SYN-BIOMORPH

With definitions of her work spanning “a structure or form that combines multiple living organisms or biological elements” or “a hybrid organism created through synthetic techniques”, Xinyi Tao’s fashion design imagines a biomorphic future where the line between wear and wearer is completely blurred. Explore this material interbecoming in today’s feature, accompanied by an insightful interview with the cutting-edge artist.

What do you seek to add to the world as a young and emerging designer?

I’m actually quite simple when doing designs, I just enjoy being myself and working out something new that I have never seen before. If I am to be more specific, I would say creating a unique blend of a futuristic vision and Asian aesthetics, harnessing my cultural background to bring something distinct to the fashion industry.

Social media is a big part of our lives and a significant source of inspiration for all of us. When developing your creative projects, have you ever felt pressured to conform to popular fashion trends on social media?

Indeed, social media has become a dominant force in our lives and especially in the fashion world. I think people unconsciously fall into the trap of social media. It is not an easy thing to keep reminding myself not to be influenced by other people’s thoughts. A simple thing I do is to intentionally limit my time on social media and just focus on what I am interested in. An important habit I developed is to try not to rely on second-hand resources and drawing inspiration from diverse sources beyond the digital world such as literature, nature and architecture.

You named your collection Syn-biomorph. What can we imagine behind that word? What is the main message behind the collection?

“Syn-biomorph” is a word I invented. It could mean a structure or form that combines multiple living organisms or biological elements. It could also refer to a hybrid organism created through synthetic techniques. In this collection, I aimed to reinterpret biomorphism in a sci-fi aesthetic that I am deeply passionate about, drawing inspiration from Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto and Simians, Cyborgs & Women – The Reinvention of Nature. Haraway’s work has been instrumental in shaping my understanding of the “cyborg” as an entity that blurs the lines between human and animal, organism and machine, natural and unnatural. This hybrid form incites a yearning to create something that combines contradicting visual aspects using unconventional materials, ultimately pushing the boundaries of what we perceive as fashion. In my research, I delved into the world of biomorphist art, with a particular focus on the sculptures of Isamu Noguchi. Noguchi’s art represents a synthesis of Eastern spatial aesthetics and the modern rationality of the West, creating a harmonious blend of organic forms and industrial materials. I am especially drawn to the way Noguchi expertly crafts stones of varying dimensions, evoking a sense of fluidity and movement that translates well into fashion.

Can you speak about your creative process, and how you decide which materials to use in your collection?

My process to outcomes is quite interesting in that my initial sketch lineups usually evolve dramatically, and share a completely different look from the final ones. Every fitting is transformative; I find it inspiring how materials and silhouettes interact differently on the human body. I chose 3D modeling and printing as an essential media for this collection due to its structural versatility and sustainability, avoiding waste and promoting environmental consciousness.

What is your ultimate source of inspiration?

Outer-space and sci-fi novels.

As a designer, do you envision fashion differently in the far future?

Of course! Especially in this era when technology and AI develop at a fast speed. I always believe that fashion will continue to intertwine with technology, becoming increasingly adaptive and personalized. Sustainability will also become more central, with materials and manufacturing processes becoming more eco-friendly. So, I envision a future where fashion is technologically advanced, sustainably crafted, and highly personalized.

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Bio

Xinyi Tao (preferred name Tao) is a fashion designer and 3D artist. Born and raised in Suzhou, China and now based in New York, she explores the dimensions and boundaries of fashion design and achieves with a unique pattern making skill. In Tao’s thesis collection, her “Syn-biomorph” creations challenge conventional notions of fashion by blending opposing visual elements and materials. Donna Haraway’s work has been instrumental in shaping her understanding of the “cyborg” as an entity that blurs the lines between human and animal, organism and machine, natural and unnatural. The artist fuses sci-fi aesthetics with Biomorphism, and reinterprets organic forms through a unique, futuristic lens.

Credits

Designer / Xinyi Tao @ta0ooo

Interview / Kateřina Hynková

Collection “Syn-biomorph” credits 

Photographer: @xuziqinicky

Photo Assistant: @stefy.lin

Makeup: @shokomakeup

Hair: @yukikie

Model: @alinazeezhang

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