PolyU budding fashion designers showcase creativity and talent
[Sponsored article] Twenty-five graduating students at the Institute of Textiles and Clothing (ITC) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) featured their creative designs at the PolyU Fashion Show 2017.
The annual show is one of the most highly anticipated events in the local fashion industry, in which the latest young generation fads are expressed through budding designers nurtured by ITC, the leader in fashion and textiles education as well as research in the field in the region.
The 25 collections, each comprising four outfits, have received wide acclaims for displaying, in particular, passion and daring spirit. The award winning collections by Jason Wong, York Yip and Chloe Chau are typical examples.
Challenging “garment” concepts by dressing bodies with objects
Jason’s designs, themed “Object> Garment> Object”, challenged the definition of “garment” and snatched the Overall Grand Award. By transforming and incorporating daily-life objects — doors, mattresses, gift bows and dishwashing gloves — into wearable outfits, he attempted to challenge the usual perception about “garment” and bring in more interesting, aesthetic and novel alternatives into fashion design.
Describing his designs as “a living experiment”, Jason said “We have all sorts of stereotypes in daily life, just like our fixed views of the forms or uses of objects commonly seen elsewhere such as doors or gift bows. Through my designs, I also attempt to convey the idea of opening up alternatives through breaking down barriers between different cultures, races, age groups and genders.”
He attributed his daring creativity largely to the inspiration he gained during his six-month exchange in Sweden during his PolyU studies. “The Swedes view fashion in a very interesting way. They focus on the relationship between the garment and the human body. To them, fashion is not just about having something to wear; it is a medium for expressing specific, or even controversial, messages,” said Jason.
Other than creativity, the detail-mindedness, skills and persistence nurtured by Jason’s four-year studies with ITC also contribute to his winning. This has been evident in his “ribbon bow” dress, in which meticulous calculations of every bending angle as well as the right proportion of expanding such a small object were crucial. For his “mattress” dress, careful consideration was required on the weight of cloth chosen and the special sewing skills applied. “To cope with the thorny challenges, I handmade the mattress from scratch by myself. It gave me great satisfaction when I saw my models sashaying down the catwalk gracefully,” said Jason.
Turning designer frustration into humorous fashion
York’s collection “Fxxkshion”, presented his tough design experience in a humorous way, won him the Outstanding Menswear Award.
“In our design process, we faced a lot of pressure and frustration. Our ideas always faced harsh criticisms by classmates or tutors, or, at times, even being banned. Our emotions always lingered between feeling hopeful and being frustrated. Thus, I use the design, resembling the deflating process of a balloon, to illustrate a fashion designer’s feelings,” said York.
Initially, York also used dull grey color palette to reflect the dispiriting emotion. Thanks to the inspiring discussion with his ITC tutors, he converted to vibrant colour patterns and iconic images, thus turning the tune into a humorous and refreshing expression.
“Regardless of the ups and downs in emotions, we designers also enjoy working hard to achieve a good outcome,” said York.
And York not only worked hard. For achieving “perfect” outcome, he displayed persistence, experiences and skills especially in his repeated attempts to create a ball-shaped blazer – the central element in his “Fxxkshion” concept. There had been so many problems in finding the befitting materials and tailoring method that even his veteran pattern maker advised him to let go the idea. But York refused to budge. “I kept exploring and after months of trial and error, I found a firm yet elastic material fit for my design with which I used a different tailoring technique to create a round-shaped jacket,” said York.
York knows well that in real business world, fashion design is by no means an easy job. It can be frustrating at times for a designer, having to put aside some of his preferred designs as not being appreciated by others especially customers. Yet, he still decides to enter menswear fashion design after graduation, aspiring to build his own fashion brand one day after having gained more work experiences.
Exotic ideas of mixing street chic with extreme sports
The fashion design journey of Chloe, another Fashion Show winner, started at her high school days – when she joined a summer school organised by ITC.
Her womenswear collection named “Adrenaline” was inspired by the extreme sportswear she saw in the movie Point Break. Blending extreme sports, femininity and street chic, the collection contained different fabrics and textures, incorporating the features of wingsuits and parasuits, and won her the Inspiration Award.
Chloe said the preparation process has been “most enjoyable”. She did her research work not only on internet, in libraries, by visiting skating and indoor wall-climbing venues, but went extra miles by joining kite-skating course – though she is hardly a sporty lady. She also interviewed the salespeople and customers at a retail outlet selling extreme sports gear to learn about the essential elements and functions of various sportswear for improving her design.
The drive for taking all the initiatives came neither from higher-level instruction nor desire for high marks, but rather the freehand and encouragement rendered by her tutors. “At ITC, we enjoy high degree of freedom which allows us to generate wild and exotic ideas. I believe that such culture truly incubates creativity.”