Remodeling Vulnerability Into Vogue | Kai Ting Chen Interview

Each dressmaker has their raison d’être. Some got down to reimagine our unconscious bias of style, whereas others come to outline a motion.

Kai Ting Chen is a Taiwanese designer who dares to embrace our humanity by way of style. Her collections function self-reflection, tackling topics as various because the Nan King Warfare of 1937 and our personal vulnerability. Her award-winning assortment, Match & Vulnerability, combines Asian streetwear with New York aptitude and places Chen’s private philosophy at its coronary heart.

We sat down with Kai Ting Chen to seek out out what impressed her newest assortment, the significance of embracing vulnerability, and the place her subsequent design inspiration may come from.

Your most up-to-date assortment attracts on the idea of exploring vulnerability by way of style. What does embracing vulnerability by way of style imply to you?

What sort of garments will make you’re feeling weak whereas sporting them? As a dressmaker, I exploit style to indicate my creative assertion. I wish to discover the delicate relationship between clothes and vulnerability.

My inspiration is Taleb’s guide ‘Antifragile’with its philosophy to not struggle in opposition to our vulnerabilities however to just accept them. Accepting our vulnerabilities will finally make us stronger.

I discovered a quote whereas doing my thesis analysis that sums it up effectively, that “clothes is the closest object to our our bodies, if with out them, we’ll really feel a way of vulnerability”.

It took some trial and error to deliver this idea into design. Storytelling performs a significant function in bringing our vulnerability to gentle.

The entire assortment focuses on 4 levels – start, wrecking, mind-changing, and integrity. My private expertise is built-in into the DNA of this storyline. It displays the vulnerability I noticed after a well being scare with my grandmother. I turned a concern of dropping somebody I cherished right into a supply of inspiration. Radiographs that had scared me to have a look at have been seen by way of the lens of potential materials choices.

Embracing vulnerability turned this assortment right into a therapeutic course of for me. The white skirt collapsing into a mix of darkish printed fits acts as a metaphor for accepting vulnerability and shifting on. My grandmother’s radiograph turned three totally different prints, making her part of my design journey.

My favorite a part of designing this assortment is that it serves as self-reflection. I conquered my fears throughout the pandemic and grew with the event of this assortment.

I’m not afraid to disclose my vulnerability and let everybody know my story. I’ve chosen to embrace my trauma.

Do you suppose the intersection of human emotion and style produces extra artistic designs than superficial developments? How can exploring feelings by way of style result in extra significant designs?

Designs that create style by way of feelings and tales will resonate with folks. In the event you’re touched by your personal design, folks shall be touched by your work. We are able to’t underestimate folks’s intimate views.

My private tales and experiences are my inspiration. I’m a storyteller. I’m keen to share my tales and my scars. The pandemic has introduced us all head to head with our vulnerability because it has touched each side of our lives. I’ve skilled the deepest sense of vulnerability.

Shoppers usually tend to maintain on to clothes which have sentimental worth or to which they’ve an emotional attachment. Do you suppose this perception may transfer the business away from quick style and towards extra significant consumption?

I actually imagine that.

If a garment evokes good emotions and reminiscences, which one is extra prone to be bought than a trendy piece? That is why there’s at all times a marketplace for bespoke and handmade merchandise. The artisan has made it themselves and has gone on a journey with the garment or product – a journey that engages the buyer on a extra intimate stage. That creates a bond.

Clothes takes us on an emotional journey. Is the cliché “sporting your coronary heart in your sleeve” nonetheless related in a tradition the place social media drives style developments?

An important factor is to remain true to your self and specific that in the appropriate manner. There’s an excessive amount of promoting that panders to sentimental values to get the viewers’s consideration, however the fact is – if you happen to’re real, folks can see that, and so they can have interaction with it.

Once we’re keen to share our weaknesses and even make them trendy, it creates a stronger bond with our viewers and brings significant and constructive power to the society.

In your earlier collections, you centered on emotionally charged historic occasions, notably the 1937 Nan-King conflict. Is that this a motif you propose to revisit in future collections?

I’m very enthusiastic about historic motifs and give attention to occasions just like the Nanjing Bloodbath. I’m keen to discover different historic occasions with controversial themes, similar to Taiwan Transitional Justice. Though these motifs are heavy, I imagine they elevate consciousness of anti-war and humanity.

I contemplate style design as a medium of transmission and wish to convey up to date social points to make folks suppose in a different way. My final assortment was about anti-war. I needed to make folks take into consideration the paradoxical facets of conflict and the way we have to empathize with others, respect them and cherish peace.

I plan to discover up to date points – maybe the damaging results of expertise, local weather change, or the trendy plagues of hypochondria and anxiousness. Do folks stay more healthy and happier lives when capitalism is rampant? The ambivalence between the 2 sides deserves additional exploration.

I try to infuse my designs with deeper cultural pondering. The following assortment will present my uniqueness as a designer and make folks take into consideration up to date points.

Chen Defines Her Design DNA

Each designer has their hallmark. Chen defines her design DNA with a give attention to humanity and emotion on the forefront. This comes at a time when society and the style business are dealing with new challenges – from sustainability to moral manufacturing to addressing socio-economic points.

Kai Ting Chen is a designer for our instances, confronting us with the vulnerability of our humanity.


Written by Aine Lagan

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