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The Fashion Spread

February 15, 2019 | ISSUE 10

By Ziyun Cai, Pei Lin Cheng & Hosna Wesal


Three students passionately prepare their fashion design art portfolios for college admissions.

What inspires them to work so hard?

Inspired by Life, Ziyun Cai

I hear people say that parents are the best example for their children. They grow up to follow in their footsteps. As a child, I lived in Jiangxi, China with my grandparents. My mother and father were hours away in FuZhou working as costume makers in my aunt's garment factory. Every summer vacation I’d visit them, yet it felt strange. They weren’t like other parents. They didn’t take me to amusement parks or zoos. Instead, I spent my summers at that factory. I hated making clothes and I thought my parents didn't care about me at all. 

When my aunt saw that I was frustrated and upset in the factory, she’d tell me stories. Once she told me the story of a beautiful princess within a book called Idollhome. Afterward my aunt said she was creating Idollhome's childrens wear. The next day she showed me the process of making clothes and opened my eyes. I helped her pull cloth, watched the tailors cut the fabric, and distributed the fabric to the production workers who spliced them into various parts to form pieces for clothing. My aunt told me, “This is not over.” After the workers finished, we used ribbons, sequins and other things to make small flowers and decorations to be sewn on the clothes one-by-one. Next was the wash test and finally, the ironing and packing. 

When I helped with the packing, I found that the clothes had the same style as the clothes that Barbie wore. I became so interested in design. I started to make clothes for Barbie with some leftover cloth. When I was ten, I began using needlework to make clothes for my dog. At 12, my mom taught me how to use a sewing machine to help out at the factory. Since then I’ve learned to use various settings on the machines: Zigzag, Buttonhole, and more. Summers became a time of happiness. Even after immigrating to the U.S., I continued to design and make clothing. These experiences made me discover that fashion design is my passion. 

When I successfully communicate through my creations, I feel that other people can understand more about me. I collaborate to improve myself. Showing others who I am and being proud of myself helps me move closer to achieving my dreams. 

Modern life has big impact on people, many people have different characteristics in their minds when it comes to  fashion. Because I am a Chinese, I want to blend blue and white porcelain and cheongsam but I don't want the traditional Chinese cheongsam. So I designed this modern blue and white porcelain cheongsam. Because the diversity of clothing, I tried the design of dresses and casual wear.

No matter which style of clothing, it is a relaxing way for me. Most people relax on their smartphones, but electronic products are not the only way to relax. Designing and drawing can also be very relaxing. If you think that the making fashion designs is too difficult, you can try with making some small dolls first.

Fashion Confidence, Pei Lin Cheng

As the saying goes, “Art comes from life.” For me, life comes from art. It was 2013 when I immigrated. I lost my close friends by moving and my world became three simple things: attending school, watching anime and making art. It was enough for many years, but then, in 2017 something changed. I began developing a vague dream for my future that has become more clear with time. It is to become a designer with my own business creating womenswear. I fantasize about this and draw possible designs and logos. I’m not a confident person, so I want all the girls and those who identify as female to gain confidence as they wear my designs. 

When I designing the clothes, I always use an inspiration to make me think about what to design. Inspiration could be anything, a fish, a rock, a pancake, everything is possible. 

My inspirations usually come from my life. For example, when I saw something interesting or grabs my attention, I will take a picture or draw it on a piece of paper so I can use it later when I design the clothes. When I have no inspiration to use, I will think about what animals and foods that I like and search about it. This can help me to get some inspirations.

I interesting in design was because I love to buy clothes and shoes. When I have to spend money to buy clothes, sometimes the clothes that I brought actually didn't fit me, it kinda wasted my money. So a big reason that I love to design is I can design clothes for myself. So the clothes will fit me and I don’t need to spend money to buy it.

I am not a really confident person, so I want all the girls and those who identify as female to gain confidence when they wear my clothes. For me fashion is an attitude toward life, a magic that creates people’s confidence. Since people and fashion are hand-in-hand, it enables transformation. Fashion defines much of a person’s identity by helping others to understand someone through their style. 

Every morning when I wake up I think about how I make people understand me by my outfit. I really enjoy design because I believe it could bring me confidence and I hope I can use this skill to bring confidence to more people.

Healing Art, Hosna Wesal

My best friend Nilofar once told me, “Have confidence. Follow your passion. Be strong and never give up your life.” When I left Afghanistan for the U.S. I wanted to be my best for her, so I strived to become the person she described in these three pieces of advice. 


I love fashion – playing with the different shapes, colors, and patterns. I remember being 7 years-old, and falling into large pieces of fabric – wrapping several pieces together, shaping them around me, and making myself quick, silly costumes. It seems strange now, but I never thought of becoming a fashion designer until I was about 13 or 14 years old. In Afghanistan, we wore required school uniforms with no unique or special thing about them. I asked Nilofar, “Why do we even have to wear these plain uniforms?” She laughed and said, “One day you should become a designer and design clothes because you have such good vision.” I started thinking about designing my own modern, stylish, artistic and fun clothing line.

 In fashion, there are many choices to be made since we get dressed everyday. I find clothing intriguing because it’s used to express who we are as human beings, even if we are not conscious of it. Our choices of what we wear, or what we don’t, is very personal and intimate, and it’s always changing depending on our mood, our surroundings or what’s happening to us. Frustratingly, I’ve always had difficulty finding clothes that fit me and finding beautiful, affordable, well-harmonized colors. 

Creating pieces that fit and promote important values in people’s lives like respect, peace, and belonging through color is healing for all because what people wear affects the way they behave and communicate in a society. For instance, when a person does not feel confident or beautiful enough then hopelessness begins to grow. 

Being a fashion designer is not just about designing clothes; it’s beyond than that. I want to heal others through color therapy and customization within fashion by designing pieces full of rich, harmonizing colors that fit well and affect a wearer’s energy, giving them more confidence. This can heal. I embrace myself and aim for my goals, by constantly pushing myself to find courage to face my fears. My love for art and fashion is infinite. 

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