Here at nzgirl, we feel empowered by women accomplishing goals and achieving their dreams; so when the stories of three young graduate designers caught our attention, delving a little deeper into the inspirations behind their NZFW collections was a must!
This cool chick gathered inspiration for her collection Please Like Me from social media and its trend with reducing and commodifying women into ‘products’ and ‘damaged goods’ on the internet.
What inspired you to research the effects of social media and therefore translate that into the collection?
I didn’t actively set out to research social media- I guess it just came about organically, because I use social media all the time! The inspiration for the collection came about because I noticed a pretty alarming trend surfacing when I scrolled through my news feed.
There were a lot of people making and sharing posts that referred to women using terms previously only connected with product exchange- like damaged goods, cheap, upgrade, and the like.
It’s pretty dehumanizing to be called an “upgrade”, and to be expected to think of that as a compliment, when it’s also a term people use about commodities like their phone.
I think social media was especially relevant to my research, because social media means everyone has the same opportunity to communicate their views.
Why did you decide to study fashion?
I’d be lying if I said that fashion was the only thing I ever wanted to do. I had my fingers in so many deliciously flavored pies, right up until it was time to choose what I wanted to do at university.
I really enjoyed textiles at school, often at the expense of a lot of my other classes, but the commitment to a four-year degree was a little daunting. With the enrollment deadline looming, I just decided fashion felt like the right choice- I was really curious about learning more about the hobby I’d been dabbling increasingly in for the last five years.
Are there any plans to pursue a career in fashion in the future?
I’d love to! Fashion school and fashion in the real world are such different beasts. I’d love to learn from other designers, be a fly on the wall- I’m hoping to get a bit of that out of fashion week, and hopefully in the future. Even if fashion as a career doesn’t work out, though, I’ll still be making things every moment I have- fashion and I are kind of joined at the hip at this point.
Our next #girlgoals is Shannen, who focused on the difference between eastern and western patterns which were later combined for her NZFW collection.
How would you describe the elements of your collection?
The elements in my collection follow the idea of in-betweenness. I chose elements that are opposite or contradicting and put them together. i.e. 2D silhouettes with 3D illusion prints, deconstructed and constructed, shape opposition.
What impacted your decision to create pieces that incorporate both eastern and western themes? I started my research on fashion orientalism and differences in eastern and western dress; which led me to exploring alternative pattern making instead to deflect from making a garment that would be labeled as ‘eastern’ or ‘western’. This direction was also inspired by my cultural identity and being in between two different cultures.
What were you most excited about for NZFW?
I’ve been working on this collection for quite awhile and I (was) just excited to finally show it.
What would you like audiences to take away from your collection?
I would like the audience to pick up on my pattern method I used but mostly I’m hoping the collection will make a strong impression on the audience.
This badass babe, determined make the fashion industry more sustainable, has drawn the Japanese kimono back to its roots in a contemporary way midst its over-sexualised representation in pop culture.
Has growing up in NZ affected the way you identify with your culture?
Yes, most definitely. Since I was born here but my parents are both Japanese I feel very influenced by both cultures. I think the best thing I got out of growing up out of Japan was the way I could look at Japan and Japanese culture from the outside and the inside. There are so many things you can understand from both perspectives.
In terms of my Japanese heritage I think I am super lucky as it is so culturally rich. From the kimono that inspired me for this collection the food, architecture there are so many things that inspire so many people around the world.
How has this impacted your collection?
The kimono was the sole inspiration for my collection. It was a garment I felt a strong cultural connection too. I had worn it several times since I was young and a lot of the time it was representing/displaying my identity as Japanese. I’ve always been drawn to its beauty in the fabrics, embroidery, accessories but since I started studying fashion design I became more drawn to its simplicity. I put is all made up of rectangles and its all tied together to fit different sized bodies.
My interest in the garment also lead me to see that some western interpretations of the kimono and Japanese or Asian women were fetishised and sexualised. This was not what I saw in the kimono or the women I knew that wore it. I wanted to create a collection that did not resonate with these western perceptions.
What inspired you to study fashion?
I had always enjoyed being creative and studied different arts subjects at school. Fashion design never came to me as something I could study until my last year in high school. I had a love for clothes and changing my appearance and perceived identity through what I wore and wanted to explore this further. I put my two interests together and thought it made sense that I should study fashion design.