This New Zealand originated designer (her birthplace is actually a very small rural area by Lake Dongting in China), who also used to live in Singapore as a child, didn't initially study fashion design. Her background is in painting, having a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Auckland (for one year) and Beijing (for three years). Claudia´s father is an art dealer, so consequently her career guideline naturally inclined towards on becoming a painter, but for her that wasn´t enough. She always imagined seeing people in her work and since she was young, she always wanted to become a fashion designer. That´s why she moved to London and took few design courses at the prestigious Central Saint Martins, where one of her "pattern-making" instructors encouraged her to try at Parsons. After London it was time for her to move to New York City, where she attended an MFA in Fashion Design and Society at this renowned institution. There she found the program that was a perfect fit for her fine arts background. The study years at Parson totally changed her design-wise. Among other stuff she learned, she developed a special affinity towards using and weaving yarns that played a crucial part in her impressive thesis. Following two years she worked as a freelance for Brandon Maxwell, but only working for J.W. Anderson, who after seeing her portfolio, reached out to her himself, made Li ready and gave her the courage to move back to New York, to start her own label. The first official collection-debut was for Spring 2016, the one she presented during New York Fashion Week.

The main theme for her second one, the F/W 2016/2017 that was shown in February 2017, was self-preservation. Constituted of comfortable silhouettes, the collection was filled also with "wrapped-around-the-body" designs, like unusual tops made from vegan leather or denim and featuring a "waterfall"of origami-inspired knots, while others made from deconstructed pieces or ones featuring special, edgy details, like a maxi bow on overall skirt or a classy cashmere trenchcoat embellished with panels. 

/ all original images and video courtesy of claudia li /

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