thesis: power suit

asian stereotypes exploited

immigrants come to Canada with high hopes and expectations, but many of them leave after failing to adapt to Canadian society. many visible minority immigrants and their descendants experience direct and indirect discrimination in day-to-day social interactions.

my thesis project looks at two particular challenges that East Asian immigrants and their descendants face when they try to integrate into the workforce in Western society.


this is PART B of the project now you see me

departure point

still from movie 'Ex Machina' - media portrayal of submissive East Asian female image source: https://goo.gl/c2oV5r

still from movie 'Ex Machina' - media portrayal of submissive East Asian female

image source: https://goo.gl/c2oV5r

sexualized, submissive East Asian females

many people in Western society acknowledge the situation but no one is addressing the issues directly. certain mass media forms (i.e. TV shows, movies) even use poorly portrayed East Asian images to entertain its viewers which leads to further misunderstanding and derogatory judgement of a certain race


power suit

a bespoke suit jacket designed to emphasize the prescriptive stereotypes applied to Asian females

the jacket consists of two responsive mechanisms that react to the wearer’s body changes:

lapel.png

hormone lapel

the lapel opens when the wearer gets nervous and starts to sweat during an interview

it seduces the interviewer to the sexual image of a fantasized Asian

pouch.png

slouching pads

the shoulder pads fill air bags when the wearer has improper posture and starts to slouch during an interview

it creates the impression of a passive and submissive Asian

 


in action


technical details

the jacket and shirt mechanisms are controlled by two programs loaded onto an Arduino board

the shirt detects the wearer's motion and body changes during an interview and communicates with the jacket in real time


process

pattern drafting of the jacket, with many many iterations...

the jacket was fitted onto mannequin for adjustments

lapel mechanism prototypes were tested for optimal opening angle and speed

final selection of suit fabric was chosen to show the gravitas

a complete pattern was made and ready to fit onto mannequin

the shirt was put on to test the cutout location and material

all pieces were constructed and sewed together for model fitting

all pieces were constructed and sewed together for model fitting


special thanks to avis ho for all drafting and sewing assistances, and to photographer han liu and model huiru shi for all the photo shooting assistances