LCFMA22: Syuan Jhen Lin's approach to reusable bridal wear
Our #LCFMA22 celebrations launched in February with an inaugural catwalk, showroom and exhibition at London Fashion Week. These events highlighted the inspiring projects created by London College of Fashion’s postgraduate students.
Continuing our series of interviews, we caught up with MA Pattern and Garment Technology graduate Syuan Jhen Lin, whose bridal-wear collection explores the possibilities of using pattern cutting to design garments with sustainability and longevity in mind.
Tell us a bit about your project – what themes are you exploring?
In this project, I explored innovative pattern cutting methods on conventional white wedding dresses, aiming to make them reusable after the wedding day. Ultimately, the outcomes are modular and transformable wedding dresses that adhere not only to bridal aesthetics but also to increased sustainability requirements, by extending the products' life and memories with the consumers.
The development was inspired by the drapes created by cutting out geometric shapes on the patterns and fabrics. The detachable skirt was made with a folding oval shape with pleats to create volume so that the curved line can fit with the waist. When it transforms into a coat, the curved line will be covered by the collar, and the bow at the back will become the sleeves of the coat.
The second outcome was inspired by the triangle shapes which form a dart. By combining the darts of the mermaid skirt and the dress top, the garment can be reversible, and the mermaid skirt can be transformed into a dress for other occasions.
What inspires your work?
Since I have three years of experience as a designer assistant, I think the waste of wedding dress production has been overlooked. Also, in the post-Covid-19 generation, it is a good time to rethink how we can interpret and design clothing that is more durable, practical and sustainable rather than making a ‘wear-for-a-minute’ product. Therefore, I took traditional wedding dress patterns as an inspiration and starting point, experimenting with how I can extend its life and also adhere to its sacred, neutral aesthetic.
What also inspired me was the book “Creating with Shapes” by Usha Doshi. The book demonstrates how we can drape fabrics from cutting, folding and sewing with various geometric shapes.
Who is your biggest influence?
Charles James, because he applied innovative shapes to create unconventional forms, patterns and construction which were all ‘of-its-time' and yet evoked the future of fashion.
What challenges did you face during the making of your final collection, and how did you overcome them?
The challenge was applying innovative methods while adhering to its sacred, neutral aesthetic. In the development process, the most important thing was figuring out how to amend the geometric shape with the traditional patterns, to fit comfortably with the body. Furthermore, it was vital to test the geometric shapes with different fabrics and fusing before the final decision. My ways of overcoming these were organizing a plan, thinking about what I should experiment with first, taking note of each result and making samples.
Is there any piece of advice or insight from the course that stuck out to you?
Our course was mostly remote teaching during the lockdown, which was very tough but we could still ask questions through online technical support. The course gave us the flexibility to explore what we want to do. We could explore patterns manually or digitally.
What excites you the most about the fashion industry?
To me, the fashion industry could be described: “the only thing that never changes is that everything changes.” There is always something new which really excites me and encourages me to never stop learning.
What are your hopes and plans for life after graduation?
I think with multidisciplinary skills from my master’s course and experience in the wedding dress industry as mentioned, I’m ready to accept a new challenge in the industry again.