Fang Ye

In 2012, Chinese designer Fang Ye graduated from the School of Innovation Design in Guangzhou—the same city that continues to drive her daily practice. Finding inspiration in the streets and markets of her hometown, Fang Ye combines elements from contemporary life with traditional artefacts of ancient China, in the process ascribing new meaning and function to materials that seem insignificant to most. Many of Fang Ye’s recent works use hairpins or cable ties to construct dresses and handbags, as well as furniture. The resulting textures are perhaps best described as an intricate human take on bird feathers. Her work—which blurs the lines between fashion, art and design—has been featured in exhibitions in Beijing, Nanjin and Shanghai.

In line with her individual projects and continuing a preoccupation that can be traced back to her studies, Fang Ye’s commissioned work for “The Future of Fashion is Now” began with unusual building blocks combined with an ancient symbol: “In ancient China, everyone wore a robe,” she explains. That “everyone” included the emperor, who wore his as a statement of supreme power. Bringing together the traditionally male garment and conventionally female hairpin, Fang Ye’s “dragon robe” is a visually and materially rich celebration of China’s past that simultaneously contains a feminist statement that is all about the present.