Invited by New Zealand Fashion Week to reveal her collection as part of the ‘Emerging Couture – New Generation’ show, Cecilia Kang is a self-taught designer with an eye for the wilder side.
The power of the natural world inspires Kang’s garments, her designs blend feathery detail and the shimmer of sequinned fantasy with an earthy magic of lacy tendrils and lively butterflies.
“The silhouettes, the elegance, the classic feminine style of couture is what first attracted me,” says Kang, who began her fashion career in the pageant scene, dressing beauty queens for Miss Asia Pacific International and Miss Universe New Zealand.
The NZFW show is a first for Kang, and the category that will showcase her designs is also a first for New Zealand’s most prestigious fashion event. ‘Emerging Couture – New Generation’ is a new platform for New Zealand couture designers to shine a light on their artform on the international stage. “I recently received an invitation to show at London Fashion Week next season,” says Kang “But first, I’m excited for our own fashion week!”
Kang’s collection is titled “Goddess in Garlands” and draws on the inspiration of Mother Earth, capturing a sense of an earth goddess with garlands of flowers and forest motifs. A self-taught designer, Kang’s abilities are impressive. From pattern-making and designing, to cutting and hand-sewing, Kang honed her skills over six years of intensive practice. The NZFW show is well-earned recognition for hours of dedication.
“We have so many talented New Zealanders and I’m so proud to be among them at Fashion Week,” she says. “I want to be an example for the next generation, and especially for young trans people, of what we can do.”
As a trans woman, Kang’s is a familiar and heart-breaking story of family tension and torturous high school years. She began life in South Korea, with her family moving to New Zealand when she was 12, and describes her journey to self acceptance as a difficult one, but one that now feels more positive.
The shy little child dressing in her mother’s clothes, smiling at the mirror, would laugh with happiness now to see how far she has come – to see who she has become. A vibrant trans woman and role model for the next generation, taking bold steps into the fabulous world of couture fashion.
Step into the world of Cecilia Kang Couture at her NZFW show.
4pm Tuesday August 28, Main Runway, ANZ Viaduct Events Centre,