Picking A Side

Exploring your identity is one of the hardest things a person can do. Every story is so unique that it’s common to feel alone, or stuck in your own skin. For Livia Christy, BFA Fashion Design, it wasn’t until now that she felt she was able to voice her opinion by using her collection to establish who she is as a person.

Christy’s grandparents migrated from China to Indonesia when they were young to start their family, and her parents, who are both Chinese, were raised like Christy in Indonesia. Her Chinese ancestry and childhood in another country has resulted in an interesting life story. Because of this, she struggles to give a concrete answer when people ask about her background.

Where we might look at things like language, ancestry, history, society, culture, or social treatment to find our own answer, for Christy it’s a melting pot. She doesn’t speak Chinese, but with her ancestry and physical characteristics, she racially identifies as such. But celebrating both Chinese and Indonesian culture led to a confusion on which she wants to belong to. She struggles to pick a side, and ends up with a feeling of not being either Chinese or Indonesian enough to make a decision.

Christy chose to pour all of her emotion from this experience into her senior thesis collection. It shows us who she wants to be, and has been used as an opportunity to explore her identity. While implementing part of herself, she uses her Chinese roots to create elegant, high-end, geometric garments that frame the body beautifully. The collection’s design details stem from a technique used to fold Chinese gold paper called yuanbao, that her grandmother taught her growing up.

We see a variety of gold and muted browns, with a subtle use of prints that break up the solid shapes throughout. Classic silhouettes allow the viewer to not be overwhelmed, and to appreciate the smaller details. It’s a collection of garments that can be worn by anybody going through change. It’s for those who feel like they don’t belong.

Words: Ryan Murphy, BFA Fashion Product Development

Edits: Josh Walker & Ellie Dietrich

Photography: Danielle Rueda

Model: Sydney, STARS Management