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MA Womenswear student Hong Zhao wins BFC x YOOX Net-A-Porter competition

Sketchbook work of thick woolen fabrics
  • Written byJ Tilley
  • Published date 14 December 2020
Sketchbook work of thick woolen fabrics
Hong Zhao MA Womenswear 2021

MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear student, Hong Zhao, has been crowned winner of the British Fashion Council x YOOX Net-A-Porter 'The Runway Collection' competition 2020. After being encouraged to apply by her course leader for her innovative commitment to anti-fur in the fashion industry, Hong chats to us about her winning project.

Congratulations on this amazing achievement! How did this come about?

My course leader, Nabil, sent me the email about the competition while I was working on my project, which created a new faux fur fabric. Also, I have a collaboration project with ACTAsia fur-free project, which I do lots of research about GenZ and the fur market.. With Nabil's encouragement, it came naturally for me to want to apply for a project such as this.

What was your winning idea?

I organised my research around GenZ and the faux fur market, fashion houses going fur-free in their ranges and collections, which in turn opens the gates for synthetic faux fur options to increase market use. For a huge amount of people, the faux fur is cheap and not fashionable. Whilst this alleviates concerns around animal safety and ethical issues, the production, use and end of life of synthetic faux fur products often have considerable negative environmental impacts. Fur as fashion elements and as garment archetypes have its own customer. In my opinion, its because of its symbol of fanciness and wealth. Faux fur was widely used to present this fancy atmosphere.

For a designer to use faux fur in an interesting and crafty way is a good start to make the faux fur desirable. By introducing craftsmanship as a way to make the faux fur fashionable, which in turn is appealing to Gen Z and considering how they would want to wear faux fur in a contemporary manner.

Tell us about your work – what does it represent? What story are you telling?

Because the faux fur is cheap and easy to have, introducing craftsmanship will increase the value of fabric itself and will be a way to approach the goal that to make the faux fur fashionable. I created a technique for creating fur effect called mille-feuille.

Inspired by the traditional lion dance and my Mum's old photos in which she is wearing a fur garment, I layered the organza and pulled the thread out of it to make it fuzzy on edge to create the fake fur. I presented different cliché elements such as dragon and fur, which opulent tacky by using the mille-feuille technique, which the craftmanship will make it desirable. By changing the layer of organza can easily adjust the thickness of the fabric. It can be used to make a reversible garment, increasing the potential of styling while adding value because of the craftsmanship. By changing the stitching line, it can also create different silhouette though the strength of organza

What are your plans for 2021?

Prepare for my year 2 of MA Womenswear at LCF and begin working on my graduate collection.

How have you found studying a practical course throughout 2020?

I've learnt valuable experience in solving problems and have learnt how to express my world into design and make it contemporary.

What would your advice be for anyone joining MA Womenswear at LCF?

Be prepared and work hard.