You may recognise the name from the surreal glass bead accessories seen on red carpets and in fashion editorials—but it’s Susan Fang’s focus on craftsmanship and sustainability that really deserves attention. Since launching her eponymous brand in 2017 following her graduation from Central Saint Martins, Fang has racked up a long list of achievements: LVMH Prize finalist, Lane Crawford’s Creative Callout Winner, and a cross-collaboration with Zara on this year’s Chinese New Year capsule collection—she is the first globally acclaimed Chinese designer the fast-fashion giant has ever worked with.
Fang’s multicultural upbringing—she grew up in China, Canada, the UK and the US—taught her“the challenges and beauty of perspective and perception”. Her label is defined by a love for nature and handicrafts, and a desire to convey beauty and a sense of healing in her work; every Susan Fang piece is produced in-house with her small artisan team, and she recently started involving charities, such as by employing mothers from the Yi ethnic minority.
China’s design culture is young, relative to Europe, giving Fang the freedom to experiment. “It’s challenging but at the same time the best time to be an Asian designer; we can be extremely creative, and present our voice globally through the support of international and social media,” she says. “There’s not much historical restraints of how [design] should be, thus I feel a complete sense of freedom; I can define accessories, clothing, textile, shows in a completely new way.”
For example, Fang pushes to find new ways to work with textiles in every collection: she pioneered the “Air-weave” technique in 2018, a unique method of hand-weaving nine layers of fabric so a garment moulds to the wearer’s body, and which makes use of leftover materials. Her springsummer 2022 collection, a huge hit at Shanghai Fashion Week, debuted a new technique of folding tulle called “Air flower” and is a continuation of her expression of positive emotions through design and textile innovations. “I truly hope people feel inspired, elevated and that something deep inside is comforted,” she says.