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Ma Ke: Wu Yong collection
by Leonora Oppenheim
on 26 February 2008
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Finding some CH subjects recently nominated for the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year award in London was exciting, but several of the other 100 projects were equally inspiring. There were many new discoveries and we thought you'd enjoy seeing some of our favorites. First up is the extraordinary Chinese fashion designer Ma Ke who is nominated for her "Wu Yong" collection, which launched in Paris last year. The voluminous, sculptural garments that make up "Wu Yong" celebrate form over function and beauty before practicality (the title "Wu Yong" translates to "Useless"). Some have described Ma Ke's work as "anti-fashion," but we see her following in a long tradition of highly creative fashion that is often more esoteric and conceptual than wearable.

Ma Ke says she is more interested in creating, "things which are the bearers of values for the future." On this basis she rejects fast fashion trends and only works with artisans using hand looms. The recent edition of Selvedge magazine tells us, "For Ma Ke the decision to work this way is part of the spirit of Wu Yong. She aims to foster in buyers a desire for objects with innate value until choosing the well-made and the beautiful becomes a natural selection."

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"Wu Yong" is not just expressed in the clothes, but also in the multimedia works surrounding the collection, such as the documentary film by Jia Zhangke, which follows the progress of creating "Wu Yong" for the Paris shows in 2007 and contrasts it with footage from garment factories in Guandong. There are also the extraordinary photographs (pictured) taken by Zhou Mi, where the sculptural clothes and the people wearing them appear as if they are integral structures in the landscape. Ma Ke also produces collections under the labels Exception and Mixmind. See a couple more pictures from "Wu Yong" after the jump.

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