Digital Fashion created by Mengshi Li, 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

CCA Fashion Design students reimagine sustainability in the fashion industry

Students Mengshi (Beth) Li and Xueer He were named finalists for the 2023 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Scholarship Fund, a program that celebrates students capable of leading change in the global fashion ecosystem.

This summer, CCA fashion design students Mengshi (Beth) Li and Xueer He took on the challenge to design a full collection of apparel inspired by the themes of 360 DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and sustainability. Recognized for their groundbreaking creations, both Mengshi (Beth) and Xueer were named finalists for the 2023 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Scholarship Fund.

The CFDA is widely acknowledged as the “Oscars” of the fashion industry and is renowned for their role in shaping the future of fashion worldwide. The scholarship fund highlights exemplary student talent paving the way for innovation, sustainability, and DEIB in the fashion industry.

Mengshi (Beth) Li: Digital Fashion

Mengshi (Beth) explores the intersection between technology and fashion through digital animation, a realm that offers a unique canvas for self-expression. She designed a virtual wardrobe that dynamically translates body movement and human emotion, which would otherwise be hard to depict in the physical space. Mengshi (Beth) captures the complexities of our innerworld through an intricate combination of diverse textures, bold shapes, and vivid colors.

Rooted in sustainability, Mengshi (Beth) explains, “I chose digital fashion because of the inherent fabric and textile waste that comes with physical creation. In a world of limited resources, digital fashion opens the door to creative freedom and self-expression.” Mengshi (Beth) aims to unite the possibilities of digital and physical fashion to meet consumer needs while tackling climate change.

Xueer He: Malleability

Xueer draws inspiration from the vast ecosystems in the ocean, particularly whale falls. Similar to a whale carcass that sustains an entire habitat for decades, her creation embodies transformation, longevity, and life after death. The entire collection consists of one piece of malleable jersey fabric that can be morphed into a dress, skirt, jacket, and more. The ensemble is entirely up to the individual wearing it.

Malleability challenges the idea that new looks have to come from new pieces. “Fashion is another way of shaping our ideas of how we consume," says Xueer. “Imagine a wardrobe that aligns with the living systems of our planet, where a single garment can transform and continuously find novelty in new places.” Xueer reimagines an eight look collection as a singular, multifunctional garment that can be worn in infinite ways, over and over again.

Congratulations to our CFDA Scholarship Fund finalists, Mengshi (Beth) and Xueer, as they continue to push the boundaries of fashion for a more sustainable future.

Published on September 26, 2023