Mixed media textile designer Ejing Zhang marries the beauty of geometry with an extremely captivating colour palette, creating one-of-a-kind handmade pieces. In her graduate collection, Chinese craftsmanship and ethnical cultures inspire the translation of traditional techniques and materials into manipulated textile designs and contemporary accessories. This London based young talent can make you a dress, a stunning piece of jewelry or even a trophy, managing to blur the line between art and design.
I grew up seeing my mum analyze woven fabrics under a magnifying glass. But the moment I really began to be aware of how exciting textiles can be was when I took my foundation course in London.
The education I got in UK shaped up my creative thinking. It's a good balance of research and hands-on work. And the industry experience was great in terms of giving me an insight of the role textiles play in the fashion industry. It was also valuable because my work went into production. But I did not carry too many commercial concerns into my own projects… it was the best time to reach my extremes in college.
Yes it definitely does. I cannot get away from it and will not try to. In the end it's my background which could make me unique. I am fascinated by the oriental aesthetics and spiritual essence.
We did a project which was initiated by WGSN in the first year of RCA (Royal College of Art). And they still remembered me after a while. I was approached after graduation and it was an amazing opportunity. I thank WGSN very much for supporting me as a young talent. I had quite a lot of freedom to use my own material and came up with a design based on my style and their research. I went through some hard-core production phases: all 19 trophies were hand-crafted by me. But I was very pleased with the result.
My main inspiration is the material itself. As soon as I lay things on the table I will have plenty of ideas of how to construct them. I love first hand researches such as going to museums and markets and collecting scrap pieces from everywhere. Also, I do quite a bit of traveling to get to know other cultures. I adore Issey Miyake and Shigeru Ban’s way of thinking. They are both designers who make the most extraordinary things out of simple ideas and materials.
WORKS is a lovely group of creative RCA graduates. They first formed it with the product graduates and then, when I finished, I got an invitation to join. We presented an exhibition at the London Design Festival last year. We are all like-minded, having unique design approaches to materials.
My favourite material is still simply threads. They are all kinds: thick and thin, matt and shiny, fluffy and plasticy, dyed and plain… You will see the difference immediately when you pull a single string out of the cone. They are like ink from a pen, you can draw a huge picture with them.
At the moment my urge is to refine the rapid prototyping technique that I briefly touched for my final collection –Moonrise. 3D printing is becoming so popular and sometimes overwhelming. I would like to use it as a necessary tool rather than a trend or an end product.
I always start with a theme and then do my research, going to exhibitions and collecting bits and bobs that are relevant. I then sit down and sort out what to do with them and how to make them go best with each other. I draw and sketch a lot, while I test out the ideas and make samples. I often need to change the sketches and then do the test again, it’s a back and forth process. Talking to people from other expertise also helps me balance my opinions. Then comes the final product.
"Any time you start a new thing, there will always be people saying that you cannot do it. If everybody agrees with you, somebody might have already done it”.
Yes, the collaboration with Weilong Xie was very successful. He is brilliant on how to realize an idea into 3D modeling. I could have not done it without him. I could almost say the future is all about collaboration. It’s like having extra arms that enable you to do something you could never do alone.
I would like my work to be a wider range across the lifestyle and interior sector.
Ideally to set up my own studio and keep doing collaborations with exciting brands and talented people.
To do a collaboration with some furniture brand, for example with the Italian brand Moroso, I love it!