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A conversation with Bing. Soft sculpture

Original Article

Bingjin Zhu is a graduate of F.I.Ts MFA Fashion program. During childhood, Zhu witnessed her dad, a dexterous wood sculptor, building traditional Chinese fictional characters and telling their stories through carving and painting wood while embracing their Chinese roots. Inspired by him, she grew up to be a storyteller of her own. As a designer, she starts her collections from a storytelling perspective, using unique coloring schemes and sculpturing of fabrics to reach her audience visually and emotionally.


To honor her mother, and the power of softness that she stood for, Bing selected jersey and horsehair canvas as the main textiles used in this collection. Softness, and closeness to wearers that jersey creates is supported by horsehair canvas which brings structure, support and function to the tailoring of the clothes, resonating with the theme of this collection. Inspired by her father, Bing focused on the idea of interaction and interchangeability between 2D and 3D formats. As a fashion designer, Bing sees her designs in the format of 3D sculpture, as wearing of the 2D clothing pieces serves as the most natural 3D transformation process. 

In order to emphasize this idea, Bing used 8 large pieces of horsehair canvas to set the foundation of structure for her clothing, then layered on with draping on models body. Bing then chose jersey as her fabrics, as the softness of jersey could handle heavy duty horsehair canvas, demonstrating the power of jersey, the power of softness.

What is the first step when designing and getting inspired for a new collection or garment?

Before setting my mind on the general direction of the collection, I would think of what side of me that I want to express and what story from my journey of life that I want to express through the overarching design concept of my collection. Then I would picture my target audience, the crowd who would appreciate and in turn patronize my brand. After successfully deciding who my target audience is, I find a much smoother design process, as I keep my audience in mind. BING is designed for a specific group of people. I call them LADIES. Not necessarily from a gender perspective, I believe they are the kind of people who believe in soft power. My job is to let them know they are special, I met so many ladies in my life, they are vulnerable but powerful, they work hard, believe in themselves, and are very calm. I want to portrait and dress up this kind of people.