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Fashion

Knitwear Designer Shawna Wu: 'I'm Reflecting More So Than Ever On Work I Truly Value'

Twelve creatives give us their perspective through never-before-published works that reflect their frame of mind mid-circuit-breaker. Here, Shawna Wu, the New York-based Taiwanese designer who works with textile-based materials, shares what she is reflecting on.

The work

“The photo (above) was taken by my grandpa in the ’70s as part of his work – he was then Taiwan’s minister of agriculture and his job included visiting farms and documenting and checking up on the health of plants and produce around Taiwan.

The image below features my own work: harnesses created using Chinese knotting techniques and a new form of sustainably made textile. The finished pieces recontextualise something traditional onto queer bodies, simultaneously celebrating and radicalising custom.

During this period, I’ve been reflecting more so than ever on work that I truly value. I’ve always seen what I do as part of a lineage that I inherited, treasure and want to elaborate on, and I want to create work that expresses what it means to be part of a richly connected human life. I also really love and miss my grandpa.”

On how the pandemic has impacted her

“I love how it’s given us the opportunity for more introspection and breathing space; the opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate caregivers, and to expose how society creates ruinous systems abusing and exploiting the underprivileged.

I think these are all amazing opportunities that make us refocus our value systems and create spiritually uplifting work. Personally, I’m reminded of the meaningfulness of garments and textiles that are rooted in the community, where people take precedence over commerce and superfluousness.”

On how she imagines the fashion industry to change post-pandemic

“I have been hoping for a long time that fashion would slow its crazed commercialism and find new ways to grow more independently of capitalism. I hope people see it more as a genre and not business. Covid-19 has been exposing how much businesses and corporations have no connection to humanity.”

Photography Roxy Owan Styling Darrell Koh Model Raigo Law

This article first appeared in the June 2020 Collaboration Issue of FEMALE.