Interview With EFWA Upcycling Designer Jacqueline Zeyi Chen of Zeyi Studio (Guangzhou)

Share about the journey that led you to fashion design.

Since little I always known I wanted to do something with art in the future. My interest in fashion started when I was grade 2 after learning there's such career from tv shows. I was picky with clothes since little and like pick clothes for my mother and sister. I started doing art in grade 8 from painting to sculpture and pottery.

I know you trained at Parsons School of Design. Talk about the highs and lows of studying fashion design. What did you find easy? What was a challenge?

It took me a while to transit my mind set doing pure art to design for people. I think that is a challenge for me. I used to believe that fashion is a form of art me and I would not want my design to be connected with commercial. I always tried to find meaning in design. But now I realized that commercial design doesn't mean it is all for money. A designer is different from artist: designers design products that enhances people's life in addition to creating beautiful collections. And that is what I had most problem with and the trouble of contradicting with myself.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

I used to considered myself as an artist more than a designer. I always try to draw inspiration from odd sensitive subjects in the society or within myself . I like to used fashion as a medium to make a statement and express emotions towards an issue. Now, inaddition to that I make designs that makes the wearer feel comfortable and confident. My asythetic is inbetween avant-garde and RTW. My brand is called Zeyi Studio it is designed for customers who are not afraid to try something different. In the future I also want to design garments that would not restrict body types so much as well . 


I am so thrilled to have you a part of the EFWA Upcycling Challenge by Marilyn R Wilson. Have you ever upcycled used garments before? If so, how?

I have always loved the idea of up cycling but have never done it before I'm very thrilled to have the opportunity to try it out and would definitely incorporate that is my design in the future.
Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect?
I like to draw inspiration from sensitive issues in the society or something personal. I believe that fashion should be more than just being pretty it should also carry out messages to inspire or bring awareness to issues. 

What's next for you as a designer? What are your long term dreams?
I'm currently working as an assistant designer to learn how to run a fashion brand properly. And hopefully in next 5 years I will have even confidence to run my Zeyi Studio full time and officially present my brand to the world.

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