He decided to channel that blur into materiality development. He started collaging together various second-hand garments – ties, sportswear, floral-printed dresses – contorting delicate fabrics into baroque spirals with boning. He tried pleating fabric and carefully fanning it out into a new shape. He sampled with topstitching multiple layers of fabric and slicing through the top one to reveal glimpses of those beneath. All these techniques are represented in the final collection, and not just decoratively. “Four or five looks are all shaped by pleating,” he said, such as his “twisted dress shirt” which incorporates an asymmetrical swath of pleating into the pattern-cutting.
“Describing himself as a ‘self-driven designer’, Han prefers to try out ideas on himself rather than rely on a model.”
Describing himself as a ‘self-driven designer’, Han prefers to try out ideas on himself rather than rely on a model. He’ll pin something together on the dress form, take it off and put it on himself, take pictures, bring it back to the dress form, adjust, and repeat. Even when executing the final garments, he continued to practise this back-and-forth, always attuned to the feel and mobility of the garments. His self-reliance prepared him well for when the pandemic shut down Parsons in March, leaving him with nobody to drape on other than his own. In many ways, it actually made his process easier. Working at home, there’s no need to change in and out of his street clothes. “I can be naked all day,” he smiles.