NEW YORK — Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has come to a close and now we eagerly await the spring 2014 trends that were introduced during the sartorial event. What makes me most excited about the week-long fashion extravaganza is the new and emerging designers whose collections grace the catwalk for the first time. Academy of Art University is one such show where you can see master program students present their debut collections to an audience of fashion insiders, Hollywood glitterati, and international socialites.
This season one particular collection caught my eye from M.F.A. Fashion Design graduate Nika Tang. Tang was born in Guangzhou, China but grew up in Berkley near San Francisco, California. In an era where figure-hugging frocks and skin-tight fashions are the norm, its refreshing to see a collection with so much volume, depth, and shape. The looks are almost ethereal and airy with oversized tiers of ruffles and web-like macramé. I recently caught up with Tang for an e-interview about her new collection and design inspiration.
When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
I started looking and making garments as a hobby. I curated and created my first fashion show in 2008 with my first collection of 14 looks and 1000 people in attendance but I did not know at that time what fashion meant other than a self expression. In 2009, when I went to Brussels, Belgium and looked at my first real fashion show at La Cambre Arts Visuels, I realized the high caliber that fashion can take you and I wanted to become a true fashion designer. At that time in Belgium, I made one crochet top, one weaved jacket, and one 3-dimensional skirt in less than one month; each of a distinct concept and technical capacity that still take my breath away.
How long did it take to create this collection?
This collection took nine months to come into being with the initial three months testing collection ideas, fabric and yarn sourcing.
Which type of fabrics did you use for the collection?
After much editing, the final fabrics were neoprene and sueded silk.
Have you been inspired by the works of other designers?
I have always be in love with Riccardo Tisci's haute couture creations. I love the humor and unconstricted expression of Commes des Garçons as well as the methodology and social message of Maison Martin Margiela. I have been fortunate to study briefly with Anthony Vaccarello and some new designers such as Lea Peckre and Zoe Vermeire all of whom have graduated from La Cambre. They gave me a different perspective on what is the "body" and how to create volume, shape, and negative/positive space.
What is you favorite piece from the collection and why?
My favorite piece has actually been cut from the final lineup. It is a beautiful pink macramé full body piece that looks like it has been carved out of marble. It breathes life and dedication because it probably took at least 80 hours to create. I intend to create its two mate pieces that can be added so I can re-introduce it back into the lineup.
The Chic Spy
(Illustration courtesy of Nika Tang. Photo credits: AAU/Randy Brooke)