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LCFMA22: MA Womenswear graduate Hong (Hazel) Zhao presents FISHERMAN

Fashion illustrations in bright colours
  • Written byJ Tilley
  • Published date10 February 2022
Fashion illustrations in bright colours
'FISHERMAN' by Hong (Hazel) Zhao from MA Fashion Design and Technology: Womenswear 2022

The #LCFMA22 catwalk, showroom and exhibition, taking place as part of London Fashion Week launches from 17-19 February 2022. The celebration showcases projects of creative excellence and we applaud the passionate dedication of our students who have endeavoured to fashion a better future. We are delighted to hold this celebration in person, reconnecting our family and friends, with fashion and interlinking industries. We’ve taken the best of what we have learnt about digital showcasing during the pandemic, interweaving this with a very human, material experience forming an enduring legacy across our channels.⁠

As we prepare to showcase the incredible work from the graduating class of 2022, we caught up with the graduates to find out more about their research, collections and hopes for the future. Next we chat to Hong Zhao (Hazel), an MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear graduate. Hazel is known for being crowned winner of the BFC x YOOX Net a Porter Competition with her focus on making faux-fur fashionable. We caught up with her to see how her research has progressed and find out more about her final collection, FISHERMAN.

You recently won the BFC x YOOX Net a Porter Competition with your innovative approach to making faux-fur fashionable. Is your graduate collection an extension of this?

I used the same textiles and delved deeper into the concept. For the BFC x YOOX Net a Porter Competition I focused on me and my Mother’s relationship, but for my master project , I have moved the focus onto the working class in southern China - particularly fisherman. I grew up in a harbour city, so I wanted to talk about my childhood without it being too personal.

Fashion illustrations in bright colours
FISHERMAN by Hong (Hazel) Zhao from MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear 2022
We understand that the colours you have used for this graduate collection are very colourful and vibrant – can you tell us why you decided to use colour to express your findings?

I choose the colours based on my emotions when I think about the fishermen and my childhood. There is no specific reason as to why I chose those particular colours – I guess it was just instinct. I just wanted something vivid and playful that can bring me a vibe of the Chinese harbour. I guess by growing up in an environment surrounded by vibrant colour and ‘Kitsch’ decoration design, my colour aesthetic was influenced subconsciously.

Can you tell us exactly which techniques or research you have used and how you went about it?

For the textiles I have focused on faux fur. I used a ‘Mile-Feuille’ technique which is the faux-fur technique, combined with a sublimation print to add vivid colour. I used this faux fur fabric to make the tailoring jacket and jumper. For the lamination fabric, I sandwiched the real fishnet between polyester and chiffon to create the texture. Sublimation print on this fabric will give a faded effect which will emphasize the fishnet shape. Lastly, the sublimation print on crinkle organza can create a water-like effect.

What particular challenges have you faced  during the production of your final showcase and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge was the shipping. I did the fabric lamination in China but because of Covid-19 it was quite hard to produce and ship. I had to have a backup plan to find another fabric and another lamination factory just in case it didn’t arrive on time.

Do you have any particular highlights from your time on the course?

Before I used the final fabric to make the garments, I couldn’t quite imagine how it would look in the end. But after the first panel crit, with the incredible technician and stylists’ help, it started to become a solid collection.

What are your hopes and plans for life after graduation?

I plan to work for a clothing brand that will really allow me to focus on craftmanship and colour or textiles.

Fashion illustrations in bright colours
FISHERMAN by Hong (Hazel) Zhao from MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear 2022