Chelsea Hai


Class of: 2024

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Wearable design, photography, paper

Faculty: Claire Donato (Seminar) and Yana Dimitrova (Studio)

Prompt: In our Studio bridge project, we were asked to choose one material and identify its history, production, usability, and the further necessity for your project. We were asked to design a wearable design inspired or made in that material. For the Seminar class, we needed to compose a lyrical, experimental, and autobiographical essay based on the material with which we were working in Studio. The essay should be modeled after Maggie Nelson’s Bluets.

I chose skin-colored organza as my material for this project. I wanted to make a fantastic and sentimental character or image that illustrates the point that women do not want to be sexualized. I was thinking of the characteristics and stories of the mythical character Medusa, which represent the female gaze, subjectivity, and the striking back to males’ oppression in various ways. The developments of my character are corresponding to the different stages of Medusa’s story. I took the pictures of me taking off the clothes and used the shapes to make some sketches of garments, representing women’s body ownership and the emphasis on “no intention.” Then, I put the sexualized postures of women on a body figure in a literal way to represent the forcing of sexualization on women and to correspond to monsterizing.

Lastly, I recorded my heart rate and cardiographs when going through news related to my topic on social media. I put the chaotic cardiographs in the form of colors on the monsterized body as a reflection and visualization of women’s pain of being sexualized, to correspond to Medusa’s ability to reflect the evilness and gaze. The method of coloring is also used in photography for this project. I tried to create a character and image that has the sense between fantasy and reality in my photoshoot, including the mythological sense of Medusa’s story and my personal interpretation of this project. The five sets of pictures each consist of two parallel states corresponding to the beginning and the monsterizing. The wearable design and photography are made with the intention to look uncomfortable, moody, and unnatural, to make the project possess the empathetic ability and become a conversation starter.