Fair Trade Fashion Designer: Yuner Shao

Fair Trade Fashion Designer: Yuner Shao

Fair Trade Fashion Designer: Yuner Shao

Written by Alison Hernon, Fashion Director, Jejune Magazine

 Photography taken by Yuner Shao's family

Photography taken by Yuner Shao's family

1. Designer Name:Yuner Shao

2. Please tell us about yourself?  Where are you from?

I was born and raised in China. I came to this country, by myself, at the age of 16.  I moved to New York City in 2013.  I got my Fashion BFA degree from Parsons, https://www.newschool.edu/parsons/, located in midtown Manhattan, 
As a fashion designer, my recent collection shows present-day, social issues in China.  After researching the Chinese propaganda system—under which I grew up—I deconstructed that propaganda from my memory and created my own messages through print design.  I plan to remain in New York City for the next few years.

 Photography taken by Yuner Shao's family

Photography taken by Yuner Shao's family

3. Please tell us about your current collection?

My current collection represents a “Chinese Dream," a term that came out these past years. The facts behind the dream are class solidification and the possibilities of a second wave of laying off workers.  Now China is experiencing a transformation from a manufacturing country to a country of consumerism, which creates some social issues.  Chinese Dream presents a fact that the country is getting so much stronger and is taking the public’s attention away from crucial social problems. 
For the collection, I turned contemporary Chinese propaganda into 30 hand-drawn posters. I created a coloring book with my own illustrations and applied them on the fabric with screen-some printing techniques. 

4. Do you benefit from both systems: Chinese and US, please explain?

I benefit from both systems. For example, the media allows me to show my work to the public. I believe the word “propaganda” does not always refer to something bad.  Most of the time, however, propaganda only shows half of the truth. The young Chinese generation, I think, should be aware of this. Improvement of results only happen when people realize the problems. 

5.  Your pieces are very creative. What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from my memories growing up in China. I got a chance to experience two different cultures, so I always compare both lifestyles. From this, I started to think about these two social systems, which led me to research this specific topic. 

 Photography taken by Yuner Shao's family

Photography taken by Yuner Shao's family

6. Could you please explain the photos here your family took showcasing your work in this interview?

The old photographs on my research book are family photos. While I did research on recent Chinese propaganda, it reminds me of the stories that my grandma told me when I was young. Those stories are about her memory of cultural revolution during the 1960s. I also watched the documentary "Act of Killing," which shows how other authorities manipulate their media when propagating something. 

7. Why do you feel this is important ethical clothing?

I think to express individual ideas to the public is more important than designing beautiful garments. Fashion can be more functional besides having traditional meaning. My topic is quite big in terms of the “Chinese Dream”. However, I want to use this collection to have a conversation with my audience. Besides the garments, I also created a coloring book that enables people to read and draw on my posters.

 Photography taken by Yuner Shao's family

Photography taken by Yuner Shao's family

Yuner Shao's collection can be found here:

Website:  www.yunershao.com

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/yunershao/

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