Columbus Makes Art Presents: Luyao Zhang Showcasing Conceptual Knitwear at the 2018 CCAD Fashion Show
Luyao Zhang grew up in Zhengzhou, China, in a family with a rich tradition of knitting. Her mother knit. Her grandmother knit. And at an early age, Zhang learned how to knit, too. That heritage — along with a passion for travel, museums and books — helped Zhang develop her creative interest in fashion design.
This spring, Zhang will graduate from Columbus College of Art & Design as the Fashion Design program’s Outstanding Senior, a title bestowed on only one student per major, selected by faculty for their academic and artistic achievements.
Among her many accomplishments while at CCAD, Zhang, whose practice focuses on knitwear, interned at Seven OO Knitwear Studio and helped design a collection for the Spin Expo in Paris, London, Shanghai and New York.
For the upcoming 2018 CCAD Fashion Show on Friday, May 11, Zhang created a stunning collection titled Pale Vanity using hand-knit and macramé techniques. She meticulously built each garment by piecing it together fragment by fragment, using a freeform process that doesn’t follow traditional patternmaking.
We recently caught up with Zhang about her collection.
Cotton: How did you find fashion?
Zhang: When I was in elementary school, my parents would give me pocket money every week to spend. I saved that money to buy fashion magazines — Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vivi. That’s when I began to fall in love with fashion.
Cotton: Who is your favorite fashion designer or artist?
Zhang: Sandra Backlund, who makes knitwear pieces like art. Her work was the first time I saw someone use yarns to create structural garments in such a rich and beautiful rhythm. It made me realize knitwear can also be innovative and avant garde. She’s a designer’s designer.
Cotton: What is the inspiration for your collection for the 2018 CCAD Fashion Show?
Zhang: It was inspired by 17th- and 18th-century highly decorative Baroque and Rococo architectures. I used knitting as a language to describe its vanity in a more modern, practical way.
Cotton: How did you experiment with this collection?
Zhang: For each garment, I did not really have a clear plan ahead of time. So I made lots of tension tests, various macramé samples and spent time playing around with the placement of each fragment.
Cotton: What do you think is the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Zhang: The diverse environment is the best thing about the Columbus art scene. We can enjoy art pieces created by people coming from different parts of the world. It’s so nice to communicate and learn cultures through art.
Columbus College of Art & Design presents the 2018 CCAD Fashion Show on Friday, May 11, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Dance the night away and see runway collections by CCAD’s top student designers, including Luyao Zhang, all while supporting the future of fashion design education. Proceeds benefit CCAD scholarships. Get your tickets today at ccad.edu/fashionshow.
Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art and sharing information about exhibitions, performances, concerts and more at ColumbusMakesArt.com. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.