Asia Fashion Collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

Article By Ka Yee Chan
Photo credit Xue Liang

Asia Fashion Collection, a Global Incubation Project, featured six young and talented designers at Lincoln Center. They are representatives from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The Asian-based brands included within the collection were Vianad, R-SHEMISTE, HANG, IS, AUSTIN W., and SEi. Lets look closely at the creativities and stories behind their brands.

VIANAD ViVi joanne Anais dorsbien is designed by Maaku Suzuki (Japan). It is a brand that is full of stories and dreams. ViVi joanne and Anais are two fictional sisters’ dream of an imaginary heroine. She is someone elegant, someone sweet, and someone with a sense of French romance. The silhouettes are basic, but there are dramas at the sleeves and Western painting prints. The color story is mainly of gold, beige, baby pinks and baby blues, and a pop of mustard. Using these colors, Suzuki managed to keep the sweetness of the collection.

R.SHEMISTE is designed by Won Ji Yeun (Korea). This is a very modern and fun brand. The designer played with compositions of fabrics and textiles, soft over hard, leather skirt over pants, etc. Many of the looks have a boxy silhouette but they are interestingly layered with different materials. In this collection, there was a fun catch, she used an outline of a cityscape as the hem of the sweater and embroidered it in golden thread. The creativity of this brand has brought surprises and fun to the audience.

IS designed by Akiko Kishimoto presented luxury in the dark. Leather, wool and silk are common materials in the collection. Rock is the root of this brand. Blacks and whites of different materials and textures are used throughout the collection. Kishimoto’s looks have many dropped silhouettes,  and they are relaxed, but the attitudes are not lost. This explained the whole brand: “I want to express elements of hard elegance,” Kishimoto said.

It is best to understand the collections directly through the designers. It is a great honor to be able to interview three of the six designers:

SEi by Yumiko Sei (Japan)
Q: “Where does your inspiration come from?”
S: “Inspiration comes from daily life. Anything can be possible.”
Q: “Since anything is possible, where do you usually begin when you design?”
S: “My collection is not really wearable. Since my inspiration is from daily life, anything can be possible to act as the materials.”
Q: “Do you have a message/purpose you want to give out from this collection?”
S: “I live my life, everything is alright, everything is great…but actually everything has a dark side, and that’s what I want to present.”

Sei has a very imaginative collection. She finds inspiration from daily life, but transforms it to an unbelievable level. She wanted to present the world she sees.

HANG by Mim Mak (Hong Kong)
Q: “Where does your inspiration come from?”
M: “My inspiration comes from the city I lived in, Hong Kong. Many city places, everywhere is very packed, on the train, on the streets…each person have a very limited space. Because of the limited space, it is easy for one to elbow each other when reaching to get something from their pockets. I think this is an issue that will cause arguments. So, I put my focus on pockets. Repositioning the pocket in the front can be more convenient and thus reduce arguments. Another detail, is the overall shape of the garments. The main structure of the shape is a box. The shape of the box resembles the limited space. By using some special cutting skills, I created ‘comfort zone’ in this limited box.”

Mim Mak has a very clear vision of what she wants to present in her design. Her collection is closely related to where she grew up and a societal issue.

AUSTIN.W by Tzu-Yun Wu (Taiwan)
Q: “Where does your inspiration come from?”
A: “My collection is about home. A famous song named, “Fields of Gold,” inspired me. Home could be the most basic element of our life, but it could be the most desirable piece of everyone’s heart. I am trying to express the desire of home…reconstruct the elements, convert the idea of home into warmness and convert it to my variable customers.”
Q: “Where do you start from when you design?”
A: “I loved simple silhouettes, so I always use wool to make structured shapes.”
Q: “Do you have a message/purpose you want to give out from this collection?”
A: “I want to show more Eastern styles in the Western fashion field.”

Austin has the ability to use simple structured shapes to express his concept, “Fields of Gold,” and the desire of home. His simplicity not only brought coolness, but also brought peace, comfort and warmth.

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