Zhang Na founded her own clothing brand, FAKE NATOO, which currently has six agents and 14 shops throughout China. Zang Na is a firm believer of appreciating traditions passed down from history. As a designer, her long-term motivation and belief is to inherit and broaden traditional handicrafts by her design, to connect the past and present to create valuable and meaningful products.
Zang Na has set up an independent project, Reclothing Bank, alongside FAKENATOO. Reclothing Bank aims at contributing to society and protecting the environment, collecting old and unwanted clothes or fabric off-cuts and turning them into new garments.
You won the International Woolmark Prize [IWP] Asia regional final in 2014/15.
What was the experience like for you?
Participating in the 2012/13 IWP Asia regional was a truly unforgettable experience for me. When I was preparing for the prize, I fractured my right leg and therefore had to conduct all my work in a wheelchair, and because before that I had become interested in the traditional handwork of Qinghai Tibetan carpets, I had decided to use this as inspiration for my Woolmark Prize collection and worked with the same wool as used in the Tibetan carpets.
How did the International Woolmark Prize influence your designs and understanding of wool?
I can say definitely say that IWP opened up a world of possibilities, technically speaking, and after the prize I continued to apply those techniques and fabric developments to my FAKE NATOO collections.
What do you think of wool as a fabric? Do you use it often in your collections?
Wool is a must for all my collections, and every season I like to try new design techniques, whether it is in the graphic design I use, in the fabric developments or in the silhouettes. In the autumn/winter 2015 FAKE NATOO collection called LANDSCAPE, I used huge earth graphics on wool fabric and I also experimented with a brushed effect on the fabric to give it more warmth and depth.
What are your thoughts on the current state of fashion in China, and what are some of the challenges you’ve come up against as a local independent designer?
I think this is the best time but also the worst, so let’s see how I will hold up.
“I used huge earth graphics on wool fabric and I also experimented with a brushed effect on the fabric to give it more warmth and depth.”
Your collections are sold in more than 30 multi-brand boutiques around China, and are also available online on ecommerce websites such as Elleshop.com.cn. Are there any plans to also open up your own store? What is the focus of your retail strategy?
At the moment I am still focusing on the design, on the product. I hope to produce good content because after all we are still content producers and with the cooperation of the detailers we can deliver this content to our customers.
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