Hermitage Jacket

Capstone Design Studio
Rachel Hu

Capstone Design Studio Rachel Hu

All good design, regardless of form, must be rooted in good storytelling. In the
absence of the designer, design language is more powerful than language. Narratives in design are not linear, and the most interesting innovation comes through fearless exploration.

Hermitage Jacket

The Hermitage Jacket is a mixed-material work wear jacket designed as a modernized and Westernized hanfu garment. Just as the diaspora has transformed Chinese culture and cuisine, so too can traditional fashions come to reflect the experiences and identity of Asian-Americans in the US. In a time when Asian hate is on the rise on the West, cultural visibility in the social landscape may serve as both an act of pride and protest. 

The jacket is constructed with two fabrics: denim and Chinese handmade indigo cloth (手工布). In the west, denim is a durable, hard-wearing, blue textile that has come to represent the working class. Interestingly enough, China too has a blue-dyed heavyweight fabric used in workwear garments. I wanted to create a material dialogue between these two textiles, integrating these materials strategically into a garment designed as a functional hybrid of Chinese and Western-style fashions.

Hermitage Jacket-Hero

Project Process Book

For many members of the diaspora, cultural clothing is reserved for holidays or special occasions. The traditional cuts and materials of these garments may be too restrictive or uncomfortable to allow for daily wear. For others, they feel unsafe wearing their cultural clothing in public, for fear that standing out makes one more liable to be a target of discrimination. With this project I wanted to ask: What can be counted as activism in marginalized communities? and how may cultural fashions serve as a subversive medium? 

By designing a garment that addresses these pain points, I hope to empower other Asian-Americans in the US with an opportunity to connect with and showcase culture in their daily lives. 

Rachel Hu

About Me

Rachel Hu

Hi I’m Rachel, an Industrial Design and Applied Languages & Intercultural Studies double major! As a graduating design student I have professional experience working in digital fabrication, user ethnography, soft goods, and furniture design. My design work emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to design, drawing influence from Sino-American aesthetics and international design challenges. Any project of mine will have a strong focus on materials and form exploration. Strengths? Physical prototyping, design research, and CMF design. 

LinkedIn  |  Portfolio