Born to Copy 5 HatYJDCOPY5
About the Collection
- About the Artist
- About the Collection
Yujie Ding (b.1988, Nanjing China) is a milliner and fashion designer based in Italy. She graduated from University IUAV of Venice in MA Fashion Design and Theory. During her exchange study at Parsons School of Design in New York, she found her passion in millinery design, learning from milliner Jasmin Zorlu and later became a milliner assistant of Ryan Wilde at JJ Hat Center on Fifth Avenue. Her works have been exhibited at institutions worldwide, including Hermitage Museum, Pitti Uomo, Expo Milano and Kaliningrad State Art Gallery. In 2015, Ding founded her millinery brand Yujied Hats in Italy. Ding is currently in the Architecture, City and Design Ph.D. program at University IUAV of Venice.
"There's always pain, fear, and even embarrassment in the process of art and design. Prejudice has been the strongest inconvenience since I moved to Italy eight years ago. As a designer I have no choice but to face that. Instead of escaping, rejecting or looking for more positive significance from the critique, accepting might be a shameless but much more comfortable way to overcome any difficulty in my design process.
Fashion should to be more open-minded and willing to accept differences.
Like many fashion designers, I’ve always enjoyed to be creative. I’ve even found success to be considered a creative maker when participating in many projects. But at the same time Chinese are notorious for plagiarizing. This reputation has spread worldwide, especially in creative industries such as fashion.
When I lived in Europe and the USA, I’ve heard thousands of stories that Chinese people copy from whoever and wherever, in anyway possible. In one of these stories someone said to me: 'You (Chinese) are born to copy.' Someone else said: 'Oh you’re different from those Chinese I knew before. You are creative!' After hearing this kind of biased statement over and over again, I felt tired. I no longer want to see myself as a designer with endless original ideas. I decided to follow what other people say, and even to prove that 'I am born to copy'.
Here I put myself in the worst condition possible when a designer’s creativity is exhausted. I put myself in the worst point of view that a Chinese is born to copy. I could review this prejudged collective identity (or real identity) better than ever, through an analysis of my own experience in western fashion context; a research on Chinese copy-cat culture, both in ancient and contemporary times; and an exercise of appropriation of seven hats in seven days, using real imperfect materials and techniques. I would like to realize a hypothetical originality that I might also truly possess in my blood, sweat and tears."
- Yujie Ding, 2015 in Venice, Italy