East Meets West With Wool


Fashion designer Vivienne Tam is another popular face in the fashion industry that is utilising the potential of wool in her creations. Chinese-born in the late 1950’s, she is now based in New York after first moving to Hong Kong when she was three years old. Vivienne states that being raised in a British territory in the east was the first inspiration of her fashion creations, which have a very east meets west aesthetic. 

Vivienne recently participated in a Hong Kong based art exhibition entitled, ‘One Belt, One Road’. The exhibition included work from 15 female artists and is inspired by the Silk Road. Her piece for the exhibition is called Cultural Dreamland. It is a huge tapestry depicting a mosaic of landscapes and various patterns and symbols from several countries, including China, Russia and Turkey. Vivienne says of her creation, “The more you look at it, the more you discover”.

Vivienne says that her 2016 – 17 collection is also inspired by the Silk Road and its role in cultural exchange. Her fall / winter 2016 collection was influenced by designs from the western border of China as well as areas of central Asia. The rich colours from indigenous Asian cultures, combined with influences from Kazakhstan and Russia, recently wowed audiences in Manhattan. Her use of patchwork was a highlight, with this being used frequently on her dresses, coats and jackets. Within this collection Vivienne has used images of medallions and flowers embroidered onto wool, along with sequins and suede.

Talking of creating her clothes, Vivienne states that she believes it is, “important to think about wearing it on the body” and that her clothes “need to be visually stunning for those looking”. Her fashion collections have been exhibited since the early 1990’s when she first moved to New York. They can now be found in several well-known museums, such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Her clothes are also available to buy worldwide in many stores and boutiques.

As wool continues to grow in popularity among the fashion world, the potential for sustainability and gains for the environment also develop. As a durable and eco-friendly fibre, wool is an increasingly viable choice for those who want to change the future of the clothing industry. Decreasing dependance on synthetic fibres helps to promote local farming economies, as well as creating clothes that are worn for longer and appreciated as high-quality garments.

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