While studying a language course at the UAL in London, Xiang received an offer from Parsons in New York to study the MFA in Fashion Design and Society under the tutelage of Shelley Fox. The freedom of the course initially attracted Xiang, who had a keen interest in the drawing and filmmaking aspects of the curriculum, which are taught to the students alongside the main principle fashion design. Xiang’s decision to accept the offer was made slightly on a whim, and not quite knowing what was lying in the wait for her, she delved into New York City life with an open mind. With so many cultures converging in one place – anything can happen.
The city’s many galleries were source point of inspiration for Xiang’s thesis collection, for which she looked at various artists such as David Hockney, Matisse and Edward Hopper, alongside her own life experiences. A long time ago she learned how to draw, and with this education, she naturally adopted a preference for approaching design in a 2D manner. Thus translating her ideas into a 3D practise within fashion design was one of Xiang’s challenges on the master’s degree. Xiang reminisces how her drawing teacher used to advise her to draw shadows in order to make things look more 3D on paper, and took this as a starting point for her collection. Thinking about garment volumes, she brought together various basic white clothes to assemble “very common daily looks” and investigate how shadow is created on these surfaces. Through the process, she discovered that “the collar makes shadow, layers make shadow, the body makes shadow…” The main conclusion drawn, was that the shadow’s shape can act as an instant recognition point of a garment.