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Designer Interview: Yinan Mao Accomplishes the Intersection of Tradition and Modernity in Fashion

Fashion is a term with solid personal touch. The conceptual framework generates more possibilities when individuals bring together richer content like Yinan Mao, who draws her inspiration from minor Asian culture as well as theater & television design. As a creative fashion designer, Mao sees the diversity of wisdom as the driving force behind her designs.

Q: Would you briefly introduce your latest collection DONG?

A: DONG is a collection that was inspired by a mysterious Chinese ethnic group located in the southwestern of China. It is a very little-known ethnic group in that region, which made me wonder about their cultural background and history, especially their dressing style. I thus explored their dress culture in this collection and integrated some contemporary aesthetics into my design language to bring about a creative phenomenon in a modern way.

(Dong Collection, By Yinan Mao)

Q: What was your inspiration for the design of this collection?

A: In my research, I found out they have a unique way of dressing that was completely different from the urban style. For someone that grew up in a modern society, I wanted to combine the two styles so that their dressing could reach a broader market as well. As a result, I spent a lot of time on studying the structure, material and techniques of how their clothes are made and conducted numerous experiments to dye the same colors. In the meanwhile, I tried many modern materials and technologies such as knitwears, 3D printing and laser cutting to finalize the design.

Q: What was your design concept for the Brightness Star?

A: This was a challenging assignment for me because my client asked me to include a star in the design, which is something I don’t usually do. I chose to encase the star in melted resin and added numerous clear balls for embellishment, aiming for a lighter texture. For the base design, I used gauze-wrapped wax for sculpting and then shaped it through wax casting. Melting the wax and fabric by heating at high temperature, and then pouring the metal in to shape the ring. It was challenging to organically integrate fabric into wax casting, making it difficult to achieve the desired dimensions. I had to make countless attempts to get the dimensions I wanted.

(The Brightness Star, by Yinan Mao)

Q: How would you define your style?

A: I prefer organic, powerful, and wild designs over fine designs. This style is also reflected in my clothing designs, where I often incorporate elements of rawness. One characteristic is intentionally leaving some cloth unstitched or including tailoring marks. Even if I don’t initially plan to follow this approach, the design tends to naturally evolve into a wild style, as if it is something hidden in my subconscious. This style is applied to both my clothing and jewelry designs.

Q: Will you focus on one specific track of fashion design or explore various fields?

A: I believe the concept of design is unified and dependent on personal aesthetics. It is not limited to specific categories, which is why I would like to explore as many different fields in fashion design as possible. I have a strong interest in handcrafts, which led to my passion for jewelry design. As a designer, I have always believed that illustration and motion design are closely related to fashion because they complement each other.

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