“LOVE” a topic that has been heatedly dissected and debated and has become a never-ending source of enquiry, a subjective emotion that has been time again in pop-culture, sociology, psychology… As Plato and Socrates saw it, love was a mental disease, echoed by Haddaway’s infamously catchy song, ‘What is Love? Baby don’t hurt me’.
Yu Ching Shen, a Taiwanese designer, also reflects these realistic sentiments. During her studies at Kingston University for her Fashion MA course, she focussed heavily on textiles research, namely the concept of communicating emotions through textiles. Choosing the emotive ‘love’, Yu-Ching uses different textiles to exemplify her definition of what love is.
Taking a pragmatic stance, Yu Ching imparts her interpretation of love, “Love is a strong feeling of affection, attachment, obsession and attraction to others. There are two sides of love. One side is romantic, comfortable and ‘pinky’ love that we are familiar with and the other side is the shadowy part of love that is twisted, dark and anxious”. It isn’t as dark as the Greek philosophers defined nor is it as lovey-dovey as Savage Garden used to sing about; it’s both.
To show this moving dynamic between the yin and the yang, Yu Ching uses black and incomplete textures to show the negative emotions whilst creating wooly textures using knitting and weaving techniques in the colours pink and red to show the positive emotions felt in the process of love.
Large chunky knits are roughly sewn to finer knits to create a whole garment, while other pieces feature rivers of red and black intertwining the fabric. A few pieces feature gaping holes, the gradual erosion or perhaps the unfinished effort to gradually piece things together whilst some ended in eruptions of dense pink and red threads - the good gooey stuff of love.