In Conversation with Designer Sue Wong
“What good is fashion unless it stirs up genuine emotion! Love and beauty have a magical, tranformative power.”
~ Sue Wong
KS: In an interview with CCTV you state that you are a “hybrid or bridge between the East and the West,” which is also the focus of KNOT Magazine. Do you see your designs as bringing cultural understanding and unity between the two worlds?
SW: I think there is a powerful DNA memory that runs within our veins. Whether we are aware of it or not, it certainly translates into our art, our creations. I think we’re living in a time when Globalization is creating revolutionary progresses in culture, literature, philosophy, art, fashion and all things Life. That said, I am the quintessential “hybrid”. I have made my career in the West, but certainly carry the voice of my heritage. When you are faced with high quality Art, you are automatically transported into a realm of contemplation, introspection and you learn about yourself and grow into the quantum potential of what you have to offer. This act of Transformation is exactly what I invest in each and every one of my designs. I don’t merely design clothing. My gowns offer a powerful Transformational experience. Awakenings/epiphanies are procured when two former oppositions are juxtaposed and subsequently perceived as being complimentary of one another. Therein lies profound understanding of the Human condition. The future has a way of creeping up on us much faster than expected. It’s no longer about the East vs the West (and vice-versa). The Human race can no longer afford perceiving things in oppositions, but rather in symbiosis. Not too long ago, world economists predicted that the only future paradigm that would guarantee world economies would be the concept of “Chimerica”. That is no longer a theory. It is in the Here and Now and yes, rather serendipitously (although I never believe in any accidents) my designs do carry this hybridized message – a bridge between the East and the West, because that is who I am.
KS: Your spring 2015 collection “Fairies and Sirens” explores the dual nature of the feminine. How do you express this concept through your designs?
SW: I have a deep philosophical side and have always been very interested in thinkers like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. With my last collection--my FAIRIES AND SIRENS Spring 2015 Collection--I wanted to juxtapose the contrast between the light and dark aspects of feminine nature and human nature. Dark is the Unconscious, the unrealized parts of our own femininity and Light is the ultimate Beauty that each and every one of us continuously strives to grow towards. The "Fairies and Sirens" theme examines this dance of chiaroscuro, between our two opposing yet complementing counterparts: Light and Dark; Fairy and Siren.
Experience my FAIRIES AND SIRENS inter-dimensional runway show video through the following link: www.vimeo.com/109288112.
KS: The theme for the winter issue of KNOT Magazine is love, passion, and seduction. I hear the word “seduction” used frequently in regards to your art and philosophy. Can you expound upon seduction and how it applies to your designs and to woman.
SW: I have always been intrigued and love to examine the Seduction of fashion. We live in a time when everything is over-exposed. We have become desensitized. Whatever happened to the power of Glamour? – the beautiful, evocative journey of discovering a precious rose at the very epicenter of a beautifully-layered blossom. The act of mutual (self-) discovery and incredible journey of Seduction that unfolds is incomparable. Less is always far more and it is spell-binding to see how dresses that cover a greater percentage of the female body are by far more sexy, evocative and exude poetic, undeniable seduction than the otherwise forced over-exposure that in a way has imploded on itself.
KS: I am a firm believer that fashion design tells a story and is a form of literature unto itself. How do your designs tell a story?
SW: Quality Art is always a story. Excellent Art is an entire Odyssey – an enticing mythology that grabs at our most inner sensitivities. I design with this in mind. My mantra is Beauty ~ Magic ~ Transformation. It’s a story of external as well as internal Transformation – empowering women. It’s the quintessential fairytale seen through the eyes of fabric, texture and paramount presentation. I invest my design mantra of Beauty ~ Magic ~ Transformation in each and every gown I design. My gowns awaken the Feminine Divine and honor the inner Goddess that resides in every woman. For this reason, I offer the woman who wears SUE WONG an experience of Transformation through the doorway of beauty.
KS: Being a creative force, what writers inspire you?
SW: I'm constantly learning and evolving. I believe that everything in life happens for a higher reason towards the growth and evolution of our souls. Everyone whom I meet along my spiritual path is a karmic reunion. There are no accidents in life--we create and manifest the reality that we live. This applies to all writers whose work I have read. Good writing is equally a Transformational experience. I have immersed myself within and practice Jungian teachings for the past 17 years. Sub-texts expose incredible confessions and learnings/teachings about the Human Condition. I love all things passionate and engaging and again never limit myself to a specific writer and/or style nor movement. I do gravitate towards the existential thinkers – the school of Sartre, Camus, de Beauvoir and more recent modern-day teachers of profound scale such as Joseph Campbell; and yet the trick is to never close yourself off from “the other” – a new opportunity, a new “voice”…whatever and whoever that might be. Passion and Heart, those are the two requisites I seek in every aspect of Life and Art, including writing.
KS: Words are powerful and can transform. If your designs could speak what would they say? How do they transform the wearer?
SW: Beware of what you surround yourself with, whether it be Art hanging on your walls or books on your desk. It’s a case of you are/become what you eat – in this case what you “visually and therefore psychologically and spiritually ingest”. My designs are saturated with a powerful message of Transformation. They epitomize the idiomatic expression: “A picture is worth a thousand words”. I see it time and again; even with established actresses who come in to our showroom to be dressed. I am amazed to witness their transformation when they put on a SUE WONG gown. You can see it in their eyes – eyes being the mirror of the soul – as it should be since true transformation is birthed at the very core, our soul and then the ripple effects eventually progress into the outer, more physical realms. In essence a SUE WONG gown awakens the inner divine Goddess that resides in each and every woman.
KS: Chinese culture has gifted the literary world with such giants as Shu Ting, Bei Dao, Amy Tan, Sun Tzu, Ha Jin, Du Fu, among many others. Does Chinese literature influence you? Or do you see yourself not belonging to any particular movement?
SW: I think the aspect of Chinese literature and teachings that inspires me is the profound consciousness and awareness of cause and consequence. Everything and everyone is inter-connected. Existence is a form of “Cloud Atlas”. You can’t expect to execute something in one given space and not expect its ripple effects to result in consequences in another. I was brought up in the way of the Tao. I reiterate, I never limit myself to any given category. I see myself beyond borders, beyond culture, beyond politics, beyond any given categorization and yet feel the way of the Tao (being a philosophy and way of life to best optimize the experience of Life) is the most balanced paradigm I have encountered and that I align myself with and practice in a universal, non-denominational manner. Perhaps this innate, age-old wisdom from the East is what casts greater teachings in the West…?
KS: Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, are each art movements and literary movements. Discuss your eclectic design between vintage and modern.
SW: I’m never linear in my creative process. The creative process itself is a powerful experience, pulling from references and inspiration within the paradigm of Kairos – the age-old world of the lateral, irrational, the sub-conscious. It’s all about sub-texts and this circles back to my passion with Jungian teachings. The Transformational experience I design for and invest in all my gowns is possible through this juxtaposition of vintage and modern, yesterday meets today to procure incredible teachings and transformation that secures an even far greater tomorrow, than we could ever imagine.
KS: Where will Sue Wong be in 10 years? How do you wish to evolve both artistically and spiritually?
SW: I have a vision to build a global brand within the next five years, starting with creating an iconic brand for China and offering the language of SUE WONG Glamour, Beauty, Magic as a Transformative Lifestyle--touching upon home and other fashion-related products as well as fragrance, cosmetics and skin care.
Please visit my website www.suewong.com for greater insight on my life and the SUE WONG brand.
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KS: If a novel were written about your life, what would the title be? Thank you Ms. Wong for your contributions to the world of art and for sharing your precious time with our readers.
SW: I can think of so many versions, but to add words would be to subtract from the essence of my message which is to simply embrace all things in Life, embrace your inner voice and to live your quantum potential, your Bliss…whatever that might be.
In summary: SUE WONG: BEAUTY ~ MAGIC ~ TRANSFORMATION
© Studio S, 2014.
Kristen D. Scott is a nominee of the Pushcart prize in poetry for five works from her 2014 collection OPIATE. She is an award-winning essayist for her work on Federico Garcia Lorca and his books the Divan del Tamarit, Poet of the Deep Song, and essay, "The Duende."
She has published in several Anthologies, newspapers, and ezines, including the San Diego Poetry Annuals, Nomos Review, Perigee, Alesbuyia, and published two poetry collection from Garden Oak Press; LIAISONS (2012) and OPIATE (2014). She has also been translated into Arabic, Turkish and Sanskrit.
Scott is currently the Editor-In-Chief, founder, and web designer of KNOT Magazine, holds a MFA in Creative Writing, MA in English Literature, and progressing with her Ph.D in Global Education and Comparative Literature.
She resides on the Riviera in Türkiye.