Exploring the Human Cost of Luxury

Strong conceptual design and innovation is what makes the iD International Emerging Designer Awards in Dunedin an extraordinary event. Each year, top tier emerging designers are selected to present a showcase that explores the immediacy of the world they live in.

Xiangqiao Sheng explores the human cost behind luxury fashion in her collection at iD Dunedin Fashion Week 2018. Image supplied.

Born in Guangdong Province, designer Xiangqiao Sheng will be showing her collection entitled 'Luxury' at this year's event. The designer has an obsession with novels that explore the virtual world and says her creative inspiration derives from social phenomenon, the tactility of industrial objects and everyday items in her surroundings.

Designer Xiangqiao Sheng

Prior to studying fashion at RMIT in Melbourne, Xiangqiao studied fine arts. She is one of 46 designers to be presenting her collection in May at iD Dunedin Fashion Week.

Her collection explores consumerism and hedonism with commentary on animal welfare and the human cost behind the luxury fashion industry.

Each of her garments has a story behind it. In one instance, thousands of pins have been handcrafted onto a dress to illustrate the time-consuming process involved in the production of luxury fashion. While bread bag twist ties are woven into a metallic fuzzy sweater, and snakeskin patterns are produced through double-sided sequin fabric, which has been coated with self-leveling gel.

Instead of using traditional luxurious materials such as fur and leather, I selected other materials to represent forms such as the snakeskin.
— Xiangqiao Sheng

Disco ball reflective mirrors were used to create Xiangqiao's Mirror Snake Dress, replete with Compact Discs at the back, which the designer says is about nightlife and indulgence in hedonic pleasure. The dress features a tormented snake with its mouth open, signifying happiness built on the suffering of animals.

Many of Xiangqiao's garments also feature sharp, strong shoulder lines, symbolic of women and their powerful social status as wearers and consumers of extravagant luxury items.

But beyond the messages that inform the work of these young designers, the iD International Emerging Designer awards is all about celebrating top level international talent. And if you want to get a snapshot of the future - this event is one not to be missed.

Tickets to the iD Emerging Designer Awards are available now. For more information head to: www.idfashion.co.nz