This summer, designers Grace Ling, Andrew Kwon, and Private Policy’s Siying Qu and Haoran Li headed to Seoul. While the group’s social media was overloaded with images of new restaurants, traditional bakeries, and the city’s best sightseeing spots, the trip had an ulterior motive. They were exploring Korean culture as they prepared their collections for the CFDA x Genesis House AAPI Design and Innovation Grant. The prize? $60,000 to finance their future collections.
Last night, back in New York, the designers presented their final collections, produced with an initial grant of $40,000 that allowed them to use new technologies like 3D printing. Qu and Li were inspired by fuse beads from their childhoods, 3D printing their own versions in the traditional Obangsaek color scheme of white, black, yellow, blue, and red, which they used to embellish minimal slip dresses and separates. Kwon, meanwhile, incorporated the Mugunghwa flower, a symbol of deep affection, as an opulent embellishment on richly colored evening dresses.
It was Grace Ling’s sculptural gowns with cinched waists and barely-there bodices, inspired by her vision of a femme fatale, that ended up taking home the final prize. “Winning this award is for all of us Asians,” said Ling. The crowd erupted in cheers, before heading out to the slew of New Year’s parties that awaited everyone that evening.