The fashion world is abuzz with excitement as the highly anticipated “Thread of Origin” exhibition opened its doors at the prestigious 178 Bleecker Street in Soho, New York City. This groundbreaking event showcased the remarkable craftsmanship and storytelling prowess of emerging female designers, offering a rare glimpse into their unique perspectives and creative journeys. Let’s delve deeper into the exhibition and the journeys of these talented female fashion designers.
Can you tell us more about the “Thread of Origin” exhibition and what makes it so special?
Avantika Malhotra: “I aim to create fashion beyond aesthetics, evoking emotions and fostering meaningful conversations. I wanted to bridge the personal and collective realms through my designs. Through my brand, I strive to initiate dialogue and connect people through shared emotions and experiences, creating a platform for exploration and connection.”
Danting Liu: “I am a Chinese fashion designer based in New York, having graduated from Parsons. My designs are inspired by a diverse range of interests, including movies, literature, music, and history. I like to create garments that truly reflect the personalities and narratives of individuals. By designing such pieces, I aim to empower people and enrich their experiences across various life occasions. This is the driving force behind the establishment and continuous growth of my brand.”
Jenny Xiao: “I want this brand to have more identity with a mixed culture name I have. Jenny is not my real name, but I have adapted to the name since young and believe it is part of my identity. Just like the different cultures I have adapted, I want this brand to embrace all kinds of people and all kinds of culture.Positive energy is what I always believe my brand should have. My personal ethos for life is to be happy. Happiness can be different for everyone. For me, it is to do what I love and not to be constrained by society and express the fun and exciting energy through my work.”
How does your background and culture influence you as a designer?
As a Korean American designer, Rachel Lee, brings a distinct perspective to the creative field by blending influences from her Korean heritage with her American upbringing. Through her work, she seamlessly incorporates traditional elements with modern aesthetics, resulting in innovative and culturally diverse designs.
Rong Xu: “In my childhood memories, my mom would often sing while making clothes for her children by hand. She was the one who introduced me to clothing design. Coming from a traditional Chinese family, direct expression of emotions among family members was not common, but I am a person who is highly sensitive to emotions. This has made me a sensitive yet introverted individual, and design has become one of my main ways of expression and communication. My inspiration often comes from the people around me, as well as my own experiences and stories.”
Young Sun Moon: “As a fashion designer, my journey from Korea to the United States at the age of 16 has deeply influenced my creative vision. The diverse experiences and cultural exposure I gained in both countries have served as a constant source of inspiration, driving me to tackle the issue of the sexualized gaze on women’s bodies through my artistic endeavors.”
Kyrie Yang: “Fashion design for me is beyond culture, beyond community. Fashion history says people generally choose products by their functionality, political meanings, or following the trends; however, my friends, family, and loved ones repeatedly show me that people are more than those social machines. Through my design, I want them to see a more fun world with inclusiveness, flexibility, and playfulness. Instead of being defined by the product, wearers should be able to be inspired by it, discovering the part of themselves within the piece.”
How does your creative process influence your work? What is the most difficult aspect of it?
Kyrie Yang: “I design where I live, so my earlier works focus on an optimistic lifestyle inspired by various philosophical classics that I read, including products that help enjoy different weather and environment, self-talk about what life and death mean, and handling inevitable lost and disappearance. Then, I chose footwear as my starting point of exploring because feet are the original point of many things in human beings – the spot where people put their weight of life on, the trigger of movements and immigration, and the connection between a standing figure and Mother Earth. The difficult part is shoe construction, there are so many kinds of materials, and it requires me to be very thoughtful to make them beautiful and functional. ”
Rong Xu: “I often focus on “expressing certain emotions” during the creative process. I choose materials and colors that can better tell the story for my design. In this particular work, the main material I used is porcelain because its characteristics align with the essence of the concept. However, I had encountered many challenges within the limited time frame since I had never worked with porcelain before, I had to remake the pieces multiple times.”
Rachel Min Lee: “my creative process stems from ongoing research throughout the initial to the making of the collection. From there the research informs the experimental and explorative nature of designing the collection. This is done through experimental drapings of materiality with toiles.”
Avantika Malhotra: “My creative process is introspective and storytelling-driven, as I delve into personal experiences and emotions to create designs that resonate with others. The challenge lies in finding the right balance between the personal and the relatable. The entire process of turning something intangible, like an emotion, into a tangible garment or product is what I find most exciting. ”
Is there something you’ve done differently with your designs that has differed from previous garments?
Young Sun Moon: “During the development of my early collection, I explored Korean culture, with a specific emphasis on the intricate relationship between Korean women and patriarchal society. This research led me to discover the transformative power of shamanism ceremonies as a means of finding resolution within this context. By incorporating symbolic elements and nuanced aesthetics, I sought to convey the struggles, resilience, and ultimate triumph of Korean women in the face of societal expectations. Transitioning to the creation of my recent collections, I turned my attention towards the pervasive issue of women’s bodies and the prevalent sexualization they often endure. ”
Jenny Xiao: “None of my collections are completely cohesive. You will realize they look different but similar in the mood I create. This collection , Birdie, is so far the most different project I have done. Mainly because I want to challenge myself, letting go of my controlling sense in the early researching period, just to see how deep I can find my way of creativity in the sea of research, and how well I can pull it back by reorganizing and reconstructing different ideas for a more cohesive and complete collection.”
Danting Liu: “My design process typically involves textile creation, draping on forms, and interweaving with croquis drawings. In the past, I used to rely solely on drawing and the selection of fabric swatches from stores. However, I observed that this approach didn’t yield the desired results for me. By adopting a more diverse range of methodologies, I have discovered that it becomes easier to explore and attain the distinct silhouettes and textiles I envision in my new designs.”
As the “Thread of Origin” exhibition opens its doors to the public, visitors will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the artistry and creativity of Avantika Malhotra, Danting Liu, Jenny Xiao, Rachel Min Lee, Rong Xu, and Kyrie Yang. Through their thought-provoking and innovative designs, these young female designers aim to reshape the fashion industry, fostering inclusivity and meaningful connections among people from all walks of life.
Curator: Jiajia Wang, Creative Director: Rachel Min Lee, Coordinator: Jenny Xiao, Production: Kyrie Yang, Photographer: Kyrie Yang
Presented by: Dundu.n