“In/visible” uses the Delano Grape Strike to represent the lack of visibility Filipinos experience today. The ensemble consists of a reversible jacket and pants that have images of Filipinos from the strike. The main side of the jacket has grape vines embroidered on the front, referencing floral embroidered motifs on traditional Filipino garments. The sleeves have patches of the Filipino flag, the United Farm Workers’ eagle, the letters “AWOC”—the Filipino dominant Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee that started the movement, and “WELGA”—the Tagalog word for “strike.” On the back is an appliquéd flag of the United Farm Workers. The reverse side of the jacket features images of Filipino strikers. It features UV printed swatches that are quilted together to create this side’s textile. Users can decide to wear the jacket with the imagery facing out when they feel they can safely express their pride for their people.
“Skin Deep” exposes the issues of Filipinos inheriting Western standards from their colonizers. Maintaining these foreign standards is detrimental for Filipinos trying to establish their own identity. It reinforces the power that the colonizing forces continue to hold over the culture. In regards to beauty standards in particular, following Western models is destructive to self-image. This garment uses the caste system from the Spanish as a way to illustrate these problems. It features each tier of the system that stacks on top of one another along the length of the dress. Each segment is machine knit individually and identically using rayon and cotton yarns. Depending on the level of the tier, the segments were bleached at different lengths of time. Higher levels of the caste system received longer periods of bleaching, indicating how much Filipinos would need to lighten their skin in order to reach that level of paleness. The bleach stripped the cotton yarns of their color, while the synthetic fibers retained their dyes. The resulting effect created a gradient of bleached lettering along the dress.
prey for us
“Prey for Us” reflects the tension of participating in a tradition deeply rooted in violence and greed but masked under holy pretences. The garment interprets this sentiment using emoji motifs to illustrate the cultural conflict. The two rows represent Spain and the Philippines, portraying cause and effect. The Spanish flag, cross, crown, and jewels results in the Filipino flag’s sun in chains, under sword and gun. The trim of prayer hands at the bottom then reflects how the Philippines fell prey to the Spanish yet see religion as its savior.
The silhouette takes the baro’t saya as inspiration, a traditional ensemble also brought about by the Spanish. It consists of jusi fabric, embroidery, and a skirt and top or dress. This interpretation modernizes the traditional garment by contemporizing the silhouette and updating typical motifs with digitally embroidered emojis. The imagery on the dress can be covered up with a complementing cross cape to suggest devoutness to outside aggressors.
This look is part of Christina Chen's Master of Industrial Design thesis. The garment tackles issues of freedom of expression for people of color in today's America. This top is an interpretation of the traditional Filipino garment, the barong tagalog. Using the garment's typical fabric jusi, a silk organza hybrid, this top modernizes the silhouette into a more everyday bomber. The jacket features different shades of laser-cut organza hands that are tacked on with digital embroidery. The resulting camo print plays with ideas of skin tone and blending in to one's environment. This jacket was designed, digitally embroidered, and constructed by Christina Chen.
This look is part of Christina Chen's Master of Industrial Design thesis. The ensemble tackles issues of freedom of expression for people of color in today's America. This featured look includes a wool and embroidered organza top, and a satin and embroidered wool pant. The top incorporates a camo print made entirely of brown and black hands designed to conceal the graphic on the pant underneath--embroidered "power fists" adorning the length of the front. When comfortable in their environment, the wearer can tie back the top's front to reveal the message of pride printed on the pant. Both articles were designed, digitally embroidered, and constructed by Christina Chen.
between the lines
"Between the Lines" is a series of knit pieces under development as part of Christina Chen's Master of Industrial Design thesis. The mini-collection translates woven patterns of indigenous Filipino textiles into textured knits. This fully-fashioned sweater transforms the traditional aspects of the culture into a more sporty, modern look. The sleeves feature tuck stitch techniques to create a more abstract interpretation of the traditional graphic pattern. Most of the sweater uniquely displays its purl side for a softer, yet more three-dimensional look. This project was designed, patterned, and machine knit by Christina Chen.
"Nurture" is a dress designed for breastfeeding mothers. The project examined existing breastfeeding paraphernalia and their issues with exposure and visibility. Upon speaking with several mothers, it was also noted that the act of breastfeeding and available accessories tend to limit what could be worn. This project attempts to solve these issues by providing a built-in system that is both discreet and stylish. "Nurture" was featured at RISD's 2016 Industrial Design Triennial, "We Start from Making," at the Woods-Gerry Gallery in Providence and in an article written on Core77.
"Layers" is a tulle pant that explores ideas of revealing and concealing. The pant features four layers of staggered tulle to create a gradient effect along the leg. This project was designed, patterned, and constructed by Christina Chen.
"Flip" is a pair of hand-made leather shoes designed and constructed by Christina Chen. The project plays with asymmetry and atypical mismatching in a classic derby silhouette. Shoe lasts and other shoe-making tools were utilized in the creation of this cement-constructed pair.
This hand-made table is the result of an investigation for modern space-saving furniture solutions. The table features a removable top that could then be used as a lapdesk without disturbing the contents held underneath. The desk also has a swiveling hand-made copper lamp that can be removed.
"Tilt" is a tabletop ceramic collection for modern urban living spaces. The collection consists of three pieces that communicate both formally and functionally with one another, revolving around this concept of the "tilt." These multifunctional pieces can serve as planters, lights, or vessels for solids and liquids, providing versatile solutions for its users. Each piece was slip-casted in hand-made plaster molds, then glazed individually. These pieces were featured at RISD's 2016 Industrial Design Triennial, "We Start from Making," at the Woods-Gerry Gallery in Providence.
This collection features a series of ceramic plates and salt/sauce pods. The plates can be arranged to create a tiling effect, or paired with an accompanying pod. The pods are reversible, featuring a deeper side for sauces or herbs, and a shallower side for seasonings. All pieces from this collection were solid slip-casted in hand-made plaster molds.
"Float" is a laser-cut tunnel book designed and assembled by Christina Chen. The book features four layers of aquatic scenes, using vectors created by various contributers on the Noun Project.
This red submarine is a 3D-printed ABS plastic toy. The design was created via 3D modeling using Rhino and printed in RISD's "Co-Works" facilities by Christina Chen.
fitting the mold [chair]
"Fitting the Mold" is a discursive project critiquing societal viewpoints on body image. The chair portion of the series features hundreds of nails that lower into the seat when sat on. The person who sat can then compare his or her size to the impossibly small shape that is suggestive of society's standards. This chair was CNC milled to get the precise fit for assembly. "Fitting the Mold" is a collaboration designed and created by Jerry Ding and Christina Chen. It was featured as part of the "Let's Talk" exhibition held at the Exposé Gallery in downtown Providence in December 2015.
fitting the mold [bowl]
"Fitting the Mold" is a discursive project critiquing societal viewpoints on body image. The bowl portion of the series features different stages of the male and female figures. The different levels of the bowls suggest that the designated amount filled and eaten would result in the according body shape. "Fitting the Mold" is a collaboration designed and created by Jerry Ding and Christina Chen. It was featured as part of the "Let's Talk" exhibition held at the Exposé Gallery in downtown Providence in December 2015.