Behind the Curtain at TMM

Fashion As An Outpouring Of Nature. Who Knew?

fashion drawings

Carmen Wu is a senior at Parsons: The New School for Design in New York. Carmen Wu hide caption

itoggle caption Carmen Wu

Here’s a question we often ask ourselves but can’t always find a quick answer to: what am I going to wear today?

I honestly don’t think about this for too long. I just wear what’s practical for the weather, what abides to an occasion’s dress code, or what my sister gives me. I was never into fashion. Clothes are just practical things to keep me covered. Or so I thought.

As I spoke with aspiring fashion designer Carmen Chen Wu during a pre-interview for today’s conversation, she gave me different view of fashion — it’s like art and anthropology. And I’m totally into those things.

Wu is a 24-year-old senior at Parsons: The New School for Design in New York, and recipient of a $25,000 Geoffrey Beene Designer Scholarship. In June 2010, the Council of Fashion Designers of America issued two other different scholarships to students of Asian heritage – as well as top design awards to Asians: Jason Wu, Richard Chai and Alexander Wang. Ethnic coincidence? Wu says maybe. Maybe because the luxury market has shifted toward Asia, and Asian designers are bringing a different, unique aesthetic to the industry. In that case, I’m definitely proud of my fellow Asians.

But what really got my attention was when Carmen Chen Wu described clothing as a means of human expression and connection. She says her muse is a Buddhist woman living in a metropolitan area, who’s sitting at your everyday Starbucks and wearing a knit that is beyond definition. It’s not a dress or shirt or jacket. It’s a creative outpouring of nature – or in Wu’s own words, a “vomit of nature.” Wow, this is like a whole different world, I thought. Clothes aren’t ordinary cover-up objects here.

“Fashion is fantasy,” Wu says. Imagine that.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

About