Local Love: Toronto designer looks to capture Vancouver attention with her art-to-wear creations


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At present, Toronto is all abuzz with everything fashion related. Over the next few days a glossy new Peter-Freed backed Toronto Fashion Week is officially taking over Yorkville while over on the west end, the Great Hall is swimming with the Collections RE\SET concept event. (There’s also TIFF, but that’s another matter.) However, some local designers are eschewing the big city and opting to show elsewhere instead. Enter Xue Liang Designs which, come mid-September, will be wowing crowds across the country at Vancouver Fashion Week.

Xue (Shirley) Liang isn’t your average designer. The Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist is all about transforming unconventional materials into opulent wearable art, looking up to visual artists like Shary Boyle and Jennifer Trask for their ability to incorporate texture into their works of art. Think rococo head- and neckpieces that are meticulously handcrafted from individual grains of rice. Like we said, not average.

This past April, Liang sent her custom creations down the runway at FAT (Fashion Art Toronto), the city’s alternative answer to fashion week. In Vancouver, the designer will be showcasing her Spring/Summer 2018 collection, fittingly titled Merso, which means “to dive” in Latin.

“It was inspired by the feeling of submerging yourself in your work and becoming lost in the details,” Liang says.” Describing her design process as “very intuitive,” Liang notes that she can often be found combing the goods in hardware, dollar and department stores, sussing out objects that would make curious textures when multiplied. “The final pieces are more informed by the materials I find for the textures and the structures are built as I go,” she says. For Merso, Liang is using everything from the aforementioned grains of rice to pistachio shells to acrylic nails to create her wearable sculptures.

“My most intricate pieces are usually continuously added onto — my finale piece has been a work in progress for about a year now,” Liang says. Currently her pieces are rented out for editorial shoots, while true art-to-wear enthusiasts can commission pieces should they so desire. We expect big things for the beautiful and bizarre designs of Xue Liang.

Vancouver Fashion Week will be showing Spring/Summer 2018 starting Sept. 18.

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Karolyne Ellacott is senior editor at Post City Magazines. She can oft be spotted at Toronto’s most nostalgic diners wearing glittery heels and pink faux fur. Follow all of her eclectic writing interests on Twitter @kellacott and Instagram @itismekar.

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