EXCLUSIVE: Carla Zhang on Why Her Mother is the Inspiration Behind Her Paris Fashion Week Debut

EXCLUSIVE: Carla Zhang on Why Her Mother is the Inspiration Behind Her Paris Fashion Week Debut


Carla Zhang shares with MEGA her design inspiration, as she honors her mother, and anticipates Le Ngok’s Paris Fashion Week debut

Innovation is the heartbeat of creativity, and Carla Zhang materializes as this innovator. The Chinese designer ingrains her brand, Le Ngok, with exploratory designs that teeter on the edge of convention. From her roots as an intrepid student, fueled by a fervor for experimentation, to her ascent towards international recognition, Zhang’s brand opens like bubbles of inspiration rising from a cauldron of originality. Her pot of ambition serves the potential of fearless exploration and unyielding dedication, one that includes an inexhaustible supporter—her mother.

RELATED: Let Le Ngok’s Carla Zhang Introduce You To The Fashion Concept of Mixed Media Wear

Turning Materials into Marvels

From the corridors of a design institute to the stages of Paris Fashion Week, Le Ngok forges its trajectory with Carla Zhang at the helm, committed to expanding the horizons of experimental design. Reflecting on her modest beginnings, Zhang fondly recalls how her exploration of unconventional materials through mixed media laid the foundation for Le Ngok’s aesthetic. Each pivot and progression contributed to the brand’s shift into a vanguard of innovative fashion.  

Le Ngok's Paris Fashion Week Debut is a Dream Fulfilled
Le Ngok’s The Pot is made from renewable bioplastic constructed through 3D printing and hand-knotted macramé straps

“It all started when I began learning about fashion,” Zhang recalls. “That was also the time I started to know about art. So I go to a lot of art fairs, I go to a lot of galleries or art shows.” It was through these scenes of artistic expression that Zhang stumbled upon the concept of mixed media—a revelation that would alter her approach to design.

Mixed Media Metamorphosis

“I realized there’s a type of art called mixed media,” Zhang muses, her voice tinged with excitement. “I was drawn towards those with interesting textures on canvas or sculptures, where the description is mixed media.” In those moments, the designer found herself captivated by the options that mixed media offered. “The artist himself didn’t just stay with acrylic or oil,” she explains. “Instead, he explored into more materials that one might never thought of to use, like sand, paper, or metal, whatever, and it made the artwork more interesting.”

Le Ngok's Paris Fashion Week Debut is a Dream Fulfilled
The Pot comes in two styles, including the Bubble

As Zhang’s understanding of mixed media deepened, so did its relevance to her craft. “I thought about what I’m doing,” her tone is introspective yet resolute. “It’s like I’m doing a similar thing. An artist does not only work with acrylic or oil, so as a fashion designer, I don’t only work with fabric.” With this realization, the designer redefined her approach to design and adopted mixed media as her medium of choice.

“That’s why I like to call it mixed media wear,” she concludes, her voice filled with conviction. “Because to me, the mannequin or the human form itself is like a blank canvas. I can choose any material to work with and create the kind of art I want.”

Le Ngok's Paris Fashion Week Debut is a Dream Fulfilled
The other style is smooth

Her and Her Mother

Rooted in the designer’s Chinese heritage and nurtured by her journey, the name LE NGOK encapsulates the essence of joy, happiness, and creativity. For Zhang, Le Ngok manifests her personality and pursuit of artistry. Each design bears the imprint of her heritage, infused with vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and a sense of cultural richness. “It carries a meaning of joy, happiness, and interest,” Zhang explains.

Le Ngok's Paris Fashion Week Debut is a Dream Fulfilled
Each piece takes over 800 layers to print for over 50 hours

Yet, Zhang’s foray into fashion wasn’t a solitary one; it was nurtured by the support of her mother. “Ngok is my mom’s family name,” the designer reveals. “She’s been the biggest supporter to me ever since I had a dream of fashion design.” It was her mother’s encouragement that gave Zhang the courage to pursue her passion, despite the challenges and uncertainties that lay ahead. “Without her, I probably wouldn’t have continued, or even thought that my dream was possible,” she admits, her words carrying the weight of profound gratitude.

Finally, Paris Fashion Week

And now she’s in Paris Fashion Week. As Le Ngok prepares to make its debut at the fashion capital through Tranoï, a leading trade show that features new creatives, Zhang’s excitement is palpable. For her, this opportunity represents the culmination of years of dedication and perseverance, a chance to share her vision with a global audience of fashion aficionados.

Le Ngok's Paris Fashion Week Debut is a Dream Fulfilled
Innovative tecninques like 3D printing and traditional methods like macramé are practiced for the making of the bag

At the forefront of Le Ngok’s showcase at the trade show stands a remarkable innovation in accessory design—the Pot bags. Carla Zhang, the visionary behind Le Ngok, elucidates the significance of these creations with unwavering enthusiasm. “The highlight is the Pot bags,” she enthuses, “the 3D printed bags with macramé straps, because I think that’s more unique when it comes to techniques and the combination.”

Zhang incorporated innovative elements like 3D printing alongside ancient techniques such as macramé. “Because of the Pot, when you look at it, it has innovative elements, which is 3D printing. At the same time, I combined it with a traditional technique, which is macramé, which has been here for 1000s of years.”

“I’m trying to recreate macramé and turn it into modern and contemporary,” she clarifies. “But still, technically speaking, I’m just combining two traditional techniques and one new technology together to create a new vibe and look for a bag, which I think is more unique to the market.”

Le Ngok's Paris Fashion Week Debut is a Dream Fulfilled
The Oneness is derived from her previous RTW collection

As the designer unveils the Pot bags, she exudes confidence in their ability to captivate audiences and redefine accessory design. “I have two styles,” she reveals. “One is the Pot with a smooth surface. So another one is the Bubble Pot. So it has two styles, and each style comes with two sides. One regular and one mini. And all of them have different straps. So this is my main highlight.” Additionally, Zhang further added the Oneness bag, zipped and opened up horizontally or vertically, and derived from her last RTW collection called “Oneness”.

Le Ngok's Paris Fashion Week Debut is a Dream Fulfilled
The Oneness is crafted from dead stock zippers
Le Ngok's Paris Fashion Week Debut is a Dream Fulfilled
It comes in horizontal or vertical lines

In Carla Zhang’s avant-garde universe, fashion is a fusion of mixed media magic. Through Le Ngok, she inspires aspiring Asian designers to forge their dreams with innovation and courage. With passion, persistence, and a supportive network, Zhang demonstrates that no challenge is too daunting and no boundaries are too restrictive. Whether the medium is fabric or technology, cloth or chrome, or even the bubbling persistence of opening a zipper to reveal something grander, in the world of Le Ngok, the only limit is your imagination.

Featured Image: LE NGOK

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