Q&A with designer Chutian Zhong

By: Amanda Ray Filed under: Fashion

February 2, 2015

Chutian Zhong profile

Chutian Zhong
2014, Bachelor of Science, Fashion Design, The Art Institute of Philadelphia

“My teachers are my greatest inspiration. They tell me to do my best [and] push me to explore my every potential.”

Chutian Zhong’s collection, “Stroke of Calligraphy,” reflects the traditional heritage and culture of his homeland, China. The overall style is simple and chic, with intricate detailing inspired by Chinese lettering. Chutian utilizes pique, organza, and cotton fabrics, contrasted with suede and leather to complete the look. Chutian’s industry experience includes working as a design intern for Derek Lam and Anna Sui. The internship and his fashion education helped to prepare him for a career in the industry—and for his debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

The Art Institutes: What is your vision for this collection?

Chutian: I’m always fascinated by clothes with simple silhouettes that have interesting detailing. I wanted a collection that showed my Chinese heritage in an interesting yet concealed way.

The Art Institutes: Describe your design process for this collection.

Chutian: I started [by] thinking how would I interpret “Chinese calligraphy.” I decided to use [cut out fabric] to represent the hard and soft strokes of Chinese lettering. I used contrasting fabrics such as pique, silk, and organza, and spray painted suede and punched leather.

The Art Institutes: How did your education prepare you for this experience?

Chutian: Studying at The Art Institute of Philadelphia prepared me well for this rare opportunity and was a great challenge. My teachers are my greatest inspiration—I’ve had all the best ones to support me. They tell me to do my best [and] push me to explore my every potential.

The Art Institutes: Which designers inspire you?

Chutian: Derek Lam and Phillip Lim. I had a great time interning at Derek Lam.

The Art Institutes: What design blogs or publications do you use as inspiration and reference?

Chutian: I read all kinds of fashion blogs and magazines like W Magazine and I-D. I like to use architecture as my inspiration as well.

The Art Institutes: How are you preparing for the runway event?

Chutian: I’m so excited to be back in United States. This is a whole new experience for me because I’m not a student anymore and this is my first step to get ready for the fashion industry.

Stream the show live at 8PM on Tuesday, February 17. Find out how—and get the date on your calendar!

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