Enter the Fashion to Figure Contest!
I first met Michael in high school. We both went to different schools, but played in District Orchestra together. Then he left District 2 to finish high school at the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and the Humanities. I would hear little bits and pieces about him over the years via friends, the internet, and Facebook.
Facebook is where I actually found him again, just the other day. I saw pictures from his new collection pop up on my timeline, and knew I had to check them out. His clothes are beyond gorgeous, and I am not just saying that because I know him. They really are amazing. The deconstructed looks truly show how talented this self taught designer really is. Oh and if you’re wondering…the green dress is my favorite!
When did you become interested in fashion?
This is going to sound ridiculously gay, but I started by designing dresses for Disney princesses when I was three or four. I always thought it was kind of silly that they only had one day look and one evening look. They’re princesses, aren’t they? (My mom still has my old sketches in spiral-bound notebooks in the attic.)
Where did you study or were you self taught?
Self-taught. I did a brief stint at Parsons’ Summer Intensive Study program during the summer 2004, where I studied fashion illustration, but most of what I know about construction and patternmaking, I learned from taking apart thrift store garments and watching youtube videos. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.
How did you hone your craft?
Experimentation. You slice things apart, you stitch them back together. You cut weird shapes out of fabric and drape them on yourself and try to find new and interesting ways to construct the same old shit. I used to reconfigure things I already owned just to practice sewing and fitting garments. It’s all still a work in progress.
What was your inspiration for this collection? I can see some Yohji Yamamoto/Rei Kawakubo type deconstruction.
I mean, more than anything else, I’m interested in the process clothes go through; more than what they look like when you first buy them, I’m interested in what they look like after they’ve been worn daily for a year. That idea that clothes are ultimately utilitarian, and in a way, also completely autobiographical. I do watch fashion shows, but when I design, I’m not thinking of specific designers or construction techniques so much as I am about a mood or an emotion.
But most of these clothes–well, dresses excluded–I made for myself because I needed clothes. They are, in part, inspired by the Japanese, because I’ve always really responded to their investigation of shape and form and deceptive simplicity, but also in part by the street culture of Copenhagen, where I spent my last year working.
What are your plans for the future? Do you see stores, fashion shows, or market appointments in your future?
No idea. I like to fly by the seat of my pants. All I know is I’m moving up to New York in two weeks. That’s about as far ahead as I’ve planned.
Photographer: Travis Teate
Model: Sophia Chen
Make-Up: JRenee Johnson
Clothing: Michael Huang
Stylist: Marquis Bias