Global Fashion Collective NYFW SS24 - Interview with designer Charlotte Shao of SISIO (US)

Please share a bit about your journey to embrace fashion design as a career.

My father has been involved in the silk business since I was young, exposing me to various types of fabrics. This upbringing has given me a keen understanding of color coordination, fabric textures, and tactile sensations. During my childhood, I didn't particularly like the clothes my mother bought for me. Back in that era, fashion wasn't a significant focus for most people in China. However, I spent each day envisioning outfits that resonated with my personal style.

I yearned for the day when I could don clothes of my own design, and that's when I truly discovered my passion. At the age of 14, I pursued my studies at the Interlochen Arts Academy in the United States. Subsequently, I earned admission to Central Saint Martins in the UK, where rigorous training pushed me to repeatedly surpass my own limitations.

Clothing design has not only brought a sense of achievement but also provided me with spiritual fulfillment. I genuinely adore this profession.

How did you learn your skills?

I've been self-taught, consistently believing that fashion design is a natural gift. While teachers in school can instruct you in technical skills like sewing and pattern-making, they can't teach you how to truly design. I've learned design through my life experiences, channeling my beliefs, culture, and observations of society, as well as reflections on human nature, into my clothing designs.

I haven't stopped researching and have continuously endeavored to experiment with new fabrics and materials. I've persevered as a one-person fashion brand for five years, constantly drawing lessons from my past experiences and consistently progressing. I've remained in a state of continuous improvement.

Who are you as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand?

As a designer, I am a creative individual who brings a unique blend of my personal aesthetic, cultural influences, and observations of society into my work. My designs are a reflection of my deep-rooted beliefs and thoughts on human nature. I strive to create clothing that not only looks visually appealing but also tells a story, evokes emotions, and connects with people on a deeper level.

I've studied Buddhism and Japanese culture, aiming to blend Eastern charm and Buddhist calmness into a fresh style for the West. My art brings together these cultures, creating a new expression that's both beautiful and peaceful. This needs good design skills and cultural understanding. I want to connect cultures and show Eastern beauty through my designs, inspiring people worldwide with a mix of tradition and innovation.

What comes easiest for you as a designer? What is hardest?

As a designer, the simplest task for me is creating design sketches. I just need to translate the designs in my mind onto paper. The most challenging aspect, however, is managing the responsibilities of an entire team on my own. This involves brand management, negotiations with various individuals, orchestrating every photoshoot, and contemplating the styling for all modelsWhere do you find inspiration for new collections? How important is colour to your design process?

The inspiration for my new collection comes from my dreams, and I believe that my dreams and the religion I follow serve as bridges to another world. Personally, I am not fond of overly vibrant colors. The primary color palette of my collection is based on wabi-sabi tones, as earthy colors always evoke a sense of gentle and natural beauty for me. In this new collection, I have incorporated various shades of blue, which has always been my favorite color. This preference is also intertwined with my belief system, as I have a deficiency in the element of water according to my spiritual beliefs, necessitating the abundant use of blue hues to achieve balance.

Readers would love to hear about the collection you will be showing on the runway at New York Fashion Week SS24 in September? Inspiration, fabrics, pallette, etc.?

As mentioned above, my inspiration derives from my dreams and the enlightenment brought by my adherence to Buddhism. I frequently dream of myself as a Japanese individual, conversing fluently in Japanese within these dreams. I even dream of Japanese deities safeguarding me. This is why I've always held a profound sentiment for Japan, which led me to incorporate numerous elements from Japanese traditional culture into my new collection. For the fabrics, I've chosen authentic Japanese silk and employed traditional Japanese embroidery techniques.

Do you have a favorite look in this collection?

I love all my designs!

Where can readers purchase your designs?

As I am currently a university student at Parsons, I don't have the enough time to fully engage in commercial endeavors. At the moment, I exclusively focus on haute couture and offer personalized creations. Those who want to buy my designs can make appointments for custom orders through my website.

Global Fashion Collective - Runway show 
March 3, 2023 @ PFW x GFC 

What's next for you as a designer and your brand?

I need to assemble my own team and gradually embark on the development of commercial designs. I will also persist in maintaining my current style and design language. My goal is to use my designs to empower people and elevate their spirits.

In closing is there anything else you'd like to share with readers?

God and reincarnation do indeed exist.


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SISIO will be presenting their latest collection in the Global Fashion Collective show at NYFW SS24 on Sept. 11, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. This show is by invitation only. Please contact Global Fashion Collective for more information at