Sunday, 4 July 2010


I always get inspired going to watch the graduate shows and even more so visiting their exhibitions where we can learn the stories behind the collections and see sketchbooks, illustrations, fabrics and the designs up close.

Cynthia Mak has just graduated from CSM (BA) with a strong graphic collection made up of black, sheer and gray set against bold bright blue's, acid lemon and lime with mirror plate disks and metallic bead headpieces. Cynthia and I met up to discuss her collection and she kindly let me take some photographs of her sketchbook. Please see these photo's, some images of her catwalk collection and interview below. Thank you Cynthia.

How old are you?
I have just turned 24.

Where were you born?
Hong Kong, I went to Australia when I was really young and then moved back to Hong Kong.

When did you move to London?
For my degree 4 years ago.

What did you study before moving to London?
Nothing to do with fashion, I did graphics and interior design. I moved to London to do a foundation at CSM and tried fashion for the first time. My mum thought it was weird because i could not sew a button on, had never ironed or done my own laundry. When I selected fashion on my foundation course I got through so decided to go with it!

What do you feel was the best thing about doing a BA at CSM?
I would say being surrounded by so many talented people that inspire you and make you want to be better.

Tell me about your BA collection.
It started off with my research on virtual reality, looking at the artificial world, after that I was inspired by Lee Bontecou, who makes a lot of organic sculptures but using industrial materials so it can look futuristic. After this I was inspired by the North West coast of America, totem poles in particular, thats where all the bold graphics came in.

How did you start work on your collection?
I started by taking shapes out of Lee Bontecou's sculptures to inspire the silhouette of the garments.

What materials did you use and why?
I used a lot of neoprene which allowed me to create sculptured shapes, I also used a mixture of leather and then the majority was mirror plates sourced from Hong Kong which i feel pulled the whole collection together.

Why mirror plates?
One particular image by Lee Bontecou was inspired by the universe using an eye to represent the centre of the universe with everything surrounding this. I felt the mirror plate represented the eye so in the collection I have consciously positioned some of these plates in the centre of the garment.

Where did you get your choice of colours?
It was from a book called Neo Photo, it has loads of photo's of microscopic cells of bugs and birds. These images had very fluorescent colours like purple, neon yellow, green, blue. Very sharp colours.

What designers do you love?
Givenchy, Balenciaga, YSL, I also really love simple stuff too like Calvin Klein, Jil Sander, etc........

What is the plan now?
My biggest aim right now is to find myself a job................ i would love to work in Paris.

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