Designer Spotlight: Joyce Bao

Captured by Grace Anderson, @grace.anderson16 on Instagram

Captured by Grace Anderson, @grace.anderson16 on Instagram

Written by Joanna LaTorre, @joannapink on Instagram

Meet Joyce-- a senior FSAD major from Michigan, Level 4 designer, and Cornell Fashion Collective’s Vice President of Designers and Models. Joyce is a humble and talented designer dedicated to CFC. In fact, when asked about her involvement on campus and favorite past-time activities, Joyce admitted that “95% of her time is dedicated to Cornell Fashion Collective.” Her dedication to the organization and her attention to detail most definitely are revealed through her amazing work.

Captured by Grace Anderson, @grace.anderson16 on Instagram

Captured by Grace Anderson, @grace.anderson16 on Instagram

When Joyce approaches her work, she keeps the cycle of the fashion industry in mind. “My goal is to design something that hasn’t been done before.” Joyce dislikes how many designs are copies nowadays but acknowledges that there aren’t enough ideas to match the speed of how fast people want things. “There becomes this tendency for people to replicate/repeat designs, but the quality of materials is also important,” she explained. In terms of priorities, Joyce prioritizes the visuality first and quality second. “Just because I want to get something done, doesn’t mean it has to be poorly constructed. When you're on a tight schedule though, sometimes you have to sacrifice some of those principles.” Joyce’s biggest obstacle has been working on a time crunch, as she sacrificed small details and the quality of some pieces in order to finish in time for the show.

Joyce’s favorite piece is a tutu that stands up and is paired with a bullet bra. “I’ve wanted to do it for a long time. I made a prototype last year and it wasn’t successful, so I kept working on it and ended up making it in this collection.” The tutu was inspired by a 1940s magazine, where a woman was sitting on the floor in a huge dress, and the back of the dress stood up as the model was sitting down. “It’s been difficult because you're technically trying to defy gravity.”

A lot of women try to suppress it, but I think it’s very important for women (or anyone who identifies as a woman) to know that it’s not something to be ashamed of. The female psyche is something that is unique and fundamental—my collection is celebrating that.

Defying expectations is a trend throughout Joyce’s work. In fact, her designs are inspired by very abstract ideas and emotions, which she translates into visually impactful pieces. In terms of silhouettes, Joyce is inspired by the complicated and surrealness of 1920s designs. “Similar to Moulin Rouge-- not entirely burlesque but similar.” For this collection, the theme is exploring and celebrating the contemporary female psyche. Joyce’s collection mainly focuses on representing the craziness of womanhood, and how it’s traditionally been something perceived as negative.

Captured by Grace Anderson, @grace.anderson16 on Instagram

Captured by Grace Anderson, @grace.anderson16 on Instagram

Something else fundamental to her designs is her experimentation with using unconventional materials. For example, Joyce has been using cacti, sewing needles, hula hoops, tights, mops, saran wrap, etc. “I started playing with the idea of domestic materials--things that you would find in a women-bound household. I camouflaged them into garments with a goal of empowerment.”

Joyce’s shih tzu Cookie often keeps her company while she works in studio.

Joyce’s shih tzu Cookie often keeps her company while she works in studio.

When asked what most excited Joyce about the show, she responded: "to catch up on sleep once it's over!" Honestly, relatable. Jokes aside, her sleepless nights and hard work have led to amazing designs. Joyce's dedication to Cornell Fashion Collective is truly admirable and her persona empowers others just as much as her designs do.

Written by Joanna LaTorre, @joannapink on Instagram

See more of Joyce’s work here

Cornell Fashion Collective

Cornell Fashion Collective, Human Ecology Building T-51, Ithaca, NY, 14853, United States of America