Interview with designer Suet Yi Shirley Ko (SK), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Improbable Journey Womenswear Collection.

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Interview with Suet Yi Shirley Ko at Tuesday 3rd of May 2016: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
SK : Always think in Improbable ways is my principle for design while I believe in the improbability between cultures and arts,so journeys in my life will be my inspiration for my collection. Life is a moving on journey,every dots comes together to form a line, an infinite line to complete my design journey.By transferring the conceptual ideas through exploring the contrast of past and present, presenting the designs in constructional silhouette to achieve the unlimited boundaries of improbable design.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
SK : Focusing on the mixture of architectural structure and textile development to emphasis the idea of urban cultures of a metropolitan. From the collection, a flourishing city can be projected through the interesting colors and textile development, beside of that, urban arts and street fashion silhouette has been applied on the design to bring out the diversity of the city's cultures. There is a positive message from the collection " Every small stories from a big city create the shiniest moment, Good or bad , Poor or rich, new or old, there are no boundaries in that, live as precious as we can and be improbable to find yourself in a metropolitan."

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
SK : "Improbable Journey" is where my dream start, so I am going to extend the journey into an infinity idea. Launching a label with the idea of improbability to share my journeys with more dreamers in the world is my next plan. "You may say I'm a Dreamer, But I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one." This is the lyrics from "Imagine"-John Lennon and it embraced what I would like to pursue in the future for my label.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
SK : The designs takes more than half year for concept development and four months for producing the actual outfit design.Since I have did some researches through several ways while I was staying in New York City, analyzing the habits and lifestyle of the people is one of the interesting progress for designing this collection. After that, proceeding to the hand-made details of the outfits like interlacing the fabrics and transforming photography into textile prints is another challenge with exciting experience.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
SK : I design the collection to pursuit an inspiration about my journey in New York City. Every parts of the metropolitan have dreamers and people who never stop fighting for their dreams in many ways to balance living and dreams. Emphasizing every particular stories I have interviewed with or experienced with in the city to give a soul to the designs, I always believe in "Getting experience is the best way for creating designs", Through understanding the people around, the cultures around to bring a positive thinking to the audiences.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
SK : I didn't plan to sell this collection, as "Improbable Journey" cannot be sell or cannot be counted with a price in my point of view. But I do intent to produce more works for my label to sustain the idea of improbability and hoping to inspire more people to chase for their dreams and believe in the improbable thinking.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
SK : Abstracting the shapes of architectures and transforming cultural concepts is my view of seeing characters for every inspiration in my life's journey. Based on this vision's principle, I developed designs with my deepest experiences and feelings, my designs grows old with me together, experiences what I see and listen on my journey.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
SK : Since I was born in the 80s-90s, idea of my designs often influenced by 80s-90s, one of the most incredible periods for art,music and cultural.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
SK : Passionate Dreamers.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
SK : The design's inspiration comes from my own journey,and everything are unique as the prints of the fabrics are developed from my photography, the design details on the outfits are handmade by myself and the silhouette are innovated through my particular views on architectural shapes. So I don't see any similar concepts apart from my collection at this moment. I am hoping my collection will inspire more dreamers to develop their dreams through designs and arts.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
SK : The name of the collection "Improbable Journey" comes from my thinking principle "Always think in Improbable ways".With the Improbable concept of my life , I also believes in "A Journey is the best way to learn and create". That is how "Improbable Journey" born.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
SK : Pencil and papers always the simplest way to create idea. I used Pencil and Papers to sketch out my design ideas and using camera to capture the scenes in the city to transform in my designs. Music is one of the important elements help drive my design moods to a better stage while designing at any places anywhere.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
SK : The unique aspect of my design is the journey I have experienced which brings me a vision on seeing the different of the city, in order to transform the idea into the architectural silhouette and artistic textiles with my unique technique on textile designs and cultural concept projection.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
SK : I worked with a Digital printing workshop for the textile printing development progress.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
SK : The role of technology in this design collection is to demonstrate the scenery I have seen through the journey, and brings the vision to the audiences, so that they are able to understand what I have experience for oneself.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
SK : The design collections been through several researches on books and interviews with different people in the city.Beside of that, site-visit researches have been done through visiting family in the city, studying the habits of new yorkers and integrate into their life to find inspiration and elements.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
SK : The largest challenge of the process is the technical problems I faced while designing the 3D silhouette. Since the fabrics I applied on the designs are with different properties , and creating the constructional shapes required a kind of stiffness for the fabrics to maintain the shapes, so the process of developing the shapes with fabrics in a cone-shapes and a paragon-shapes is an difficulty. Beside of the silhouette, applying handmade interlaced patterned elements to the outfits is another challenge as well, I have tried many ways to ensure the interlaced textile's components fixed on the outfits in a regular appearance.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
SK : I am hoping the design collection will give more inspiration to the dreamers in the World and bring a message of "Think Improbable" to encourage more passionate designers. That's why I decide to join the international design competition and looking forward to reach more people in the world and share the ideas.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
SK : I learnt to think in improbable ways. There is a Chinese quote "The sea can hold the water from thousands of rivers, it's big because of its capacity. A person is great when he can be tolerant and forgiving to many other people." Sharing is the best idea to improve myself and learnt from every single story and people around me will bring big success to the World .

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
SK : What is Design for you? Design is about life and journey, never stop exploring your next journey with improbable thinking.