Daisy (Caihong) Jiang was born in Inner Mongolia and immigrated to New Zealand ten years ago after studying English and International Trade in China. She worked for an Italian fashion brand called Seventy, sourcing cashmere and supervising local mill production as well as the shipment of garments.
Jiang has always had a great interest in making her own clothes. When she was young, her mother used to make all her clothes on a pedal-driven sewing machine. Jiang helped her mother make garments and repair clothes with this.
“I recall inverting a pair of my mother’s old trousers, revealing its fresh original blue hue, adding pockets, and resizing it for myself. My mother was thrilled with the result and gave me encouragement, thus fuelling my interest in garment making and fashion design,” explained Jiang.
Jiang noted that she has gained a lot of fashion design knowledge through her three years at AUT. From learning about the history of fashion design as well as movements like the design and art movement that she once never knew about. Further, she has picked up on other broader skills like cooperation with classmates and thinking outside the box.
“Under the help and mentorship of the tutors, I learnt how to express my unique and authentic ideas.”
Jiang enjoyed gaining the skills that helped her take her ideas through every step of the technical development of her garments. As a result, she made high-quality, unique, and original fashion garments that reflected her passion for fashion.
“One of my greatest achievements has been designing for Touch Compass Dance Studio and making final garments and accessories for them that exceeded their expectations.”
Jiang’s graduate collection was designed under the ‘cloud’ of COVID-19. Thus, she wanted to take this chance to highlight the concept of ‘social distancing’ in her work. She was inspired by crinolines that were popular in the 1840s. These are internally framed wide-hoop skirts.
“As a way to work sustainably, I developed and used a zero-waste pattern cutting technique and chose to work with locally sourced fabrics, including silk, silk-linen and tulle.”
The artistic side of Jiang has always led her to explore the connections between art and fashion. Her experience of studying visual arts previously, as well as working at an art gallery, has a massive influence in her work. Moreover, analysing different designers of each period also inspires Jiang.
Currently, Jiang is still exploring her own ‘design DNA’. She believes it is important for her to have a good grasp her own style before setting foot in the industry.
The slower pace of life during COVID-19 has allowed Jiang to stop and think about what she really wants to do after her studies.
“As a Chinese woman who lives in New Zealand, I observe a unique perspective to the fashion industry.”
Jiang hopes to study towards a Master’s degree at AUT while also gaining experience in the fashion field simultaneously. After this, she plans to work towards establishing her own brand.