Jamilla Zahir


Class of: 2024

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Crochet

Faculty: Aviva Maya Shulem

Prompt: We were assigned to develop a 3D object/artifact, which demonstrates its connection to the community you identify with or that defines you, your belief, your personality, etc. The item could be a sculpture, a functional object/tool, or a body “extension” (accessory, garment, prosthesis, etc.).

For this project, I decided to create a sweater vest to convey my ideas in regard to being multicultural. The medium of crochet allows me to intertwine different colors/types of yarn and create a piece that is a patchwork of my identity By creating a sweater vest, I can take the positive and negative aspects of the communities I belong to and display them openly and proudly. A vest is also something that implies support and keeping the wearer warm, which I representative of how communities should feel like to a person. To make the piece directly represent my experience as being a mixed person, I made each square represent a different part of myself: some display the flags of my different ethnicities (Finnish, Sri Lankan, Swiss, American), and others tackle the social complications that come with being racially ambiguous (not knowing how to answer the frequent question of “what are you?” concisely, not looking like either side of your family (or anyone else) and therefore feeling like an outcast, constantly being under the microscope of those who are overly inquisitive, etc.). One also features the world map to show how spread-apart my family is, but how we can still stay connected despite the distance. Overall, the vest functions as a piece that explains my identity to others and eliminates the need to repeat my entire family history to every person I meet.