Taiwan Student Design Competition People’s Choice Winner 2023: Yu-Shan Chien

People's Choice Winner: Yu-Shan Chien

Taiwan Student Design Competition People’s Choice Winner 2023: Yu-Shan Chien

Yu-Shan Chien is from Taipei, Taiwan and is currently studying Fashion Design at Shih Chien University. The idea of discovery is something that drives Yu-Shan, as well as her fascination for working and creating a range of textures from singular or multiple materials. Yu-Shan hopes to keep learning while exploring herself and the world through design, continuing to discover, actively think, produce work, and keep herself excited.



Tell us about the inspiration behind your project:

Sustainability is the source of the discovery of leather as a material. I am touched by the idea of reusing and promoting leather as a by-product of the meat and dairy industry. Real leather is a gift from nature. Thus, I decided to promote the idea of reusing waste leather. I see it as rousing the leather, and titled my project Trace Back to the Origin in mandarin to represent steps forward in the sustainability sphere.

To create my designs I collected recycled waste leather and shredded this fabric into long fibre strands and knitted them into garments by hand. Rebuilding the leather pieces back into a single item felt representative of a sustainable slow fashion cycle. I added a pattern which visualised the silhouette of leather skin which is moved from the body of the animal and repurposed to be placed onto a human body.

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

Design provides and opportunity to address societal problems and convey stories. I think this is a good example of design connecting society, resources, and creativity. Winning this competition is a precious experience in my design career and enables me to advance my skills and broaden my horizons.


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

Its tactility, texture, and toughness make it a unique material. It has a special way of showing unique traces of its history as time passes by.


How has this competition influenced your view of working with leather in the future?

This competition has given me the knowledge to continue to work with and promote the use of leather. I like to work with the material itself and extend its possible applications in design through exploring new ideas and techniques. I am curious about how leather can further be used through trialing its wide range of textures and possibilities.


Click here to learn about the Taiwan Design Competition.

Click here to learn more about leather and sustainability.