Originally from Hangzhou, China, current senior, Year Zhu is a storyteller with fabric. A process book thicker than most phone books, Year’s vision is meticulously detailed and uniquely her own.
The Manor (M): How did you get into fashion?
ZHU: “I’ve had an interest in fashion since I was a young child, but when I was young it was different. I liked to use napkins and drape different dresses on my Barbie dolls, then later in middle school I loved to dress up my friends with old clothes and put on little runway shows in my apartment. I think my big realization that I wanted to professionally join the fashion industry was in high school though. During our lunch break we’d always play TV shows, and one time we put on Project Runway, and that changed my life entirely.”
M: Would you consider that a turning point in your career?
ZHU: “Yeah! I remember that was the season Christian Siriano was on, and he was so inspiring to me. His strong personality, his designs- he sparkled, and that’s who I wanted to be: someone who makes beautiful things and never questions themselves. So I worked really hard and applied to SCAD, then moved to America, and now I’m here.”
M: Where do you go to find your inspiration?”
ZHU: I’m inspired by human philosophy. I love to look back at history and man’s involvement with it, like World War II, Medieval times, etc. Also, I don’t thinks it’s really common in the fashion industry, but I’m very inspired by reading. I’m much more inspired by reading than visuals- books over pictures.
M: Can you give us a snapshot of your collection?”
ZHU: In words it’s: conceptual and philosophical, with an emphasis on draping and Pattern Magic. I’m inspired by Shingo Sato, and wanted to create work in that style for my collection. Also – it’s couture.
When my collection stands in front of you it says: ‘don’t question me’.”
Written by Sam Anthony
Photography by Lucy Hewitt