Ningyao Zhang combines traditional Chinese culture with modern fashion design to create her pieces. Having a strong interest in historic Chinese painting and calligraphy helped her create her graduate collection.

Before coming to London to study, Zhang was very interested in Chinese culture but found that it could be quite limited when it came to evolving her personal style and developing an understanding of fashion. However, when she started her overseas university life this all started to change.

Zhang began to discover a variety of different cultures within the capital through attending events and meeting new people. This helped her to grow and enhance both her ideas and skills, which in turn helped her create a collection built around her own experiences and filled with a variety of cultures.

While attending an exhibition in Shanghai, Zhang, discovered an artist named Liu Hongyuan, whose artwork connects fashion with traditional Chinese opera. She decided to use his art work as a starting point for her collection as he would also entwine Chinese culture with modern fashion. The floral prints in Liu’s work inspired Zhang to develop her prints using a similar aesthetic.

While interning, Zhang, learnt a range of useful techniques such as how to operate the prints machine, how to colour the floral patterns while drawing and the medium of drawing patterns. This is where she discovered that print design is her strongest skill and was one that she would continue to enhance and develop.