- 06 APRIL 2023
- MIRA WANDERLUST
- Image by
Siyun Huang’s immersive dimension made by hybrid fashion + wearable technology
Siyun Huang is an interdisciplinary fashion designer, artist and fashion lecturer based in Beijing, China. Graduated with an MA in Fashion Design & Technology (Womenswear) at London College of Fashion and BA at Central Academy of Fine Art. Her research is dedicated to exploring the future of fashion: fashion art, wearable technology, and the sustainable digitalization of fashion to create innovation in the fashion industry, drawing her hybrid avant-garde aesthetic from the symbiotic relationship within the human being, lives, nature, technology and art, the beauty of artificial order and natural spirituality through an aesthetic concept that combines futurism, surrealism, and ecology.
Siyun’s works include wearable kinetic & interactive fashion art, digital couture and responsive textile system design has been showcased in multiple international well-known platforms such as London Fashion Week, International Fashion Art Exhibition, China Fashion Week, Beijing Fashion Weeks, GAMMA Young Artist Competition, etc. She is also a collaborative costume designer with plenty of celebrities such as musicians ADUO, Akini jing, Salt Ashes, Faye Zhan Wenting, and Lily Gatins.
Her fashion concept, siyun huang® Studio has officially been founded in Beijing, China in 2022. The studio operates at the intersection of pioneering fashion, conceptual art, and cutting-edge technology, positioning itself as an interdisciplinary creative and speculative studio. It offers personalized customization services for users, brands, and institutions in the fashion industry and digitalization.
The studio's services cover a wide range of activities, including digital and physical fashion design, mechanical interactive installations, digital art, fashion film, fashion curation, comprehensive research and development, and production.siyun huang® Studio aspires to provide users with the perception and experience of travelling between virtual and real situations while advocating for the diversification and sustainability of the fashion field through its strong interdisciplinary attributes.
To effectively address the structural imbalance and shortcomings of excessive waste in the traditional fashion industry, and enhance the human body and perception, siyun huang® emphasizes its core concept of speculative fashion "∞ WEAR" considering clothing as "WEARABLE ORGANISM" that highlights the ongoing evolution of fashion, which could be “perceptible, morphable, kinetic and iterative". We not only design clothing but also provide possibilities to unknown potentialities, re-question traditional fashion as well as extend its boundary to various dimensions.
siyun huang® is seeking collaborations with more AI labs, AR/VR/XR technology teams, life science labs, digital manufacturers and other advanced technology suppliers in the future.
Hi Siyun, welcome to RED EYE Metazine, share with us a few highlights about your background as a child. When was your first approach to fashion?
I was born in a small city in the southwest of China, which is renowned for its magnificent natural landscape and rich folk culture. This nurturing environment has become an important part that has influenced my views, aesthetics, and character.
I started drawing at the age of four. As I drew, I often wondered, "Why can't this be like this?" or "Why can't that be like that?" Therefore, the skirts that were half black and half white, and pants with one leg long and the other short. When looking back, I find it amusing that I didn't like ordinary items from such an early age.During my teenage years, my father bought the first computer for our family, which was my gateway to interact with the wider world through forums, music, and movies. Perhaps, it was from that time that my interest in fashion started.
Later, I was admitted to the undergraduate program at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, where I began to study fashion systematically. Subsequently, I obtained a master's degree in Fashion Design & Technology Womenswear from the London College of Fashion. Throughout my journey, I have steadfastly focused on my artistic path and maintained my thirst for knowledge and exploratory spirit.
How aware are you of the fact that you are considered to be a cool designer making art pieces as wearable organisms? How do you approach AI through your design?
I am grateful for the appreciation of my work, and I believe that exploring the "future" is an eternal topic regardless of when it is discussed. It can be seen as a broad concept of "fashion," which makes me constantly ponder. In my works "Kinetic Ode to the Underwater Wonderland," "The Underwater Inhabitant," and "Poetics of Freedom," I have raised questions such as: What will the future of fashion look like? How will the body and dressing change in the future? What new connections will humans have with their body and clothing? How will the relationship between humans, nature, and ecology evolve in the future? Can fashion become a new "body" for humans?
This means that I believe clothing is more than just a physical "thing." With the assistance of cutting-edge digital technology, "clothing" and "fashion culture" can extend its form, expand its boundary, and receive new interpretations. On one hand, "perceptible, responsive, and shape-changing" systems are the design principles of my work. With the assistance of current digital technology, fashion is becoming increasingly "intelligent," reshaping the speculative future way of life through body-worn devices. On the other hand, the style of my works explores the beauty of artificial order and natural spirituality, combining non-traditional textile materials such as metal, machinery, and acrylic with natural elements (themes), utilizing algorithms to generate organic forms, which implies the aesthetic concept of "mutual transformation" and "symbiosis" between organic forms and inorganic materials.
I am also actively seeking opportunities to collaborate with advanced technology suppliers, industry-academia-research cooperation, such as artificial intelligence laboratories, AR/VR/XR technology teams, life science laboratories, digital manufacturers, etc., in the pursuit of the future.
Tell us more about your inspiration sources for the Fall-Winter 23/24 collection. Walk us through your design process a little bit. Are there any pieces that are your favorite from this collection?
This season Siyun Huang ® presents two conceptual Kinetic Fashion that are perceptible, responsive and morphable with different forms of movement and shape transformation. The usage of acrylic with an attached layer, and gradient blue organza, created shapes that are reminiscent of marine life, soft of the ocean waves. The cutting of the outfits was carefully crafted to emulate the mesmerizing beauty and lifelike of marine inhabitants. These Kinetic Fashion pieces were presented in a space that simulated the underwater lighting and water, providing the audience with an immersive experience of an underwater wonderland.
Influenced by deep ecology, ecological relationships and cyborg philosophy. Created by observation and understanding towards the ecological crisis nowadays. Using innovative materials and techniques, we create pieces that simulate the fluidity and movement of ocean life and use shape-changing elements in apparel to convey the fluidity and beauty of the underwater world.
These two kinetic fashions are embedded sensors and are able to react to their changing environment. The short outfit constructed by blinking blue acrylic changes its speed of movement as the light increases and decreases. The other cape made by organza shrinks its edge to show pleats when the brainwave is active from the flowing lines of marine lives tentacles to the intricate patterns of ever-changing shapes of the ocean, the currents, every design element has been carefully considered to capture the essence of oceanic life. The designs encourage a deep sense of responsibility towards protecting our oceans and the diverse forms of life they support, embracing the ever-changing shapes of the ocean, the currents, and marine life, capturing the essence of fluidity, balance, and harmony.
The best things are usually created when people follow their own vision rather than just pursuing success or money for its own sake. How challenging is the business part for you as a creative?
Yes, I completely agree. The purpose of some of my works is not intended for commercial conversion, but rather to fulfill functions such as the dissemination of art and culture, visual breakthroughs, and experimental exploration. This is necessary in order to more effectively guide the various stages of design product conversion. However, with the development of Web3.0, a new fashion ecosystem has emerged, which may provide new and better ways for commercial transformation.
How would you define the term “long-lasting” in fashion? How do you face challenges in such a complex industry?
Maintain curiosity (thirst for knowledge) and keep doing exploration.
The essence of the fashion industry is its inherent nature to seek innovation and change. Why do many masterpieces still be considered classics and inspire people even after several decades? Besides perceiving the changes of the times, they also follow their inner choices. This is the core of the sustainable development of the fashion industry - curiosity and exploration.
Different stages have given rise to new ideas and tools that conform to the development and changes of the times. Facing current digital technology and the continuous evolution of virtual forms, "fashion design" has presented richness in different dimensions and depths. Therefore, designers and design methods have long surpassed the mere "making" stage, but rather rely on speculation and innovation based on the background of a great era of innovation. This requires us to have a strong thirst for new knowledge, new techniques, and unknown potentiality while adhering to the original intention of "seeking knowledge," "seeking truth," and "seeking novelty" in a constantly changing environment. At the same time, the pursuit of knowledge should be accompanied by action.
Specifically, as a designer who has received traditional fashion education for both undergraduate and graduate degrees, I believe that fashion should not stop here. I have researched the interdisciplinary thinking and work methods of integrating digital technology and fashion. The experience of the pandemic period has given me more time to face myself. I quickly adjusted my development strategy and immersed myself in the context of digital fashion to explore the future of fashion and wearable ways, while accumulating experience in physical fashion industry practices such as designs, competitions, and exhibitions for small-scale personalized customizations, achieving a linkage between virtual and reality. This curiosity and exploration have allowed me to see more possibilities for the future of fashion.
How do you explore the needs of innovation and revolutionary changes through the fabrics when it comes to be worn by different personalities. What makes you satisfied? What makes you happy? :)
The materials I use in my designs are not limited to traditional textiles, but also include many non-traditional textile materials such as metal, machinery, acrylic, and digital materials. What do you consider innovation to be? I believe innovation and revolution can be ways of solving problems through producing problems. Therefore, I often begin by posing questions such as, "Can it be done another way?" and "What can it become?" However, I do not delve too deeply into what these innovations can do, because we need to be clear that when we constantly think about and find problems, we are already solving problems. Speculative design plays a significant role in my design methodology; it is a design thinking and strategy that reflects on the present and points toward the future.
My works involve the use of virtual and interactive technologies, and thus, the audience, wearer, and creator jointly complete the work across time and space. It is not just the design process that provides room for the designer's thoughts, but also guides our audience to question and evoke spaces of imagination. This is the exciting and satisfying outcome for me.
How should a person feel about wearing your garments? How do you see the future of Web3 related to fashion?
As a fashion designer, I hope that my users and customers have a positive life philosophy and a fashionable attitude, bravely expressing their diversity: combining sensibility with logicality, toughness with soft, and styling futuristic with contemporary. Through this to think about creativity and relationship creation from the surface to the content; innovation of productivity and production methods from reality to virtuality; speculation of life and future lifestyles from tradition to future; and reflection on ecology and ecological relationships from consumption to sustainability.
Web3 will bring remarkable changes to the fashion industry, not only in material, physical, and reality, but also in non-material, multi-dimensional, and even cultural transition. The Z generation growing up in the digital age has a very advanced fashion sensitivity. They are willing to try, explore actively, and eager to share. They maintain curiosity and tolerance towards things, have their own unique perspectives on new things, and prefer and maintain trans-cultural brands. Their personality often comes from the recognition of individual identity. This is a positive and healthy trend.
Web3 has deeply penetrated the growth and life of the Z generation, and they are willing to establish connections with brands in the same way, focusing on quality, core values, and a multidimensional sensory experience that links the spiritual and physical worlds. "Fashion + technology + art" is even more important for the future of fashion.
Tell us more about your studio and how do you provide personalised customisation services? What are your favorite softwares when it comes to creating digital art + fashion?
Siyun Huang Studio provides personalized customization services for users, brands, and institutions in the digital fashion industry. It is an interdisciplinary creative studio that combines avant-garde fashion, conceptual art, and cutting-edge technology. The business covers comprehensive designs such as virtual fashion design, fashion design, mechanical interactive installations, digital art, fashion films, and fashion curation. We use digital technology to provide users with perception and experience that shuttle between virtual and real-life contexts. We advocate for the diversity and sustainable development of the fashion industry through our interdisciplinary attributes. Popular music singer Aduo, Akini Jing(Zhu Jingxi), KOL Lily Gatin, the founder of This Outfit Doesn't Exist Daniella Loftus, and fashion blogger Chen Xingru are among our clients. When creating digial art and fashion, Clo 3D and Blender are preferable.
Is traveling regularly also an important aspect of your creative process?
Indeed, I enjoy traveling, particularly to natural landscapes away from the city. The structure of mountains, the texture of water, the sound of wind, the sensation of ice and snow, and more - natural landscapes provide different perceptions in terms of visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory senses, which inspire my work.
What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on during your career and where?
At the 12th "Dalang Cup" China Women's Wear Design Context , my work "Poetics of Freedom" won the gold award. The concept, style, aesthetics, techniques, and design methods of this work are my favorite so far. This is a series of designs that combines the emerging digital field with China's traditional intangible cultural heritage, re-innovates outstanding traditional culture, makes it sustainable, and produces new interpretations.
"Poetic of Freedom" originates from the "reclusive" culture and philosophy: the Chinese "recluses who do not seek officialdom", the "leisurely seeing the southern mountains" hermit feelings have always been the hearts of literati who abandon fame and fortune, cultivate their minds and personalities, reflecting people's pursuit of their own true personality, which contains contradictions such as choice, gain and loss, and reality and fiction. The work strives to pursue the harmony of yin and yang, the coexistence of emptiness and solidity in the new Chinese-style aesthetic taste of blank space, depth, and atmosphere.
This work showcases typical and unique Eastern culture, which has left behind many precious Chinese paintings, poetries, and stories of famous figures. The work strives to pursue the harmony of yin and yang, the coexistence of emptiness and solidity in the new Chinese-style aesthetic taste of blank space, depth, and atmosphere. It adopts the rectangular cutting silhouette of Chinese style in shape, the yin-yang black and white color in color, the use of plant dye and pure natural organic materials in materials, and the selection of the Chinese classic national painting element "shrimp" and the Chinese people's favorite "gentleman" orchid in patterns.
From the real world to web3.0, from virtual to real, from stillness to motion, from ink to cleanliness... "Poetic of Freedom" has three design innovations: firstly is exploring the small-scale personalized custom workflow from 3D simulation modeling technology to physical fashion. The second is combining China's intangible cultural heritage Miao cloth with comprehensive craftsmanship such as printing and dyeing, and the last one is exploring kinetic fashion with interactive wearable art. The work bridges phygital fashion, technology and humanities, tradition and the future.
Name us a few creatives you would like to collaborate with.
Lady Gaga, Iris Van Herpen, Behnaz Farahi, Skylar Tibbits.
What was the last place that really fascinated you?
The combination of 3D modeling software and artificial intelligence ChatGPT.
A letter to your future self. What would you write?
The hermit lives carefree, hiding away from fame and glory. Only by facing one's true self can one find a place in this world. Pursue the research with single-minded devotion. I have been charging ahead with determination at each step and reflecting on my journey. I hope that in the future, no matter when or where, I can continue to steadfastly walk the path of this way.
Interview by @mirawanderlust