Zhihong Fu is the Parsons School of Design alumna who aims to represent the confident, independent, modern woman through her designs. In light of her most recent feature as part of our Global Young Talent in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, we had the pleasure of speaking to the Global Young Talent 2020 about how she used a religious symbol as a print and how her main inspiration- love can be romantic and brutal at the same time.
1. You’re originally from China, yet moved to New York to study fashion design and creative entrepreneurship, what informed this decision and how has your background influenced your work?
I found my interest in fashion and crafts when I was little. I felt lucky that my parents allowed me to explore my interest and supported me to study fashion design in one of the best fashion schools in the world. I minored in creative entrepreneurship because I believed business is the foundation of the fashion industry. My work always involves a lot of emotions because I am a sensitive person and like to express my feelings through art.
"I felt lucky that my parents allowed me to explore my interest and supported me to study fashion design in one of the best fashion schools in the world."
2. You’ve raked up quite the experience working for film and creating costumes, what lead you to opt for a costume design, how was this experience and what skills are transferrable into your brand?
My friends who studied film invited me to do some costume designs for their projects. I realized that I liked films and costumes more than I had thought. The process of costume design was quite different from that of fashion design. Costume design aims to build the characters and it has to revolve around the story and plot, whereas designing my own collection is all about expressing myself.
3. Your collection is inspired by romance, love stories to be specific, why did you decide to work around this topic and how did this translate in your work?
I read and watch a lot of romantic books and movies. It is also part of my natural instinct to capture the feelings and details in romantic relationships. Love can be romantic, but it can also be brutal. As my inspiration, love can give me many different ideas. So, I used it as the topic for my collection and designed a “love cycle” based on some emotions we might have in a romantic relationship.
"It is also part of my natural instinct to capture the feelings and details in romantic relationships."
4. You apply high level of craftsmanship to your design, giving shape to a modern mandala, would you care to explain a bit more about your working process and the skills showcased in your work?
My family believes in Buddhism, so mandala, the religious symbol for meditation, attracted me at the beginning. Later, I saw some of David Bookbinder’s modern flower mandalas and suddenly fell in love with this modern twist of this traditional symbol. Thus, I designed my own versions of flower mandalas and transformed them into prints for my collection. I am really happy about the outcome on silk organza. Although organza may not be the easiest fabric to work with, the translucency and fluidity of it work well on my thesis project.
5. What future plans do you have for yourself and your brand?
2020 is a difficult year for the fashion industry. Rather than launching my brand this year, I will enrol into a master’s program in marketing and prepare myself for future opportunities. During this unusual “break” caused by the pandemic, I think it is a great chance to study more and make a thoughtful blueprint.
"My family believes in Buddhism, so mandala, the religious symbol for meditation, attracted me at the beginning."
Discover Zhihong Fu's full collection
Words by Reka Dala