INTERVIEW: BING. and THE POWER OF SOFTNESS

Bingjin Zhu is a graduate of F.I.T’s MFA Fashion program. During childhood, Zhu witnessed her dad, a dexterous wood sculptor, building traditional Chinese fictional characters and telling their stories through carving and painting wood while embracing their Chinese roots. Inspired by him, she grew up to be a storyteller of her own. As a designer, she starts her collections from a storytelling perspective, using unique coloring schemes and sculpturing of fabrics to reach her audience visually and emotionally.

SOFT SCULPTURE COLLECTION

To honor her mother, and the power of softness that she stood for, Bing selected jersey and horsehair canvas as the main textiles used in this collection. Softness, and closeness to wearers that jersey creates is supported by horsehair canvas which brings structure, support and function to the tailoring of the clothes, resonating with the theme of this collection. Inspired by her father, Bing focused on the idea of interaction and interchangeability between 2D and 3D formats. As a fashion designer, Bing sees her designs in the format of 3D sculpture, as wearing of the 2D clothing pieces serves as the most natural 3D transformation process.

In order to emphasize this idea, Bing used 8 large pieces of horsehair canvas to set the foundation of structure for her clothing, then layered on with draping on model’s body. Bing then chose jersey as her fabrics, as the softness of jersey could handle heavy duty horsehair canvas, demonstrating the power of jersey, the power of softness.

How and why you wanted to be a fashion designer?

I started off my journey in fashion as a pattern maker. As a pattern maker I learned to build a photographic memory and a visual way of picturing the world. One day I was sewing a jacket, I tried to change the shape and color of the pockets and collar. But it turned out really bad. That was the moment when I realized how important composition was, and I should not only know how to make clothes but also know how to make clothes beautiful while functional. 

 

 

What makes you different from other designers?

I wouldn’t say what makes me different from other designers, I believe everyone is unique and everyone is can be a designer at heart, as people design their houses, pick clothes they like and design who they are and how they want to live. I design for a specific group of people, I call them LADIES, it doesn’t mean from a gender perspective, I believe they are the kind of people who believe in soft power. My job is to let them know they are special, I met so many ladies in my life, they are vulnerable but powerful, they work hard, believe in themselves, and are very calm. I really want to portrait, dress up this kind of people.

I believe the brand BING is a special brand, we are inspired by LADIES, work with ladies, design for ladies, and donate to ladies. Part of our profits will be donated to the womankind. It is an organization for empowering women, and we would happy to be part of this organization to show our respect to our muses, customers, and our team.

 

 

What do you bring to the world of fashion?

I hope I can bring the spirit of calmness to the world of fashion. The world is in crisis, people are scared, anxious, and vulnerable. I think it is really important for us to go back to the exercise of learning how to be calm and believe in ourselves, no matter what kind of jobs we are doing, which positions we are. As a brand, we celebrate the power of softness, the power of calmness, and we hope our belief can make people feel better.

How is your aesthetic evolving?

My dad is a wood sculptor, we have a lot of woods in our house, light brown, walnut, dark brown, beige, etc. I think living with wood sculptures influences my aesthetic, and that’s how my family’s artworks influencing my artworks. Such as this collection, the colors are really natural and greyscale.

 

 

Discuss your latest works and the inspiration behind them.

My latest work is called soft sculpture. The inspiration for this collection is from my family. Inspired by my dad, as I mentioned, he is a wood sculptor, I was interested in the idea of interaction and interchangeability between 2D and 3D formats. As a fashion designer, I see my designs in the format of 3D sculpture, as wearing of the 2D cloth­ing pieces serves as the most natural 2D-to-3D transformation process.

My mom is a typical Chinese lady, she dedicated herself to the family and my dad’s career. In my memory, my mom would always smile and calm me down whenever I am upset or impatient. But behind the softness there has always been power- Mom was the one who held the whole family together, through ups and downs. When building this collection, I was honoring her soft, yet powerful mom, her power of softness.

In order to Horner my mom, and the power of softness that she stood for, I selected jersey and horsehair canvas as the main textiles used in this collection. The softness and closeness to wearers that jersey creates are supported by horsehair canvas which brings structure, support, and function to the tailoring of the clothes, resonating with the theme of this collection. Therefore, I used 8 large pieces of horsehair canvas to set the foundation of structure for the clothing, then layered on with draping on the model’s body. I chose jersey as my fabrics, as the softness of jersey could handle heavy-duty horsehair canvas, demonstrating the power of jersey, the power of softness.

 

CFDA / FASHION FUTURE GRADUATE SHOWCASE

https://cfda.com/programs/designers/fashion-future-graduate-showcase/future-graduate/bingjin-zhu

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