax paper popped into my mind. After making some samples, rifling through my massive inspiration binders, making some more samples, and sketching out some ideas, I got to work on the dress.

L: Inspiration images pulled from my binders. When Trace and I went to the Modern Wing at the Art Institute over summer we saw some paintings by Cy Twombly. I picked up this postcard at the gift shop, hung it in my room for a long time, filed it away, and re-discovered it when I was working on this project. The color palette and general drippy-ness were constant references for this garment. The edges of the garment were inspired by the tiered neckline on the shirt on the right. R: Original sketch.

Construction: I took my slopers from last semester to form a really basic dartless tent-like dress. (I did not want to attempt anything fitted with wax paper and I wanted to keep the focus on the colors and blobs the melted crayons formed) I made three dresses of wax paper. I sewed the dresses together first, because I figured it would be harder to sew together with all the crayons in it.Then I ironed everything together at once: two dresses (instead of one for stability), crayon shavings, dress. The thing about wax paper is that once you iron it once, most of its waxy-ness is used up, so you have to iron everything at the same time. Also, I recommend WaxTex wax paper. I bought some generic Walgreens wax paper and its waxy-ness was not up to par. The armhole/shoulder region was hard to iron together and it totally ripped apart, so I reinforced it with purple duct tape. Then it was all a matter of making the placket, doing some top-stitching, and ripping and dipping the edge pieces and sewing them onto the dress. Sewing the on the dress when it was all crayon-ed up was definitely a challenge- it became really brittle and I was terrified I was going to rip it to pieces by accident. Most of the time I had to hold it awkwardly above my head with one arm while guiding it into the sewing machine with the other. I’m sure it was a funny sight.

Making this dress was quite an experience. While the dress is very delicate and impractical, I like to look at it and I think I will suspend from the ceiling  in my room once I get it back.


So the semester has begun, and with that comes projects! First day of class for Apparel I we are told we have a week to make a new look out of two or more old garments. I used 1) this vintage hand-made dress, which I had bought years ago (for like twenty dollars?) at an antique mall and had not worn because I was not confident I could pull it off and 2) this $5.00 kimono from Ragstock (where do they get all those kimonos anyways? really cool fabrics) And then I got a dress at Goodwill for the notions (invisible zipper and hooks and eyes)

Here is the end result, modeled by my lovely and talented classmate Kelly (worn with my own necklace from a flea market and the heels I wore to  the dinner):

The design was really inspired the fabric – I wanted triangular shapes to be the focus of my design to reflect all the triangles in the dress fabric and the small zig zag pattern found on the kimono fabric. I also wanted to play with the idea of hiding and revealing the body with the sheer overlay in the front, the lace cutout on the side, and the straps that form a triangle on the bare back.

For You.

I made my sister, Elena, this embellished collar/necklace for Christmas. I bought this cardigan from Gap (in a tall, of course 🙂  ) and made an embellished band that snaps on and off so that the sweater can be washed; and the band also has hidden hooks and eyes so it can be worn as a big necklace separate from the sweater. I cut out circles in various sizes of cotton from an old shirt, tulle, some hand-dyed silk samples, a swatch I did not use, and other mystery fabrics picked up at the fabric give away at the end of the semester. (See what you can make out of scraps?) I sewed the circles onto the black cotton band with french knots and beads. Elena wrote about it here (I stole her pictures that her photographer boyfriend, Adam, took)

Me and Elena on Christmas

As a necklace

Some details

Inspired by:

and these

featured on Elena’s blog.

Pore me.

“Pore Me”. Self- portrait embroidered on ostrich skin.

This was my final project for Structural Enrichment I (Fall 2009). We basically got to do whatever we wanted (why I love this class). Our professor, Mary Hark, is really great at encouraging her students to work on what is personal and meaningful to them.

I fell in love with embroidery this semester, and wanted to embroider a portrait. But what kind of portrait?

Back in high school I would cover my face in pore strips and I looked pretty ridiculous. But I did not care, because I was willing to do anything to get rid of my blackheads. I have always been self-conscious about my acne and blackheads. This black bumpy ostrich leather reminded me of blemishes and blackheads. Plus it is skin. So I decided to do a portrait revolving around pore strips. This piece is difficult for me to explain. Maybe because it is so personal, maybe because I feel that it is unresolved. Why is it unresolved? First, not everyone knows what a pore strip is… I should think of a more universal way to represent insecurities revolving around acne/pores. Second, it has dangerously close connotations with race, what with using black and white and embroidering on a skin, but this is not at all what it is about. I am not sure where to go with this, but I want to explore a series that tackles acne/pore insecurities. Any ideas?