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Christy Shum - Cultural Cuisines

Tablewear created by Christy Shum inspired by Chinese and Western food culture
A bag design created by Christy Shum for her Cultural Cuisines project (BA Textiles) Photo: Christy Shum

Food inspired Christy Shum's textile designs (BA Textiles: Print runner up) - she tells us her story.

"Food is a representation of culture and identity and is an important element of everyday life that connects people..."

Starting with London's Chinatown as my main research location, I had the opportunity to explore my own culture in a foreign environment. The food, the supermarkets, the shops and the people symbolise the merging of western and eastern traditions. Within food and culture, I was particularly interested in food presentation - this included historical Chinese and European tableware which I’ve explored at the V&A, and the modern food plating in the restaurants I’ve visited across London. At the V&A much of the tableware from both cultures included imagery of people which has also inspired me to incorporate statues into my final designs.


"I hoped to explore the concept of future heirlooms by reiterating the importance of food in cultural heritage."

Food bring families together but it can also break cultural barriers to create more diversity allowing us to establish new traditions that will be passed on to the next generation. Through this project, I hoped to explore the concept of future heirlooms by reiterating the importance of food in cultural heritage.

In Chinatown I noticed that lots of grocery shoppers were still using plastic bags which cause a lot of harm to the environment, so I decided to create bag and scarf designs that could be used as alternatives to these. Incorporating Swarovski crystals gave my designs a sense of luxury which, I think, would encourage the shopper to make use of the product for longer, thus reducing waste.

I also designed two types of multipurpose scarf. The square scarf can be transformed into a bag using simple tying techniques and the thin scarf can be used on its own or used to revamp old products giving them a longer life.

Further research

Diagrams demonstrating how to conduct furoshiki wrapping


The Japanese art of wrapping

Image from London's Chinatown website


Discover Christy's inspiration - visit Chinatown

Screenshot from the V&A's ceramics webpage

V&A Ceramics

Find out more about the V&A's collection of ceramics from which Christy drew inspiration