The London College of Fashion graduate Vera I.J. Lee’s Fragments of Matter delves into the gentrification in Taipei, as Lee explores how places are containers for culture while whole communities make space for new places. Combining modern-day pattern cutting shapes and textures with post-war architecture, her graduate collection draw attention to the grave societal issue while adding a healthy dose of humour to it with her quirky designs. We had the pleasure of speaking with the December Global Young Talent about culture, her unique approach and the what the future holds in light of her feature in the December issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
1. What does the name of your collection Fragments of Matter refer to, is there a specific message behind the name?
Fragments of Matter is about urbanisation and gentrification in hometown, Taipei, Taiwan. Historically colonised, Taipei is perfect example of multi-cultural development, which could be considered as aesthetically unpleasant. Human nature and the study of language gives us the ability to define style, however, it is uncertainty that challenges structure. While growing up, I experience the Industrial Revolution of Taiwan, the city developed so fast that significant traces of the past can now barely be found. My work aims to make people appreciate the ‘messiness’ and celebrate the existence of a generation before it is replaced by modernity.
"While growing up, I experience the Industrial Revolution of Taiwan, the city developed so fast that significant traces of the past can now barely be found."
2. What was your main source of inspiration when designing this collection?
Since my message could be quite abstract, I defined physical objects from the street of Taipei that are critical fragments to the idea of ‘colonial Taiwan’. I targeted the Datong District and Wanhua District, as these are both my hometown and a leading developing city. I extract objects that carry history, which include a plastic chair, the texture of sheet metal construction, vendor canopies and plastic bags.
3. Your collection is strongly influenced by culture, how is this translated in your final designs?
Due to the special history of Taiwan, it has a very unique culture they have adopted from different other cultures throughout the years. The same idea an be fed into a smaller scope. There are people who don’t feel as alive, their existence is on the contrary very valid. I am here to draw attention to their existence, their stories and to acknowledge their creations and culture.
"I extract objects that carry history, which include a plastic chair, the texture of sheet metal construction, vendor canopies and plastic bags"
4. What is your favourite piece from your collection and why?
My favourite piece is the Chairsnstuff Scarf from the pre-collection part of Fragments of Matter. It was created without being tied up by the construction of clothes. In other words, I see the piece as the most original one. It represents my rebellion against society.
5. What will you take forward from this collection onto your future designs?
For me most valuable was the process of making this collection. I expect myself to devote the same effort towards future concepts and inspirations. Finding my creative language with which I hope to grant myself the ability to further influence others.
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