Home Fashion Melbourne designer Yongbin Zhang is making otherworldly tulle creations

Melbourne designer Yongbin Zhang is making otherworldly tulle creations


Yongbin Zhang is a Melbourne-based fashion designer with a knack for creating otherworldly tulle creations. They’re the type of designs you need to look at for a concentrated period of time; the longer you look, the more you notice the intricate details.

A recent RMIT University Master of Fashion Design graduate, Yongbin’s collection, Pure Spirit, harnesses colour, structure and graphics to explore cultural speculation inspired by classical Chinese Peking Opera.

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Experimenting with conceptual design, Pure Spirit plays with the relationship between 2D and 3D form through a series of layered tulle objects in striking colours such as blue, red, black and white. The collection is marked by expressive silhouettes that are enhanced by movement and the body – it’s a vibrant approach to design that celebrates positivity and inclusivity.

Despite facing many challenges over the last two years due to the pandemic, Yongbin worked with limited time and resources to pull together a stellar collection that has been recognised as one of the top 10 finalists in this year’s National Graduate Showcase at PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Fashion Journal is excited to once again be a supporting partner of the showcase, this year presented by Samsung Galaxy, to celebrate Australia’s top-ranked emerging talent in fashion. The event will see a select number of leading fashion graduates from all over the country exhibit their visionary collections in a digital presentation, showcasing cutting-edge design and innovation.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be profiling each designer through a series of interviews. Next up is Yongbin.

Hey Yongbin! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Hi, my name is Yongbin Zhang and I’m a Melbourne-based fashion designer and a recent graduate of RMIT University. I completed my Master of Fashion (Design) in 2021 with [a] focus on exploring the project of developing cultural speculation through ‘colours, structures and graphics’.

Tell us about your collection.

Pure Spirit explores cultural speculation with inspiration drawn from Chinese Peking opera. The project uses tulle spherical objects to create exaggerated silhouettes and is based on my own design strategies where relationships between 2D and 3D form can be activated and performed through movement and the body, resulting in vibrant and playful, bold visual expressions of inclusivity and positivity – an antidote to the often-difficult times we are currently experiencing.

My use of the expression ‘pure’ in my project title refers to a purity and singularity of both material and technique. Each item is an independent ‘dress object’ that can be matched in different looks.

When did you know you wanted to get into fashion and textile design?

My fashion sense developed from seeing old photographs of my grandmother, where she was wearing the traditional Manchurian clothing, uniquely designed to accommodate horse riding and the traditional and cultural life of the Manchu people.

My grandmother was a Manchurian Princess of the Qing Dynasty and her stories and photos have always played a role in my interest in fashion since I was younger.

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A post shared by ZYBin (@zybinsteel)

What were the major points of inspiration for your collection, and you more broadly as a designer?

Pure Spirit is influenced by classical Chinese Peking Opera. Presented as a series of circular layered tulle objects, the project recreates the exaggerated spherical silhouettes produced by the movement/dance of Peking Opera performers. The series of objects are scaled to relate to a predetermined silhouette and wrap around different parts of the body.

The bold primary colours red, blue, white, and black are drawn from the performance of Peking Opera and the decorative technique of applique resembles the motif of face masks worn by performers to explode pattern and recombine it with overlapping forms that play on the effect of moire, allowed by the properties of the tulle material used through the collection.

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A post shared by ZYBin (@zybinsteel)

Tell us about the experience of putting together your graduate collection.

It was a major challenge for the last two years, with the pandemic in Melbourne creating limited conditions, I had to adapt and learn how I could use minimal resources and time to create a collection. This was on top of the normal challenges of creating something unique, meaningful and of a quality that meets the mastery standard of the course. I am very grateful and pleased with the results which were aided by my lecturers.

You’ve described your work as “an antidote to the often-difficult times we are currently experiencing”. Do you think this is where the fashion industry is heading?

Yes. I think everyone is tired of the lockdowns and mundane living experiences of the past two years. Although I use simple geometric graphic elements in my design, the design still has a huge space of creativity, and it can present in various items by using different materials. I also combine vibrant colours, such as red, blue, white and black, which I feel are colours that can cure the mood of 2020 to 2022.

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A post shared by ZYBin (@zybinsteel)

Your garments are not determined by body size or shape or any other physical trait. Was this a deliberate decision and why?

Pure Spirit is different from traditional clothes which are fixed – they can be matched according to our… mood every day. Moreover, these items are not only in the form of clothes but also can be transformed into matching items, such as headwear and sleeves. They can also be used as bags, accessories or pieces of furniture if they are made of different materials.

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A post shared by ZYBin (@zybinsteel)

What part does sustainability play in your design practice? And other ethical considerations?

Sustainability was a major consideration in the design of my project. I believe as well as celebrating cultural diversity, that sustainable materials will be adopted in the future of my project.

What’s next for you?

I still have a lot of creative space for my master project. In the next step, I hope to use different materials and some unique technologies to explore this conceptual design to a practical level, to launch a kind of uniqueness for my brand.

Some of Yongbin’s responses have been edited for clarity. To view more of the designer’s work, head here.

This article Melbourne designer Yongbin Zhang is making otherworldly tulle creations appeared first on Fashion Journal.

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