Project: Self-reminiscence

Self-reminiscence is my senior thesis collection, used to explore my personal identity as an individual with a multicultural upbringing. The silhouettes and hues reflect a hybrid Mexican-American culture which is seen through the textile and the strong exchange in both color and print, creating a dialogue between both contrasting cultures.

Initial Research

As part of my research material, I look into personal photographs that capture both my Mexican-American culture, this specifically in the cloth that is seen in the garments worn. Material such as denim is constantly seen as a result of growing up in California; decorative elements, such as lace and patterns, are compared to traditional cloth made in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico (Magdalenas and Venustiano Carranza).

As I looked into industrial and artisanal techniques used in the production of denim and traditional Mexican cloth, it became clear that the cloths true essence is the human touch and stories the craftsman is producing. A language full of symbolism, representations and stories. As I was producing the textile for Self-reminiscence, I was creating a personal language that represented my upbringing. During my design process I developed multiple patterns, produced different scales, colors and weights. The pattern was placed directly onto the body in order to visualize how the print would intersect throughout the body. Creating digital patterns and selecting it as a main media came from the repetition found in elements and motifs from Mexican cloth.

Initial collaging and digital manipulation trials of print placed on the body.

Identity and visual representation serve as core components for Self-reminiscence. A strong reference that I constantly looked into was American contemporary dancer, Martha Graham. Martha Graham created a language through movement. Graham believed that through movement our inner senses could be exposed. It was an intimate process in which expressing my identity through the creation of textile became a part of the body´s movement.

A still from the film, ‘Martha Graham, Dance on Film’. Ink on paper.

The initial silhouettes were greatly inspired by the traditional Mexican garment, huipil, which is an oversized square piece, woven in the desired length and sewn only from the sides, leaving openings for the arms. The silhouettes completely transitioned from being geometric and having a rigid aspect to providing the body with greater movement.