Each designer has their raison d’être. Some got down to reimagine our unconscious bias of style, whereas others come to outline a motion.
Kai Ting Chen is a Taiwanese designer who dares to embrace our humanity by means of style. Her collections function self-reflection, tackling topics as numerous because the Nan King Battle of 1937 and our personal vulnerability. Her award-winning assortment, Match & Vulnerability, combines Asian streetwear with New York aptitude and places Chen’s private philosophy at its coronary heart.
We sat down with Kai Ting Chen to search out out what impressed her newest assortment, the significance of embracing vulnerability, and the place her subsequent design inspiration may come from.
Your most up-to-date assortment attracts on the idea of exploring vulnerability by means of style. What does embracing vulnerability by means of style imply to you?
What sort of garments will make you’re feeling susceptible whereas carrying them? As a designer, I exploit style to indicate my inventive assertion. I wish to discover the refined relationship between clothes and vulnerability.
My inspiration is Taleb’s ebook ‘Antifragile’, with its philosophy to not combat towards our vulnerabilities however to just accept them. Accepting our vulnerabilities will ultimately make us stronger.
I discovered a quote whereas doing my thesis analysis that sums it up properly, that “clothes is the closest object to our our bodies, if with out them, we are going to really feel a way of vulnerability”.
It took some trial and error to deliver this idea into design. Storytelling performs a significant function in bringing our vulnerability to gentle.
The entire assortment focuses on 4 phases – beginning, wrecking, mind-changing, and integrity. My private expertise is built-in into the DNA of this storyline. It displays the vulnerability I noticed after a well being scare with my grandmother. I turned a worry of dropping somebody I cherished right into a supply of inspiration. Radiographs that had scared me to have a look at had been seen by means of the lens of potential materials choices.
Embracing vulnerability turned this assortment right into a therapeutic course of for me. The white skirt collapsing into a mix of darkish printed fits acts as a metaphor for accepting vulnerability and shifting on. My grandmother’s radiograph grew to become three completely different prints, making her part of my design journey.
My favorite a part of designing this assortment is that it serves as self-reflection. I conquered my fears throughout the pandemic and grew with the event of this assortment.
I’m not afraid to disclose my vulnerability and let everybody know my story. I’ve chosen to embrace my trauma.
Do you suppose the intersection of human emotion and style produces extra inventive designs than superficial traits? How can exploring feelings by means of style result in extra significant designs?
Designs that create style by means of feelings and tales will resonate with folks. For those who’re touched by your personal design, folks will likely be touched by your work. We will’t underestimate folks’s intimate views.
My private tales and experiences are my inspiration. I’m a storyteller. I’m prepared to share my tales and my scars. The pandemic has introduced us all head to head with our vulnerability because it has touched each facet of our lives. I’ve skilled the deepest sense of vulnerability.
Customers usually tend to maintain on to clothes which have sentimental worth or to which they’ve an emotional attachment. Do you suppose this perception might transfer the trade away from quick style and towards extra significant consumption?
I actually consider that.
If a garment evokes good emotions and recollections, which one is extra prone to be bought than a modern piece? That is why there’s at all times a marketplace for bespoke and handmade merchandise. The artisan has made it themselves and has gone on a journey with the garment or product – a journey that engages the patron on a extra intimate stage. That creates a bond.
Clothes takes us on an emotional journey. Is the cliché “carrying your coronary heart in your sleeve” nonetheless related in a tradition the place social media drives style traits?
An important factor is to remain true to your self and specific that in the proper means. There’s an excessive amount of promoting that panders to sentimental values to get the viewers’s consideration, however the fact is – for those who’re real, folks can see that, and so they can interact with it.
After we’re prepared to share our weaknesses and even make them modern, it creates a stronger bond with our viewers and brings significant and constructive vitality to the society.
In your earlier collections, you targeted on emotionally charged historic occasions, significantly the 1937 Nan-King warfare. Is that this a motif you propose to revisit in future collections?
I’m very fascinated about historic motifs and concentrate on occasions just like the Nanjing Bloodbath. I’m prepared to discover different historic occasions with controversial themes, similar to Taiwan Transitional Justice. Though these motifs are heavy, I consider they elevate consciousness of anti-war and humanity.
I contemplate style design as a medium of transmission and wish to convey up to date social points to make folks suppose in a different way. My final assortment was about anti-war. I wished to make folks take into consideration the paradoxical features of warfare and the way we have to empathize with others, respect them and cherish peace.
I plan to discover up to date points – maybe the unfavourable results of expertise, local weather change, or the trendy plagues of hypochondria and anxiousness. Do folks reside more healthy and happier lives when capitalism is rampant? The ambivalence between the 2 sides deserves additional exploration.
I try to infuse my designs with deeper cultural considering. The subsequent assortment will present my uniqueness as a designer and make folks take into consideration up to date points.
Chen Defines Her Design DNA
Each designer has their hallmark. Chen defines her design DNA with a concentrate on humanity and emotion on the forefront. This comes at a time when society and the style trade are dealing with new challenges – from sustainability to moral manufacturing to addressing socio-economic points.
Kai Ting Chen is a designer for our instances, confronting us with the vulnerability of our humanity.
Written by Aine Lagan