The Fashion Graduate Diplomas: Ree Liu
There are several advantage for people who do not have perfect vision: they can experience and see a world in which blemishes are blurred away; where harsh streetlights become soft and atmospheric, and where the physical awareness of one’s surroundings is enforced. This goes for those wearing either glasses or contact lenses; those who have the choice to switch off from ‘reality’ when they please. But, imagine what would it be like to have the actual cornea of your eye lifted off? It may sound like a Jessica Alba in The Eye moment that borders on the extreme, however, Graduate Diploma in Fashion student Ree Liu experienced it and based her final collection on what she see (or didn’t see).
Can you point out one good and one bad memory of this year spent at CSM?
The best thing is that I have been able to work with and learn from many talented teachers and students! A bad memory is that I was ashamed to go and face David [Kappo] whenever I did a bad job.
What was the main inspiration for your collection?
My inspiration came from an eye operation I did one year ago. When my cornea was lifted from eyes, I found out that I was seeing a different world. After the operation, I became blind for a day and a night, and relied on ears and hands to feel the world. My retina became a huge network, and shaped my world with red and blue things. The Blue was the quiet me, that kept on talking to people; and the Red was the passionate me, singing loudly inside my body. I tried to draw both — one is big, simple, soft and blue, the other is small, complex, hard and red. So I did this collection to show my fantasy dream.
Did your way of working change in the past year?
Yes. I used to pay more attention to cutting before this course. For this collection, I started from an illusion instead. At the beginning I chose many textile materials to express my illusion. However, during the making process, I found out it was impossible to find the perfect balance between so many different fabrics and cutting, so I just focused on developing one in different ways, which made my collection better.
What makes your work stand out?
A humorous attitude to life, using contrasting colors, attention to detail and cutting.
What’s your favorite part of the designing process?
Good ideas always come to the surface during the process of designing. I made a pair of awful trousers at the beginning and was very upset. Then I asked myself: why don’t I try it again with an other fabric, or try an other way to recombine and reconfigure it to develop a new design? Finally, I used a new soft fabric cloth and redid the trousers, which now look much better than the old toile pair. I guess design is about never knowing what you can do until you try, and never give up.
Words and photography by Carolina Molossi