Home » Hong Yu – ESMOD Berlin

Hong Yu identifies herself as an experimental artist who uses the human body as the canvas, and fashion as the primary artistic medium. In 2015, she started her own design studio ónG, which works with private clients, scientists and textile producers to develop and produce conceptual garments. The core idea of the studio is to develop customized products that incorporate nature throughout the process- from material production to product’s end of life cycle. Her philosophy is that each material has its own personality and behaviour. As a designer, one should not work against the material’s nature, or give it an inappropriate function this would cause the material to end up in landfills. Rather, one should respect and co-create with it.

Project Description: Design with Life

Nature is the most genius creator of all. She has experienced millions of years of successes and failures while designing and crafting this world. Hong’s proposal is that designers should learn from the other lives in nature – to ‘Design with Life’.

This new design strategy utilized biotechnology in the aims to demonstrate a material-centered approach towards design, to provide ecologically effective solutions to industry problems, and to enable the use of micro-organisms for bio-remediation.

Taking her concept into practice, Hong focused on the making of fabric dyes because it is one of the most polluting processes during textile production, she explored the alternative – Living Dyes which is dyeing textiles with natural pigments produced by microorganisms. Designing with life allowed her to ask and expose unique aspects in the design process and in the role of the designer. Using living organisms that create matter as an integral part of the design process can refresh and inform traditional definitions in design and production, both on theoretical and practical levels.

What does sustainability mean to you?

The idea of sustainability is not only the sustainability of CO2 emissions and one’s carbon footprint, but also the sustainability of human and product relationships. It is about how one can behave and build a relationship with the product, as technology takes on a role in the process.

How are your designs sustainable/ ethical?

The design follows the cradle to cradle philosophy, which is that materials should be made of 100% biodegradable materials, with minimum chemical usage throughout their life cycle, and which will in the end become nutrients for nature. The whole collection is made of responsible grown biodegradable materials, and with minimum waste design patterns:

Living dyed textiles

Ramie-based fabrics, peace silk-based fabrics

Re-purposing fabric scraps by laser cutting and embroidery

What are the/ your challenges in Sustainable fashion?

Nowadays, it’s unavoidable to talk about fashion and not think about the poor

working conditions in factories, the colored rivers, or the waste the fashion

industry has created. Unfortunately, most people are still in denial. They don’t

want their fancy clothes to be related with such unpleasant images, but the

thoughts are in their subconscious. The challenge is to bring the subconscious into consciousness.

If there is anything new, never before shown or otherwise unknown about what you will be showing, please share it with us.

Living Dye, also known as microbial dye, is a technique that uses pigment produced microbe as an alternative dyestuff. For this collection, I sourced three types of microbes- Serratia marcescens, Micrococcus luteus, and Sarcina aurantiaca, Then I used them to dye the fabrics in the collection