The audience was met with a giant robot installation with wings made of kites at the Susan Fang spring 2024 show inside a sports center in Little Venice, north London.
The designer explained that the set symbolized the duality of humanity and machinery. “Humans always want to fly, while robots want to have a soul. We all want something we don’t have. This is really an open conversation. I am here to embrace the beauty of both, and embrace the beauty of human spirit and energy,” she added.
That, translated into a runway collection, meant 3D printed bags and sunglasses juxtaposed with labor-intensive techniques such as a dress with over 600 handcrafted bead trees made by mothers from the Yi ethnic group in China, as part of the partnership with a local charity group.
Fang also offered new ways of combining human intellect and machine excellence. She introduced a new technique called air-weave smocking, where the fabric is constructed layer by layer through both mechanics and human effort, appearing like weightless smoke in the form of dreamy dresses floating on the body.
She utilized artificial intelligence in the design process as well to develop prints that are based on childhood paintings from her boyfriend and her mother. While this method provided infinite possibilities, Fang noted that human curation is still key to preserving creative integrity.
“It’s a great experimentation. In the end, we can still create patterns that feel like watercolors or hand-printed in our own style,” she added.