Mao Usami Design Residency Blog (Week Two)

Posted On 09/12/2013 | 

Mao Usami Design Residency Blog (Week Two)

"What initially brought Triple-Major and I together to this project was that we both try to ask questions about gender and sexuality through our works.
My CSM graduation collection titled "unisexy" was an attempt to blur gender lines in fashion.
So we agreed that the discussion about gender and sexuality should set the base tone for this collaborative project.

When I first arrived at Triple-Major Shanghai, I found it to be a unique space;
it is a multi-functioning environment- incorporating retail, gallery, library, and in-house studio all in one.
Working in such a space inspired me to think differently as a designer.
Through discussions with Triple-Major's founder Ritchie, we noticed that we were both wondering how clothes could be more interactive,
functioning in a way like how people choose their set meals at McDonalds.
The wearer's interaction with the garment became another departure point for my design residency.

Allowing the wearers to be a part of the creative process could be challenging.
As a designer I am sometimes in a passive position in terms of how the wearer chooses to style my designs.
While hoping that the wearer could interact with what I had created,
I do need to limit the interactive features to a certain extent so that the outcome would still fit within my personal aesthetics.

Another balance I need to achieve is the balance between silliness and sophistication.
Nonchalance and what some might consider stupid ideas or looks are some of my design signatures; yet people are not just buying the philosophy.
It is important that despite the nonchalance, the clothes would still look visually appealing and translate a sense of elegance and sophistication.

Anyway, this is my brief for now.”

———Mao Usami, Designer and Triple-Major Design Resident

"Seeing an average of 200 collections every season, I often ask myself, how in such fast paced industry, are we ever going to make a collection interesting? Even though it is now only the second week, this design residency with Mao seems to be heading somewhere that I might be able to find my answer.
This design process is a bit like making fusion food. Our personal styles are very diverse, yet we have common ideas.
Unisex and interactive garments are like the cake base to our dish; while my experience in retail and Mao's craftsmanship are the two clashing flavors we are adding.
I do not know yet if this dish would necessarily taste good or look good, hopefully it will. But what I do know for sure is that it would taste really fresh."

———Ritchie Chan, Triple-Major Founder and Director