As a sense of culture and heritage begins to pervade wider luxury goods, companies such as Ms MIN, one of China’s most respected independent luxury design houses, are rejecting Western fashion calendars entirely.
Min Liu, the womenswear designer and creative director behind Ms MIN, hails from the mountainous and coastal Fujian province. Drawing on Chinese culture inspired her decision in December 2020 to dismiss prevailing Western fashion seasons, where collections are organised neatly into spring/summer and autumn/winter, to instead create collections in line with the 24 Chinese Solar Terms.
Liu translates eight terms that indicate a season’s transition into eight capsule wardrobes for her Chinese clients. ‘What the fashion system had done is to take this natural pattern of seasons and turn it into a business cycle or a model, where our concept of time is now defined by the meaning attached to it by others,’ she explains. In response, Liu is elevating the Chinese context of time through her garments, while paying attention to the weights of fabrics chosen in response to the necessity of the solar term. Further, Liu draws on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practices when it comes to garment colour choices. Green silk satin dresses are introduced in high summer for the colour’s cooling effect on the body, while fiery reds are presented in winter collections for their heating benefits.
While Liu’s applications are more subtle, menswear designer Xander Zhou chooses more overt displays of what he calls his ‘wanderings on the boundary between science and Eastern philosophy’.
His latest spring/summer 2021 collection, conceived during the height of the pandemic, features needle-bejewelled knitwear and bomber jackets with patterned formations that reference the acupuncture points from TCM – a symbolic nod to the human body system and the Taoist understanding of its connection to the earth, heavens and nature.
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