“Experimental” aka /uhk·speh·ruh·men·tl/ aka “involving a radically new and innovative style” — thank you, Merriam-W. Shenzhen-born New York-based designer Meiyi Yang uses her jewelry as a new language for debating the ever-trending topics of love’s rises and ruins, society’s she-battlegrounds, and freedom’s fortunes. Musing the fears of constant repetition, Utopia is a battlefield.
Designer Meiyi Yang throughout her craft expresses a three-step process of flowing, melting, and vanishing. Her experimental jewelry strives to strike the balance between male and female, ethereal beauty and bold backbone, torrential technological advancement and the calm and quiet hiding in the eye of society’s storm. Creating a catalyst, fashion hereby becomes a new language for debating love, and other “drugs,” in our time.
Avoiding all sense of repetition, Yang, for example, tells the folk tales of Chinese warriors who transcended the limitations of gender and social connotation and translates these into the universal language of molded metals — born by siblings in bold fashion arms, only.
As this designer lifts us up where we belong, Temper enters the Yang Utopia.
Go-Between, In Between
Women take on many different roles in society. The mother is busy taking care of the children, the obedient child behaves solemnly in front of her parents, the student works hard to maintain that academic A+++ and the diligent employee duly takes note of her company’s every word. Frequently switching between the aforementioned typecast roles, life now is far more difficult than imagined. The workplace, school, family… Each and every one of these often becomes one woman’s “battleground” due to social discrimination and prejudice. “Pride” thus becomes your ally.
The inspiration of the IN BETWEEN collection originally stems from that one Chinese folk story about “Mulan”. The original, minus Disney prince. By taking her father’s place in the army, Mulan had managed to transform herself from “weak” girl into “mean” girl, in a positive way, a powerful woman warrior. Although armored characters are generally men at first glance slash thought, Yang in this Warrior Princess-inspired design project expressed the belief that women not only can use jewelry as a way to spruce up their outfit but they, too, can be equipped with fashion’s armor to take on their various roles in daily life and pave the path for a powerful future.
Additionally, the concept of IN BETWEEN seeks coexistence and balance. The above choices in “fragile versus fighter” go hand in hand. Just like armor and jewelry, they are sibling items of significant difference. For example, the former seems destined for males, while the latter is generally born by females. Yang’s work, however, connects both and mixes them together so as to produce beauty with a rougher tougher edge. Such body pieces do not only protect women and create a strong appearance but also display their beauty and elegance.
Creating Castles In The Sky
The animated “Laputa: Castle In The Sky” (天空の城ラピュタin Japanese) was Yang’s favorite film growing up. Directed by the infallible Hayao Miyazaki, its 1986 storyline follows the adventures of a young boy and girl attempting to keep a magic crystal from a group of military agents while searching for a legendary floating castle in the sky. Laputa Island looks like a giant tree which, in Yang’s view, is the home to our souls; it is a goliath steadily hovering within the eye of a tornado, all that is quiet and calm hiding inside. With the development of our modern-day society, urban life has become overtly cramped and over-crowded, overflowing with activity to the extent that we can hardly find a quiet place for our minds to rest, decompress.
The people of Laputa, though the island is a society of extremely advanced scientific and technological achievements, are more willing to return to their natural essence, waiting to be found by those who are keen to develop advanced science and technology, and, at the same time, musing on the end of all tech development. Yang believes that within everyone’s heart, there should be a Laputa; the purest of land which allows the urban man to calm down and reflect upon ourselves.
The ring Yang created embodies the epitome of Laputa in her own heart, inlaid with a variety of colorful gems, becoming a place where her dreams and sorrows are stored, all of which combined make up the beautiful scenery that is Yang’s Laputa-esque Utopia. The collection’s bracelet, featuring some obvious structural designs, implies the building of a personal home for the soul, decorating them with beautiful stones and patterns to establish one’s own castle. featuring one’s own life stories.
In Fear Of Constant Repetition
The late architect Zaha Hadid (1950-2016) once mentioned in an interview being “against right angles,” and that, in her opinion, constant repetition is the most boring thing that can possibly happen.
Mother Nature features no such thing like a perfectly straight line, but only shows off the vagaries that are “curves,” by which the creative heart of Yang is far more affected than such modern mantras as “Less is More” or “Simplicity is Beauty.”
Hadid’s source of inspiration subsequently is affected by natural forms. “Beauty” is one of the most important standards for the design of jewelry. While Modernists excessively chase functionality and simplicity, these all fall into oblivion when confronted with today’s true, non-fast, art of accessorizing, ever-encouraging innovation and character. This reasoning in se is why we all should look at “beauty” from new, non-conforming angles. Blurred, curved lines are the new brash fash.
Escaping The Ordinary, Entering Utopia
The most desirous thing in the lookbook of Yang is the concept of “freedom.” Out of this curiosity and wonder, stems an experimental ring called ring “Escape.” The piece showcases Yang’s hopes to escape from pressure and foray into freedom. Yet as often is the case in life, there is a catch. When people try so hard to escape from their “undesirable” situations, they may end up only finding themselves running into other unsatisfactory dilemmas. Ergo, there is no real freedom.
One example she brings to the table on the topic at hand is that of marriage. “There is a book called ‘Fortress Siege’ by a famed Chinese writer Qian Zhongshu [1910-1998] in which he wrote, ‘Marriage is like a fortress besieged: those who are outside want to get in, and those who are inside want to get out’.” Quote, Yang.
Mankind is continuously in pursuit of higher goals, and that cycle repeats itself ad infinitum. People believe whatever comes next will be better, the grass is always greener, etc., but often ignore the present which could deprive them of some wonderful memories in the making. The “Escape” ring serves as a constant reminder for Yang that no matter what life you are chasing after, cherishing all that is well and wonderful and right in front of you is equally important.
You have alreayd entered a state of bold bliss.
Both mind and body are creative platforms that enable expression and growth.
Utopia is all around.
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FEATURED IMAGE: Meiyi Yang Jewelry, “Mother and Child,” 2019. All rights reserved
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After tackling Beijing for some six years where she worked for China International Publishing Group, she spent a moment in time moseying down steep alleyways and writing about their fashionable and underground features in Hong Kong.
Van Paridon most recently managed to claw her way through a Europe-based academic endeavor called "Journalism". 'Tis in such fashion that she has now turned her lust for China Fashion/ Lifestyle and Underground into a full time occupation.
Van Paridon hunts down the latest in Chinese menswear, women’s clothing, designer newbies, established names, changes in the nation’s street scenery, close-ups of particular trends presently at play or of historical socio-cultural value in Chinaplus a selection of budding photographers.
Paired with a deep devotion to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon holds a particular interest in the topics of androgyny, the exploration of individuality and the power that is the Key Opinion Leader (the local term for “influencers”) in contemporary China.
Latest posts by Elsbeth van Paridon (see all)
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