Wendy Xiaowen Zhang & Amy Hsu Tzu Chen
San Francisco, USA
Runway Photos: Randy Brooke
Amy Hsu Tzu Chen Website: amycanfly.com
Wendy Xiaowen Zhang was born in a small town in Henan Province, the middle part of China where Chinese tradition and heritage is practised and celebrated.
Moving to Shanghai at 10 changed her vision for beauty, art and fashion.
Wendy started with fashion design in Academy of Art University in San Francisco at age of 17 and later find herself obsessed with how strands of yarns can construct themselves into garments with an effortless, artistic flow. The possibilities and uncertainty inspired her to started her journey as a knitwear designer.
She explores with flat pattern and creates 3-D pattern pieces fully utilising the characteristic of knitwear. She wants to challenge the conventional idea of knitwear as ‘sweater’ and make knitwear a strong design statement independent of woven.
In her vision, knitwear is more than sweaters that have to match with woven design: it is an extension of the skin; the textile, design and construction are one, accommodating and flattering each other. The drape, volume, flow of the silhouette, together with lush texture and smooth travelling stitches are what poetry is made of.
The design approach is simple, organic and artistic, with a touch of oriental aesthetic.”Knitwear is stubborn- you cannot force it to do what it doesn’t want to. So instead of having tricky curvy lines or complicated designs, I work with the switching grain line, talking to the fabric, trying to understand it, and see what I could play with.”
Her textiles explore bold, fun textures with various unconventional materials such as paper, raffia, and plastic. No functional trims are necessary since the fabric is strong enough to support itself- it saves the material and also emphasising the beauty of textile itself- leaving the work a modern, clean edge. Besides knitted garments, Wendy is passionate about incorporating knit and woven structure together to add depth and interest.
The result is dazzling, lush, exclusive riot of colours and textures that grow on and from the fabric. She collaborated with fashion designer Amy Hsu Tzu Chen for their senior year collection ‘Beauty of Withering Mind’ and the work was featured in Academy of Art University 2017 Spring Fashion Show.
Amy was born in Taiwan and raised in a family that always encouraged her to explore what she found curious. As a designer who cherishes life, she believes every living moment and experience can be inspiring. She enjoys immersing herself in different fields, such as music, film, photography and fine arts. Living in the moment and designing with what she is passionate about are the key ways to bring depth and energy into her work.
Amy has always been amazed by the fact that what people wear can reflect the uniqueness of their personalities. To her, well-designed apparel is like a piece of three-dimensional artwork that can flatter its owner and help the person stand out. This has motivated her to study fashion design at Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Amy is finishing her final year of the BFA Fashion Design program at the Academy of Art. Throughout her design educational journey, she realized that she wanted to create something not only beautiful but meaningful. Amy now begins a new chapter in her design career, as she will be moving to Paris to further her studies at L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.
This collection is inspired by the classic Chinese film, Farewell, My Concubine. It is about a Chinese opera performer, whose insistence on preserving the traditional beauty of performing Chinese opera is so brave and against the current. Sadly, being an artist so unique and different eventually leads him to commit suicide. He is a broken yet beautiful soul trapped inside his gorgeous costumes. For this collection, Amy created beautiful textures through burning, bleaching and felting, trying to convey an idea that the ugliest sufferings and depression can actually be the seeds of the most beautiful creations. And, never lose hope.