Fresh out of Parsons School of Design, Thi Wan incorporated all of his experiences and philoshopic wanderings into beautiful, thought-provoking clothing. As soon as we came across the minimalistic yet highly sculptural in nature pieces of the young designer, we just knew we had to talk to him. In one of his very first interviews, here is Thi Wan.
For your Thesis collection, ‘Outlines’, you were inspired by the physical partition of an object with its environment. What fueled that exploration?
For my thesis collection, I really wanted to identify a specific transition that I’ve been exploring for a while. The idea is to see me and my surroundings as positive and negative space. It is a theory, if you must say, of a membrane that holds and separates an object from its environment. It wasn’t that I felt the need to do it, it was more of my theory of a question that I just can’t really seem to be able to answer clearly.
Tell us about the new ‘skin’ textile you created for ‘Outlines’. In what way has this contributed to the shaping of the collection’s character?
I really wanted the collection to be alive, literally. I felt that I needed to create something that ages and changes over time. I researched and studied prosthetics and cosmetics. With the use of medical gels, I was able to create a very fine and thin membrane that can act as fabric. The material is completely organic and is meant to decompose over time back to natural sand.
The prints are actually symbolisms from Buddhism. I grew up as a Buddhist and while growing up, I was always intrigued by the teachings and the way it affects my thinking. From the first look to the last, it is actually my re-interpretation of reaching nirvana, which is to find peace, of course. I feel like I grew so much while working on this collection, learning a lot about myself as a person. The prints may seem symmetrical, but they all read from left to right on each look and over the collection line up.
What elements and memories from your native Burma have you infused to the collection?
All the silhouettes in the collection are directly traced from the people of Burma. Tracing is the process of outlining the exterior edges which relates back to my idea of division between positive and negative spaces. Also, all the intricate patterns are hand sculpted and moulded, relating back to the artisans and craftsmanship of decorative Burma.
To be completely honest, I’m not sure. Also being 22, I don’t think I should be too sure because I think I have more things to explore. I do like to have a personal theory and maybe even one-sided perspective on my collections.
Do you have plans of expanding to womenswear?
Definitely one day! I want to explore menswear first and dive into womenswear later in the process.