In an interview with OurCulture, New York fashion designer, Tianqi Chen discusses her latest collection involving drawstring and Macrame.

When asked to explain the concept of The Woman Warrior, Chen said, "Sure! I was inspired by the anxiety around body images that many people might have experienced. By creating these pieces, I want to bring awareness to women who are going through or have been through the path of relief-finding, to rebuild their confidence and challenge body ideals and gender norms. I believe women have strong power to fight their emotional struggles."

When asked why she chose to work particularly with drawstring and macrame for this collection, Chen said, "I think the processing of Macrame is a conversation with the audience and employing hard and soft materials of the drawstring is the best to represent  the coexistence between vulnerability and strength. The intertwined lines form triangles and rhombi, which symbolize the firmness and resistance behind the seeming gentleness of women."



When asked if she used Macrame in her previous design, Chen said, "No. I did not realize that I’m the kind of designer who works with my hands until the pandemic. Without a ‘traditional’ studio setting, I had to rethink my design and production approach. Knotting directly onto bodies was simply a solution for not having a sewing machine and pattern table at the beginning. But during this process, I developed a new way of seeing and storytelling. As my eyes travelled with the cording, my hands knotted them together with the histories and entanglements from different individual encounters in mind."

Chen was asked to define her design style, to which she said, "I always use the functionality of drawstring to create a transformational system that allows audiences to alter not only the fit but the appearance of garments. My design can be worn by different ages, sizes, heights, and genders."

Were there any remarkable moments for you when designing The Woman Warrior?
Chen was also asked if there were any special moments when she designed The Woman Warrior, to which she said, "Of course! Maybe you guys can’t believe all cording materials used in this collection were dead stock donations because it was very hard to find a factory to produce and model to fit during Covid-19 quarantine. I used natural dye to modify the shade of materials and was inspired to hand knot all looks directly onto bodies to reduce waste. All cording could be disassembled to recreate new pieces."

Information originally sourced from OurCulture.

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