The Travelling Pixie in London
An Interview w/ CINDY ZHANG
Throughout the production of ‘Wasted’ – Fashion & Dance Concept Video and the UALHKS VShow, I’ve met the magnificently talented leather accessories designer Cindy Zhang. After the late night rehearsals, Cindy and I would take the DLR together home, and we’d end up talking about endless topics on her work or my course at uni, but ultimately, all these conversations has simply led me to see the amazing personality behind her gracious outlook. The short half hour ride from Holborn to Shadwell was full of inspiring dialogues, and then I decided, I must do an interview with her as she is one of the people I really look up to.
A graduate in 2013 at the London College of Fashion’s Cordwainers Product and Design Development, or more commonly known as FDT Fashion Accessories, Cindy Zhang’s final major project was one not to be forgotten.
Inspired by the Armour and the concept of protection, Cindy explored the Wallace Collection London, a museum packed with armours. She grasped the elements she saw from the Victoria and Albert museum’s exhibition of Japanese Armours, such as the knitting technique, to enhance the details of her collection.
She explained that her course pathway was initially in the design of handbags, yet she believed that for her final project, she has to push herself to her limits. ‘I wanted to create a whole leather accessories collection, from neckpieces to handbags because I want to push myself. The FMP is a great chance for me to expand and experiment, I want to do the best that I can.’
‘My inspiration came from the Armour, it gives the impression of protection, I came alone to the UK when I was 14, it was the first time I had to learn to be independent and to face my difficulties alone.’ Derived from her personal experiences, Cindy Zhang’s brand and her collection is infused with her own DNA. ‘In the past when I faced obstacles I would cry. Now, I’ve learnt that only by staying strong can anyone overcome their difficulties. Life is about making yourself stronger.’
As Cindy completed her university degree, she was determined to stay in London to build her own brand. So she did a 6-month unpaid internship with Una Burke, a leather accessories designer brand whose style is similar to Cindy’s. While at the same time, Cindy was also starting up her own brand Cindy Zhang.
In November 2013, Cindy showcased her works in RAW Fashion Show, a platform for young photographers and designers to exhibit their work to the public. She pushed herself to develop more from her graduation collection because ‘a few individual pieces are not a collection, I want to push myself to make more.’ She has outdone herself, with the enhanced collection, REBORN now consists of corsets, belts, bracelets, neckpieces and bags.
Throughout her internship, Cindy has been actively approaching stylists and promoting her work. In her words ‘Nothing is Impossible, if I don’t try something out when I’m young, I will spend my old age regretting it.’ She has always aspired to develop her own brand, but never had the opportunity. With her determination, she met Lady Gaga’s stylist in December 2013. She lent her collection for the stylist to present to Lady Gaga for selection. Out of a dozen outfits, Lady Gaga chose Cindy’s!
Full of hope, Cindy felt that her effort and talents were recognised, and believed that this exposure could surely lead to her brand’s debut. However, disappointingly and to her dismay, none of the media credited her work. She has tried various methods to contact the stylist, but they brushed it off as a measure to protect Gaga’s privacy, they would never expose the designer of her outfits.
So Cindy decided to simply collect all the newspaper clippings and media publicity of the dress herself, and attempt to collate a portfolio of evidence that Lady Gaga did in fact wear her collection.
She found an article on the Daily Mail on Lady Gaga and the dress. To her shock though, the feat on the dress was completely made up. The story behind the design of the dress were all lies. This article was about 40% on the dress and 60% on Lady Gaga, yet the Daily Mail has not bothered to contact Cindy in any way before introducing the dress to their viewers.
‘I was very angry and disappointed! How can they write about my dress and the design without speaking to me at all? Everything in that article about my dress is fake and made up!’
But this didn’t stop Cindy, on the contrary, this little episode fueled her determination to one day become an internationally known designer. She left her internship with Una Burke in March 2014 because she had to start making a living for herself, she wanted to learn how to run her own business. So she then officially launched her own brand and developed a website to sell her designs.
It is said that we can expect a new collection coming out in June, the same style, but uses a different technique involving some other materials like soft metals and jewelry. I personally am in a great anticipation of Cindy’s new collection, and hopefully I would be able to have the chance to interview her again when her collection debuts.
‘I aim for my future designs to not only be aesthetically beautiful, but to also convey my spirit – to motivate people to be strong. Remember, Nothing is Impossible.’
To view more of Cindy Zhang’s ecstatic designs, please visit: