There are those who create to make this world a better place by contributing in a tangible way; then there are those who do so in an intangible form, such as artists who offer thought-provoking creations that inspire and educate.
As many of us are aware, fashion is where both meet, as it produces works that are not only aesthetically inspiring yet wearable, while contributing to the world economy by creating jobs for millions. Funny though, I only realized the latter while watching the movie “The Devil Wears Prada,” when Miranda Priestly gets mad at Andrea for being unable to differentiate between two belts that practically look the same- now, I’m not a movie fan, I can rarely keep my eyes open for the entire duration of a typical movie unless it’s a certain genre, say romantic comedy or based on a true story… but this one I only remember because I watched it twice… and of course, I could barely remember anything from the first time I watched it. Anyhow, so in contrast to what many believe, fashion actually isn’t just for the special clique who buy expensive things and wear extravagant fur while constantly chatting about what’s hot and not, but it exists for every one of us, whether we are into it or not. We are all affected by it in a way or another, sometimes subconsciously or even completely unknowingly. I mean, we can all easily locate an acquaintance who works in the industry, right? If anything, who doesn’t get dressed every morning, or every night to go to bed? Surprise, yes- fashion exists EVERYWHERE.
On that note, as someone who’s attended numerous fashion shows, while all are somewhat amusing and few inspiring, there are those that leave an imprint in your head. It’s the collection that keeps coming back no matter how many shows you see afterward, no matter how many images you come across on the internet. Somehow, you just know when you come across the pieces where you saw it, when you saw it, and who the designer is. Yuna Yang is one of them: despite the show’s being held at an offsite venue that was a few blocks away from Lincoln Center, her F/W ’14 collection is one to not only remember, but to pay special attention to, because it’s nothing like what I had seen, or have seen… Okay, it’s not the Comme des Garcons-kind-of-”different” we are talking about here; C’mon- is it even possible to get to that level for anyone besides Rei Kawakubo herself? But yeah, Yuna Yang’s stuff is different in a refreshing way, they are artistic, well-thought-out, inspirational, yet totally wearable for even the not-so-fashion-forward. Is that even possible, you ask. According to Yang, it is.
Using Miao culture in southwest China as an inspiration, Yang transforms their folk customs and traditions into wearable art by incorporating key characteristics of the culture in which every creature both animate and inanimate are alive and spiritual while maintaining her specialty: To craft couture-quality gowns that embrace modernism, using delicate lace and beads.
If you are like me, the “Miao Culture” theme, or more specifically “Butterfly Mother” is not the easiest idea to grasp, as attempting to instantly understand a culture that’s been around for hundreds of years is honestly impossible, and secondly, to understand it well enough to interpret and explain it in your own way which in this case is wearable form takes time. I guess what helped me most in my attempt is the part in which everything in life is noted as “alive” including mountains, rivers, trees, and the rest of traditionally lifeless objects.
What surprised many of Yuna Yang’s fans is her decision to incorporate casual elements into the collection, which is quite a departure from her previous collections, especially Spring/Summer which was predominantly high-end evening dresses featuring French lace possibly reserved for special occasions. While the reaction is understandable and somewhat expected, what is a designer when she’s unable to explore and have fun? Personally, I believe as long as the designer’s signature element remains in the collection and is recognizable, she should have the freedom to reach out and discover new realms… After all, it is a designer’s job to present new ideas, which is only possible by traveling the unknown.
All in all, this was an exotic collection that was unforgettable; it was nothing like anything I’ve seen, including the subsequent ones that happened (Yuna Yang was held on the first day of NYFW). While some of the pieces are not for the fainthearted, there are ones that qualify as daily wear such as the Neoprene hoodies and sweatshirts with lace details and embellishments. If anything, this collection proved that Yuna is where she is because she isn’t afraid to take risks and try different things- but then again, with such impressive background and skill set, she’s allowed to be adventurous. Major respect to those who stay true to themselves and do their thing no matter what- yes, the ones who make the “real” difference in the world.
Learn more about Yuna Yang.
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