BA Womenswear designer Yiling Shen’s collection Transcend the Ordinary comes from a place of solace and reflection, having experienced the pandemic from her native Wuhan. The 24 year old seeks to represent what she describes as a ‘brittle, but beautiful illusion,’ as well as the search for peace and creativity in a mentally draining time. ‘What if there is a place in the imagination where all stories are perfect? I believe that holding onto our imagined world helps us to live better,’ she explains poignantly.

The key visual inspiration for the collection is sourced from Konan, a character who is supernaturally gifted at origami from the Japanese manga series Naruto. From there, she researched all elements of how paper moves: from how it falls to the shadows that it casts. To simulate the motion of paper in her garments, she used nitinol wires which are operated by programming to make the fabric move.

After graduation, Shen is excited to start her own brand alongside a fellow Womenswear designer and close friend: A plan that arose during the standstill of lockdown.

Matilda Carnall, BA Fashion Journalism