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The Art of Craft - Uniformity and Luxury: The Mao Jacket
USC School of Architecture | Spring 2014
Professor Lee Olvera

Objective. To design and construct a Mao jacket based on a specifically prescribed pattern in every detail. 


Parameters. A maximum of two materials is allowed and integrated as a unified system joined by a hand-controlled process. The jacket must be wearable, thus the material properties of constructability, flexibility, portability, and durability were to be considered.

Inspiration. (1) Weaving techniques; (2) Dual-material jackets; (3) Hood element - interpreted to be a political statement.

Color. In choosing the color to develop the jacket, a driving force was to make the overall look reflect an associated material (true blue: denim; black: wool, leather, etc.). Ultimately, silver was chosen as it gave the appeal of metal. 

Process. I began by testing out different materials with the intention of finding one that allowed both flexibility and sturdiness. Curling ribbon proved to be lightweight and extremely versatile. After various experiments, I chose to go forward with crochet as the ribbon took on a different property, sturdy like chain links, and a weave, where the material mimicked a structural look. I developed a variation of a double crochet stitch and a basic weave pattern based on moments of movement on the jacket as I wanted optimal comfort when worn. Crochet was used in places where seams connected to different panels.

photo 2-1.jpg


3/16" curling ribbon


60 hours


3,330 linear feet


4 misplaced needles... hoping they found a new home!

Finish product

Hood attachment

Woven chest piece pattern

Detail of upper left chest pocket

Detail of seam - sleeve to jacket body connection

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