In 2018, 28 year old Zhili Liu from China visited several cities on the ancient Silk Road. ‘They share their cultures and clothing, exchange exquisite products they produce, several religions can co-exist… I think we can’t achieve this kind of openness today. This gave me a strong desire to discover and praise it.’ He looked at antiques, read books like The Golden Peaches of Samarkand by Edward H. Schafer and was amazed by stories about legendary characters he heard about while on his trip. Incomplete silk fabrics, tiles and pillars inspired prints. While frescoes and Tang tri-coloured glazed pottery influenced the colour palette. Liu used traditional embroidery and Chinese frog fastening on silk and cotton fabrics, which he dyed with natural pigments. Liu’s video was filmed in Luoyang, one of the birthplaces of the Silk Road, and invited a local to perform in his garments. The designer hopes to start his own label or study an MA in the future. His garments are minimal and delicate but charged with historical references.

Valeria Ghersi, BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism