”How can I, as a sustainable fashion designer, create a collection inspired by Kintsugi, which will ”educate” the growing female middleclass in China in a more sustainable way of thinking?”
Modern China is heavily influenced by its dark past. The many revolutions in the 20th century has left the country devoid of much of its heritage. A lot of cultural costums and sites were destroyed in order to lead the country into a more modern age. Today many Chinese people yearn for a bit of their historical heritage, while they also want to be a part of the modern world of consumption.
In this project I’ve decided on a narrow niche in Shanghai, but as Shanghai is an enormous city, expanding by half a million people each year, even a niche makes up a large portion of the population. My focus is on the twenty to thirty year old female consumer, who lives in Shanghai but who has studied in Europe and adopted the Western understanding of the environmental situation. She is aware of both her wants and the Earth’s needs. This woman wants to have a bit of home with her as she travels and searches for her roots in an expanding and ever more urbanized world.
To accommodate the needs of my niche I’ve looked into the history of China for things to be inspired by. For instance, the kimono obi (the ribbon on the back of the kimono) has inspired the many ribbons in my collection. The kimono is one of those cultural heritages that was lost in the Chinese revolutions and was surpassed by clothing inspired by Western fashion.
I wanted the styles to be clean, sort of old China meets the west. The materials are silk and, as in the Kintsugi tradition, recycled from old kimonos, suits and other clothings. The tears in the original material are randomly made by the breaking, which means no human brain has tainted it with some sort of system, thus making it appear more aesthetically pleasing. It gives another layer of depth to my collection.
The Chinese today do not want to be ordinary. They want to stand out, but they also want their heritage to be visible. I’ve tried to create styles that live up to both of these needs.