I've had a soft spot for fashion design ever since I watched my first episode of Sailor Moon in elementary school. It's kind of a funny story. My younger self was puzzled by the lack of protection on the protagonists' arms and legs.
"Well of course they're losing...they have nothing on their arms and legs. They'll get hurt!"
--me, presumably, to my mother.
I spent the rest of the day drawing out pages and pages of new battle outfits that could help my heroines defeat their enemies more swiftly.
While my interests shifted from magical girls to couture, but I remained hooked to fashion design. Yet, for all the fashion sketches that covered my desk, I'd never made any of my designs. In fact, I didn't even touch a sewing machine until getting to college and joining Fashion and Student Trends, a club that unites students passionate about fashion design and giving them an opportunity to showcase their work in a large-scale semesterly fashion show. With three collections worth of experimentation, trial and error, and learning under my belt, I felt more confident to be more ambitious with my designs, to make garments closer to the ones I envisioned, rather than watering them down and simplifying them because I didn't have the skill to make them.
My fourth collection for Fashion and Student Trends was inspired by a dream--a blurry whirlwind of red flowers, bullfighters and flamenco dancers. My fondness for the darkly romantic took over, and blurry recollections of red flowers and Spanish motifs eventually manifested as vivid images of poppies and musings about hazy opium dreams. To me, poppies are darkly romantic, replete with a gripping yet conflicting symbolism and connotations of peace, war, death, and rebirth. The collection itself also took on a more decadent and hedonistic vibe. I drew from a variety of artistic influences, including the Baroque, Art Deco, and Pre-Raphaelite movements, and structured the color progression of the collection to roughly transition from vibrance and glory to decay and rebirth.
I sought to challenge myself with higher level tailoring and more intensive ornamentation. I created a bodice from scraps of wine-colored tulle, cut apart and pieced together gold lace, hand-ruffled 40 yards of red chiffon, used neoprene mesh for the first time, took a first stab at making a mermaid gown, hand-studded a feather belt for said mermaid gown, created a bustier top, and covered said top with 200-something flowers.
Photography: Catherine Zhou
Model: Alice Pang
Below are some of my sketches and process tidbits. It's always interesting to see how final designs evolve from original ideas!
ON THE RUNWAY
AAAND POST-RUNWAY SHENANIGANS