Hello! My name is Chloe Christiansen, and my Freestyle elective focus is Design. Over my two years at Freestyle, I’ve focused my work on my passion for expressing complex issues visually and artistically. Outside of Freestyle, I spend time crocheting bikinis, and I’ve sold over 20 this year!
The two projects that I believe best showcase what I have learned and worked hard for are my Junior Documentary Project and my Senior Zenith Project. In each of these projects, my passion for tactile productions was satisfied with the added experience of using different software applications to produce meaningful pieces digitally. In each of these projects I worked alone on every aspect of production. For my documentary, I learned how to communicate emotionally challenging subject matter into an informative book using interview material from a cancer survivor and an oncologist. The zenith project was more free-form, and I was able to more freely express my creativity through fashion design. The clothes were thought through very carefully, and represent environmentalism and gender fluidity (based on my Senior research paper on gender roles in pornography). The physical products to come out of these two projects (the Documentary book and the Zenith clothing) are truly satisfying to me.
I would like some feedback on whether the design aspects of these two projects work together to deliver a complete idea. Do the design choices make sense based on the deeper meaning? Are the designs advanced enough to communicate these complex issues? Is each project cohesive visually?
Next year I will be attending Cabrillo Community College in Santa Cruz, where I want to begin researching criminal psychology. I will continue to make clothing and art, and I am excited to be living in a more artistic area. My interests are very broad and I’m hoping to gain more clarity in the coming years.
Thank you for your time!
You can reach me at email@example.com
Documentary: Integrative Oncology
My goal in producing this documentary was to share the contemporary field of Integrative Oncology through informative research and testimonies of personal experience. When I began the project, I wanted to gather as much information as possible and dive deep into the research aspect of the subject. The challenge then was to express the emotional resonance that accompanies the human experience of going through cancer and the process of healing. I discovered connections I had never anticipated between my documentary subjects, and realized the cyclical relationship between mentality and physicality. I managed to stay motivated during this difficult project because the opportunity to have a hard copy of a book entirely written, designed, and formatted by me was incredibly inspiring. I discovered a passion for my subject and enjoyed the learning and reading that went along with writing about it. It was difficult after expending so much energy during the writing process to then have to learn to use InDesign and switch gears to focus on the aesthetic angle of the process, but this was also very inspiring because I could execute my artistic vision without having to focus on data and structure. This project took me far beyond the traditional high school curriculum, and I have learned more through this project than any other in my life. It taught me to manage my time, ask for help, reach out to people, prepare for interviews, research a complex subject, use new software, and open myself up to new ideas.
The intention behind my design choices for this book was to create a feeling of calm healing. Blue is the color typically associated with calmness, and each blue colored block in the Table of Contents corresponds to the color on the side of the page for each given chapter. I learned a lot about photography through this project, and on top of photography I created some small graphic design elements to make the text more visually interesting. This project pushed my boundaries and continues to inspire me to challenge myself creatively.
Zenith Project: Conscious Fashion Design
Beginning the Zenith Project, I wrote my Senior Research Paper on the harm associated with exaggerated gender roles in mainstream pornography which everyone is exposed to these days. This paper was very meaningful to me, and I knew that I wanted to express the concept artistically through my Zenith Project. Clothing has always served as a reflection of culture and time, and it is a medium that I was already familiar with but hadn’t used in a long time. Along with the ideas of gender fluidity and free expression, I wanted to include environmentalism in my concept as an added challenge. I decided that I would use only recycled materials, and the theme for my clothing line would be “Genderless Environmental Militia” – soft, natural toned fabric combined with heavy, industrial hardware. I made one full suit pattern, and this was one of the most challenging pieces of the project. I have made patterns before, but this one was especially difficult because I wanted the suit to have a very unique shape and I was creating it from scratch. I was very careful when creating the pattern, and luckily it came out exactly how I had envisioned it. The next challenge was to use limited fabric to create a large outfit, and this is where I was unable to meet my vision, as I ran out of floral fabric for the full suit and ended up only being able to make the jacket from this fabric. I spent the most time on this initial design, but I liked the pattern so much that I made a second suit from the same pattern so that I could demonstrate it on both genders in my catalogue. The last outfit I made was a top and skirt with buckles on the straps. I added bra straps hanging from the bottom of the shirt as a message on de-sexualizing women’s clothing. I wanted to transform the subtle messages that we are fed in fashion about men and women, turning them into something creative instead of shameful. Until this point I did not collaborate with anyone, but to create my catalogue I enlisted friends and family to model my designs. This was stressful for me because I am not very experienced with photography, and I couldn’t get the photos to look the way I had envisioned them. Everyone I worked with was very patient and understanding, and I was grateful to have a painless collaboration experience.
If I could do the project over again, I would have left more time to take pictures and edit the catalogue. The catalogue didn’t come out the way I wanted it to look, and I think that if I had had more time to improve my photography I would be more proud of the result. I am very happy with how my first suit came out, but this one took up most of the time so I wasn’t able to give my other designs the same attention. There wasn’t anything I could do about the time constraints, but I wasted time trying to get a full suit out of the small piece of recycled fabric, and if I were to repeat the project I would have chosen different materials for the jacket and pants from the beginning to save time. The 21st Century Skill which I improved upon the most in this project was probably Risk-Taking. I wanted to be very ambitious with my vision for this project, and I also wanted to include several constraints to make it more challenging and meaningful. The 21st Century Skill which I don’t feel that I worked on very much was Technological Literacy. Although I used technology towards the end of the project, I don’t feel that I advanced very much in my technological skills, and the physical products were much more of a focus for me in this project. Photoshop and photography are still challenging for me, and I hope to keep using them until I feel I have more control with these mediums. Overall, I met all of my initial goals for the project. I made 3 complete outfits, I took photos of different models wearing them, and I put together a catalogue showcasing the designs. I think the most important experience I gained from this project was pattern-making, as it allows me to begin making more of my own clothes and helped me understand the mathematical angle of fashion design. Fashion design has always been one of my greatest passions, and it was satisfying to end my Freestyle career with my childhood dream project. I learned a lot about my own abilities through this project, and I can’t wait to further my design skills throughout my adult life.