China Mainland Design Competition Apparel Winner 2022: YaWen Zhang


China Mainland Design Competition Apparel Winner 2022: YaWen Zhang

YaWen Zhang, from Zhoukou, Henan Province is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Fashion Design and Manufacturing at Wenzhou University. She enjoys researching social trends and consumer psychology. Her project is inspired by ink and landscape paintings, and it’s ability to create a state of mind in which the form and spirit are blended, and the world and sense of self are united. It’s goal is to make Chinese traditional culture fashionable.



Tell us about the inspiration behind your project:

A little drop of ink can draw countless mountains; it not only shows the colourful natural scenery but also, often through a limited view, showing awareness of the entire universe and nature from the surface to the core. It allows people to express their feelings for the motherland through the landscape, focusing on the embodiment of the Chinese concept of nature and social aesthetic consciousness.

I wanted to combine the expansiveness and layering from ink and landscape paintings with clothing; I incorporated the characteristics of ink paintings with premium colours, such as black and grey, with the intention to make Chinese traditional culture fashionable. Within my design 墨斗仞崃 I used practical detailing and sharp tailoring, combining leather with a stylish look, and highlighting the design’s eastern heritage.



What do you think makes leather a great material to design with?

For thousands of years, leather has been one of the preferred materials for manufacturing because of its durability and versatility. Products made of natural leather, can be used for a longer time, reducing waste of consumer goods. Leather is easily degradable by nature and with its beauty, versatility, and sustainable aspects it’s difficult to replace with other materials. In terms of texture, leather surfaces can be smooth, soft, plump, and elastic to the touch.


What has been your experience in working with leather for this competition?

Whilst working with leather I learned about its properties, varieties, types and it’s different uses. Throughout this competition, I came to understand that a design is not only emotional, but also rational work. A design needs all details to be considered and a purpose in each of them. I believe you shouldn’t design for design’s sake. When designing, we also need to fully understand the current fashion trends and consider the practical use. We need to think carefully about the structure and material of the garment, and how it will appear on the human body.


How do you think winning this competition will impact your career as a designer?

After winning this competition I realised the importance of continuing to educate myself. I studied many fashion-related courses in school, but rarely learned about leather. Therefore, I learned the relevant knowledge by researching, consultation with teachers, books, etc. While learning I designed styles, chose materials, matched accessories, and assembled accessories. The experience I got from this competition made me understand that learning is a constant process and never ends.

Click here to view all the shortlisted entries from this year’s China Competition.

Click here to learn more about leather and sustainability.