fashion designers—diaspora


fashion designers—diaspora
The most internationally influential designers of Chinese descent to date have been those that are based in Europe and the USA. Although some have found inspiration in Western culture, many have returned to their Chinese heritage, bringing elements of Chinese design into their collections.
Amy Chan was born in Hong Kong and moved to New York when she was eleven. She studied buying and merchandizing at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, but her interest soon shifted towards design. The first ‘Amy Chan’ collection was launched in 1994, but her most successful creations have been her bags, in rich textures such as Chinese silk brocade, leather, denim and suede in vivid colours, now sold in her Manhattan shop.
Andrew Gn, born in Singapore, was the first Asian designer to be appointed to a French couture house. Gn first studied at St Martin’s College in London and went on to further study at the Parsons School of Design in New York and the Domus Academy in Milan. Gn was named as the ready-to-wear designer at Pierre Balmain in Paris where he concentrates on garments with clean lines and minimal detailing.
Han Feng (b. 1962) first studied painting at the China Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou and then moved to New York in 1985. Although she first worked as a Bloomingdale’s sales assistant, she moved on to selling pleated scarves, and these have subsequently become her signature item since she began making clothing in 1993.
John Rocha, British Designer of the Year 1993, was born in Hong Kong in 1953 of Chinese-Portuguese parents. Following training at the London College of Fashion, he moved to Dublin, Ireland, having been inspired by Irish fabrics, particularly linens. His interest in Celtic traditions informs his softly tailored designs renowned for their simple lines and minimal decoration.
Anna Sui (b. 1955), a first-generation American from Detroit, studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York. She became a stylist for the fashion photographer Steven Meisel, and set up her own business in 1980. Sui’s Soho boutique highlights her multicultural influences—punk rock, hippy, European chic and traditional Chinese style. She is best known for her Chinese-style dresses in contrasting fabrics such as gauze netting and velvet.
Vivienne Tam was born in Guangzhou and raised in Hong Kong. She studied at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and has designed in London and New York, where she now owns a boutique. Her modern Chinese-themed garments have included stretch T-shirts decorated with Buddha designs, coiled dragons and lotus flowers. Even Mao makes an appearance in various guises. Traditional craftwork is incorporated through delicate embroidery, beading and local Chinese textiles.
Yeohlee Teng was born in Malaysia and went to the US aged eighteen. Another graduate of the Parsons School of Design, she is generally known by her first name. Although she is best known for coats, all her garments, which often come in monochromatic stretch velvet and satin and high-tech fibres, show strong shapes and forms, informed by traditional Chinese techniques rather than Chinese detailing.
SARAH DAUNCEY

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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