Designer Collaboration: Octavia Xiaozi Yang & Taeseok Kang

Later this month Brighton Fashion Week’s Zeitgeist show is introducing an exciting new collaboration showcasing the work of two extremely talented individuals- Taeseok Kang and Octavia Xiaozi Yang. The pair met whilst studying on the ’12 MA Fashion Artefact course at LCF, and decided to unite for your viewing pleasure during Brighton Fashion Week 2012. What a lucky bunch you are! I had a chat with the pair to see what we can expect…

Following her studies in Jewellery Design in Shanghai, Octavia Xiaozi Yang moved to London to complete her MA. Her graduate collection ‘Joinery In Jewels’ takes inspiration from ancient Asian joinery, ‘smart construction’ which doesn’t require glue or nails. Pieces of the collection are interchangeable, easily deconstructed and reassembled in order to extend their service life in an ever-changing industry. Her striking designs rely on the balance of Yin and Yang, and are exquisitely created through the execution of both traditional craft and modern day technologies such as 3-dimensional printing, silversmith and laser cutting.

Octavia’s beautiful creations will grace the catwalk alongside Taeseok Kang’s graduate collection of ‘body bags’- a hybrid exploration between the concepts of androgyny and sexuality in human beings. His bags address the ‘sexual narratives’ of the human body, the notion of ‘sexiness’ from a scale ranging from the most subtle to the blatant. Taeseok’s provocative use of materials such as vegetarian leather and hair creates a humour and surrealism within the collection; which from a distance would appear not too unlike many a high-end fashion accessory. It is this sense of humour within the collection that I enjoy the most- fashion as a whole is a fantastic spectrum of the weird and wonderful, but you don’t often see bags moulded from human breasts…that still appear chic! No I am not kidding.

Beth Humes, Brighton Fashion Week: So you both studied MA Fashion Artefact at LCF. It seems the course is very much focussed on materiality in design. Is this something that influences your creations?

Octavia Xiaozi Yang: MA Fashion Artefact seems to be a free-style course. All the students come from a different background, and there are no borders between any kinds of fashion. We can create any fashion items to define the artefact by our own mind. That character of course makes us create new designs… mixing our own backgrounds with what we are interested in.

BH: Are there any materials in particular that your prefer working with? Or would like to work with more in the future?

Taeseok Kang: I used human and artificial hair and wigs and casting human body parts.

OXY: Based on my background of jewellery, I am good at working with metal. And in my MA course, I focused on 'new' materials, like polyester, perspex, wood, paper and so on. In my mind, material just a media to express design ideas. So I will not be limited by material, just depend on which idea I want to show.

BH: What are you trying to achieve through your designs?

OXY: In this collection, with the refining of Asian elements and the combination of different materials, the aim is to show the thoughts of Yin and Yang that the reverse only exists in balance of relationship to each other. Furthermore, I wanted to show there can be no force between the human beings and environment.

BH: Have you ever collaborated before? For instance when you were at LCF?

OXY: No, but we are good friends.

TK: Not with Octavia, but I collaborated with a MA Menswear student and Nikola Formichetti asked me about collaboration too.

BH: What are you both planning now you have graduated? What can we expect to see from you in the future?

TK: I plan to have own my work and find a job and to have exhibition at trade shows.

OXY: I am planning to run my own brand, and looking for the right people to develop a team.

BH: What can we expect to see from your collaboration at Brighton Fashion Week?

TK: Matching handbag and jewellery pieces.

OXY: No expectation is the best expectation :)

I think Octavia might be being a little humble there…for I have great expectations for this duo. For tickets to see their (bound-to-be-breathtaking) collaboration at the Zeitgeist show on 31st May at All Saints Church, Hove- click here.

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