Article of famous designers



Associate Professor, Fashion Design Department of College of Design, Shih Chien University

許鳳玉 Hsu, Feng-Yu


Back in the days as a student, I loved participating in fashion design competitions. In addition to the tempting high prizes and complimentary flight, what I valued most was to find out people who, other than my home teachers, appreciate my work. It’s also a journey finding out who I was, and an opportunity to examine the results of learning. At the time when information was not so easily accessible, I benefited a lot from both domestic and overseas contests: getting hold of scheduling, demands to a piece of design, and the head-to-toe process of being present throughout competitions. Apart from gaining feedback and suggestions from the judges, I got to learn from my peers, knew how to better interpret my concept and identify the blind spots in design. Although the process could be overwhelming and demanding, it was indeed an effective shortcut for one to grow swiftly.

When I became an educator, I persisted with my fondness of international design competitions by promoting them. But the key here is I believe students should be willing to, rather than pressured to, take part in any competition. The reason is that students should know, when they engage in a competition, they are the ones realizing what impact, and how it would foster them to grow. With that in mind students would join in contests gladly. Supplementary to the awards and prizes, I think the biggest takeaway from partaking in the design competition is, being in a place where everyone is your partner. You get to observe how the organizer actualizes their plans, and participants realize their works. These are invaluable experiences. Competing in design contests could mean a lot. It's when students get to expound what they have learned, and manifest their competitiveness on the international arena. As they expand design capabilities, they will demonstrate their influence to the world.

I would like to take the chance to thank the Ministry of Education for incorporating "Fashion Design" into the Ministry of Education's "International Design Competition (IDC)" program to promote students in the participation of global contests.

The Fashion Design Department of Shih Chien University has played parts in various international competitions for years. Since invited to partake in 2013 the in the biggest graduate exhibition, the Graduate Fashion Week in London, in the 4 years period from 2013 to 2017, Angus Chiang (1), Huang Shan Liao (2), Chou Yun Ting (3), Chiu Po Chieh (4) scored the "International Award" in the "International Catwalk Competition (ICC)". While Bao Wen Chen won the runner up of International Award in 2018. The enormous design power in Taiwanese students proves itself not to be underestimated.

Graduated in 2013, Angus Chiang established his brand with his name "ANGUS CHIANG", and became the first ever designer from Taiwan to be shortlisted by the LVMH Prize, where among 1200 designers around the globe, 21 were chosen to edge for the glory. Angus Chiang continues to launch his design in Paris Mens' Fashion Week since June, 2017. Angus' design is inspired by his surroundings and root, Taiwan, which wows the international design industry.

Image 1: “Sailing to the moon” by Angus Chiang

Image 2: “Kinmen 1969” by Huang Shan Liao

Image 3: “The Second Sex” by Chou Yun Ting

Image 4: “I'm a traveler, wearing my background” by Chiu Po Chieh

Shih Chien University offers pragmatic and professional courses, along with the non-stopping cultivation and spotting of young talents, bridges the school with the global fashion industry, and supports students in their exchanges with their international peers. Shih Chien empowers the students through the collaboration between renowned schools around the world, intensifying the international exposure, establishing home to overseas industrial platforms, and broadening the horizon of the youth.

By incorporating a team work model, the Fashion Design Department evolves in a sustainable way. With every instructor furnishing distinctive features to the teaching, students get to lay a solid foundation for the future. We strive to foster creativity through self-inspiration, and highlighting individuality, drawing out the characteristics of a designer for the freshmen. In the second year, students begin to plan and experiment on the design process without being constrained by the market rules of the fashion world, and emphasize on provoking creative thinking. Next, they begin to integrate factors of the market and learn about the ready-to-wear and mainstream design of the consumer market. In their last year before graduating, they actualize what they have learned through their personal work of design and style. The Department formulates comprehensive strategies to reinforce the design power and confidence of students and take to the international arena their popularity and influence by guiding them to participate in international fashion design competitions.


1. Consolidate information of major fashion design competitions from home and abroad for instructors and students to refer to.

2. Keep close contact and relationship with international competition organizers.

3. Collect and send works (in the form of video) jointly.

4. Bind design portfolio for students.

5. Transform school assignment into student’s self-confidence.

How instructors guide:

1. Dive into student’s individual characteristics, and help come up with diverse capabilities.

2. Accompany students in their journey of self-reflection, divergent and convergent thinking.

What are school assignments for?

Transform school assignments into valuable self-confidence. Is design subjective? The question haunts students when they are not recognized by in-school contests, demoralizes them, makes them wonder if they have chosen the wrong path, and the fashion industry is not meant for them. This is when the instructors step in and encourage them to partake in other competitions to see if they get a different result. Since different judges have different perspectives and feedback, the result may be unexpected. Students need different occasions to build confidence. Therefore, the Fashion Design Department at Shih Chien, from time to time, gives assignments, big or small, for students to generate their output. In March, a total number of 400 sophomores and juniors present their work of 1600 design as one of the general examinations of design course; while seniors present 1300 design for their graduation exhibition. Instructors go through deliberative discussion with students to provide guidance for design to be submitted for competitions whenever contest organizers announce competition rules. Since students’ design output is diversified, instructors can choose whichever fits the requirement.

Transform your imagination of life into design.Design is storytelling, and every person has profound stories to be found.” We have our distinctive background, rites of passage, things we are fond of and take pride in. Some excel in painting, while others may prevail in music, photography, and travel. These are all the fertilizer to one’s design. In short, we encourage students to conceptualize and transform what they learned through life experiences. Since no one experiences things the exact way as anyone else, it becomes the essence of an irreplaceable design. It’s about art as much as it is about science. Other than professionalism, when it comes to cultivating students’ ability to imagine, schools need to integrate cultural literacy and attitudes toward life, help students navigate in the terminology of fashion design and find their singular track.

Designed by Li Zi Jin and Tseng Wen Min (Chou Shang Hong as instructor), a series of work presented in their sophomore year’s fashion week exhibition, “2080S”, was submitted to the 2018 World of WearableArt Awards Show (WOW). The duo proposed reflections over the future world of artificial intelligence, weaving a story of an AI reigned world where humans are replaced in the year of 2080. Through vibrant color, intricate cutting and sewing, the design embodies diversity and innate emotions with a positive tint.Li Zi Jin joined Shih Chien through the special admission quotas for recommended students (with her record of winning the bronze medal at the 44th Worldskills Abu Dhabi, the Fashion Technology category). Her design adopts high level technology, she is also frequently seen in international competitions and overseas internship programs (2020 February, USA, at Jason Wu’s studio) as she strives to strengthen her design power.

In 2019, Chang Yi Wei also submitted her works “Soul Guardian” (image 6) and “Paladin” (image 7) from her sophomore year to contests. “Soul Guardian” won Second place in the Mythology section of the 2019 WOW Awards (instructor: Sam Hong Ling). Design inspiration sparks from inner mind exploration. Chang said, “in a world where the force of the dark triumphs, our inner devil depraves us successively. We need a god to purify our soul.” She began to create her exclusive guardian. “With a pair of spiral wings resembling a UFO, the futuristic color (silver and black) and material constituting the most primal animal texture, and with the infusion of a human soul, I create a Soul Guardian of my own world.”As she described in the work of “Paladin”, “I may look tough on the outside, but my heart is vulnerable. I’ve hoped there’s a brave knight looking after me. This may be a vain fantasy that exists only in the myth or fairytale. Therefore, I created my own heroic paladin in the world I fabricated.

Image 5: “2080S” by Li Zi Jin and Tseng Wen Min

Image 6: “Soul Guardian” by Chang Yi Wei(left)Image 7: “Paladin” by Chang Yi Wei(right)

Take the works designed by seniors at the graduation exhibition for example, students contemplate different issues in a more mature manner. The environment, emotion, the sentiments of leaving the school and so on, would be more subtly and profoundly projected into their works. This is when the struggle of heart intensifies. Instructors need to be more patient with students, to hear their life and family stories, as well as their conflicts and struggles. Instructors need to detach themselves carefully and timely (so that they don’t get too attached and cry along), and guide the students to transform such feelings into their fabric representation.

Kuo Hsiang Lin took “This Is Escapism At Its Best” to 2018 Tokyo New Designer Fashion Grand Prix and scored the Workmanship Prize under the instruction of Sam Hong Ling.This Is Escapism At Its Best” (image 8) was a series of 7 costumes and their extended concept. Originated from the keen interest over the trend of knitted sports shoes, Kuo gradually compiled his design element. And, conceptualizing the material, he developed it into a series of casual outfits for camping. “Sports shoes are highly refined design, they may be small in terms of the size, but they carry the contemporary aesthetic and cutting edge material and technology. The look and function are equipped with countless wonders. It provides a ground for designers to inject their distinctive perspectives and enhance the people’s experience wearing, all the detail fascinates me.” Kuo said the sports shoes are made of various materials, therefore there is vast space for the creation and design of the look and the development of the material used. Due to their small size, all the detail should be proportionally proper and refined, the context between different materials can be easily highlighted, and so is the relationship between the material adopted and the designer.

3 seniors at the Fashion Design Department of Shih Chien University of the year won 1 Grand Prix (Tseng Yen Wei) and 2 Prize for Excellence (Lee Ya Chin, Hsieh Chia Han) respectively at the 2019 Tokyo New Designer Fashion Grand Prix.Lee Ya Chin’s “Visual Illusion” arose from her observation of the romantic relationship between man and woman. She looked into the status of a rough relationship from different angles. Inspired by the vocabulary “miss”, which means “girl” and “to think about someone who is not present”, whose meanings are at the opposite end of the spectrum. The space exists in between can be somehow shadowed as the gray space between one another. Just like visual illusion, there is gray space between something that actually exists and something that does not.Instructed by Liu Abei, the design concept of “Visual Illusion” is centered around “physiological illusion caused by sense organs and the cognitive illusion caused by psychological illusion.” Things we take for granted could be a trick of the mind. Our mind tends to fixate on what we’re familiar with and disguise other possible options. In the working of our mind and heart, a biased filter is oftentimes applied and thus the truth twisted, and then the take-it-for-granted deduction results in unexpected outcomes.  

Hsieh Chia Han’s “We r flowers in green house, we r baby in city jungle” (image 10) touches on the sentiments of a freshman to the workplace. We are like the delicate flowers carefully attended in the greenhouse, yet we are entering the sophisticated urban jungle: the society, and are setting off for an adventure full of wonders. Since we haven’t had any experiences, like newborn babies, we are often described as “freshman”. Developing from the form of outfit worn by a guerrilla member fighting in the jungle, the design combines elements and style of a baby’s clothes. The weaving technique and the pattern highlight the theme of “greenhouse flower” and echo through the entire series. The series is instructed by Zheng Jin Zhong.

A student’s achievement can be credited to every teacher who has ever taught him. Competition is the result of teaching and learning. Design should have no boundaries, participating in one competition helps you grow, and the more you do, the better you become. Through experiencing the culture of another country, you can better “find” yourself, and better prepare yourself to face the future with a broader horizon. Competition is also a platform for exchanges, a stage for students to train and develop personal perspective. I encourage all young students to take courage and enjoy competitions.

Image 8, 8-1: “This is Escapism At Its Best” by Kuo Hsiang Ling

Image 9, 9-1: “The Anonymous Hero” by Tseng Yen Wei

Image 10: “Visual Illusion” by Lee Ya Chin

Image 11: “We r flowers in green house, We r baby in city jungle” by Hsieh Chia Han