Historic Fashion Meets Contemporary Designs By Ann Yee, Arbitrage, Cody Sai, and Janet Zheng
Last night, New York’s CUE Art Foundation was the venue for a night of fashion organized by the China Institute’s Young Associates program to foster the next generation of China Institute patrons. The fashion show, broken up into two parts – “Fashion Then” and “Fashion Now” — first featured examples of traditional Chinese fashion, then showcased the work of four up-and-coming Asian-American fashion designers, complemented by a jewelry display by ken + dana.
“Fashion Then” consisted of ten looks, including both traditional men’s and women’s fashion, from China’s ancient Zhou Dynasty to today. Guiding us through the fashions of the Tang, Song, Yuan and Qing Dynasties to a present-day traditional Chinese wedding gown, the outfits shown showed evidence of the new technologies and influences that shaped each era. After a short intermission, the “Fashion Now” program kicked off, featuring the work of four designers: Cody Sai, Janet Zheng, Arbitrage, and Ann Yee.
Cody Sai Adler-McAllister, a Fashion Design graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, has previously worked for Dutch designer Koos Van Den Akker, and currently works for Jed Root Inc, a talent management agency for top creatives in the fashion field. His nine womenswear looks last night showed a focus on casual comfort, with soft silks and easy dresses, with very subtle clues to the Asian influences that infused their cut, flow and material.
Janet Zheng is a menswear designer, with a Textile and Apparel Design background from Cornell. Janet has won two national design competitions, awarded by the Fashion Group International and Council of Fashion Designers of America, for her menswear collections. Having moved to New York from Kunming, China at a young age, her work has roots in her Chinese heritage as well as her current position at Macy’s, where she designs men’s tailored clothing. The only designer to exclusively cast Asian models, the result was a nine-look collection of tailored jackets and draped layers, supplemented by dark scarves and hi-top sneakers.
Arbitrage was formed by Alan Chan and Manoj Dadlani, from Cornell, who were dissatisfied with the slim-fit clothing available on the market, in terms of fit, price, and quality. Out of this frustration sprung Arbitrage, a line launched to create not only the perfect dress shirt, but also a lifestyle. Now Arbitrage delivers shirts fitted for all body types, available at top retailers like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. The menswear collection shown at the CUE Art Foundation showed a wide range of Arbitrage’s design, with tailored fits, unique details like a poker patterned print cuff, and their trademark hooded shirts.
Ann Yee is a Michigan native who has worked with design teams for Barney’s, LaROK, Elizabeth and James, and Alice + Olivia. Having spent time in her parents’ native Hong Kong, she counts the risk-taking style of Hong Kong locals as an influence, as well as the playful use of color she observed on trips to London. Having started in knitwear design, Ann Yee’s fourth collection, shown at “Fashion Now,” showed diversity, combining knitwear with soft fabrics and architectural cuts. Her items can be found at some of New York’s specialty boutiques; albertine, EVA New York, krisTEES, and TG-170.
Framing the fashion show were cocktail hours for socializing and networking, and with a good turnout, the China Institute Young Associates succeeded in creating an atmosphere for students and young professionals to come together and enjoy a cultural takeaway.
The Jing Daily team would like to thank Karen Yuen, Calvin Kung, Catherine Chen, and Lauren Rich of Rich PR for organizing this event. For more information about the China Institute or the Young Associates program, visit the China Institute website.