Designer Carla Zhang of Le Ngok talks about the language of mixed media and the societal issues she expresses through design
Related: See the Existence of Wearable Art in the Local Fashion Scene
This One To Watch feature is an excerpt from MEGA’s May 2023 Issue
In her pursuit of adventure, designer Carla Zhang found something more in the Pearl of the Orient. When she visited the Philippines, she was taken aback by the beauty of Palawan and the rich culture of the country. Ten years later, she’s still here bringing her dreams and stories to life—and that of other people’s, too.
“I describe my style as mixed media wear,” Zhang, the creative soul behind the fashion label Le Ngok, explains. “When I started learning about fashion and design, art is not just about what you paint on the canvas. There are so many forms, media, and materials that you can use for art. So, fashion design is not only about fabric or clothing. I realized I can really explain my ideas and thoughts through a different way of presentation.”
In the spirit of exploration, Zhang sourced for various materials in bookstores and hardware stores. Fabric fused with unconventional objects is her own definition of transformational creativity. The very first project she made was composed of broken mirrors, glasses, CDs, and plastic folders. From there, she developed mixed media as her design language.
“For this project, I used different types of wool and manipulated its different colors and textures,” she says, sharing how she made her own fabric by shrinking and connecting wool. “For each project, I like to try something different. It’s a chance for me to experiment. I don’t want to limit myself to just one medium. I love everything. I can’t pick only one thing, color, or design. So why not just combine everything and make it my own style?”
As a creative, Zhang believes that you can be inspired anywhere, by everything. From the cars on the street to the people passing by, the designer has a distinct way of translating inspiration to her work. If it’s for a project or two, she can pick out a certain concept and directly produce from it. But if it’s a full collection, since it calls for cohesiveness, she usually draws inspiration from societal issues—and digs deep from there.
Read more about Carla Zhang’s secret to long lasting wardrobe pieces in MEGA’s May 2023 issue, now available on Readly, Magzter, Press Reader and Zinio
Photography LAWRENCE DE LEON. Creative Direction JONES PALTENG. Fashion Direction RYUJI SHIOMITSU. Beauty Direction MIA CASTRO. Styling CHRISTINE SION, assisted by RONNIE GENORA. Makeup THAZZIA FALEK. Hair JHED DE LEON. Grooming VHIO VILLARICA. Nails NAIL BADDIE. Models DAISY LAD, JUSTIN UY and ICA DY. Sittings Editor BAM ABELLON. Fashion Writer MARIAN SAN PEDRO. Fashion Associate and Shoot Coordination BITHIA REYES. Special thanks to MIKI MICLAT of MERCATOR.