Next gen designers: Zhuxuan He

The future of fashion.

With the arrival of Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, it’s time you got to know more about this year’s graduate designer lineup.

These designers are the crème de la crème of the country’s top tertiary institutions, all brought together as part of the National Graduate Showcase.

Presented by AMP Capital and supported by Fashion Journal, the National Graduate Showcase will take place at the Royal Exhibition Building on March 19. You can pick up a ticket here.

Until then, it’s time to meet the class of 2017. Next up is Zhuxuan He from University of Technology Sydney.

Tell us a little bit about your collection.

My collection explores the connection between the body, the garment and its surrounding space, where the wearer acts as an instigator for movement within the garment itself. The sculptural and articulated forms are inspired by organic abstraction and paper origami folding techniques.

The collection seeks to challenge the potential of 3D shape in relation to the female silhouette.

What inspires you?

This collection was inspired by Japanese artist Tokujin Yoshioka’s chair design, Honey-Pop. The chair is made with sheets of glassine paper that were piled together and cut along specific lines, so it magically opens up into a honeycomb structure. I was fascinated with the transformation process (from 2D to 3D), which reminded me of my childhood playing with pop-up books.

Does art inform most of your collections?

Yes, it does. I’m always inspired by installation artworks.

Where did you come across Tokujin Yoshioka’s work?

I’ve been obsessed with Tokujin’s work and his design philosophy for a long time. He creates things that show unimaginable beauty by capturing the unpredictable movement of nature. I often see the honeycomb paper origami in daily life, such as party decorations. I didn’t realise its great form until I saw the Honey-Pop chair. I realised the potential of this technique and used it in my textile process.  

What challenged you in this collection?

I think the method of patternmaking and construction was the biggest challenge. The way I made my pattern was different to what I was used to. The construction process of the origami piece was super time-consuming. I had to work out all the designs ahead of the schedule to have enough time to put them together.

Can you explain your design process?

I started with some collages to see how I could reform the shape and what kind of silhouettes I would have. The material plays an important role in my process. Different fabrics have their own features (such as stiffness, softness, heaviness and lightness), so I had to choose the right fabric for each look. The folding origamis are very flexible and changeable, which made it hard for me to think about the form at the first. After many [construction] attempts, I started to build the garment as a whole rather than assembling [each element individually]. The creation process was intriguing, because of the flexibility and the movement in the garment.

What’s the hero piece of your collection?

The gradient origami dress. It has the most amount of colour, which brings brightness and vitality to the collection.

What do you listen to when you create?

I don’t listen to anything when I create. I need a quiet environment to work on my thoughts. I do listen to heavy metal music to concentrate and keep myself awake when I’m in the process of constructing something.

What’s in store for 2017?

I’ve applied to do a masters degree next year and wish to develop my skills further.


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