1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.
My name is Silvanna Shen and I am an emerging fashion designer whose passion for design was cultivated from my upbringing in an artistic family. After studying graphic design at the School of Visual Arts and transferring to Parsons School of Design to pursue fashion, I gained industry experience as a graphic designer and foreign marketing sales assistant at a design company during the pandemic.
This experience led me to launch my own brand, SILVANNASHEN which aims to provide a sense of calmness and expand sartorial and emotional space for people living in global megacities. My design philosophy is influenced by Chinese intelligence of construction and incorporates sustainable materials and minimalist aesthetics.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?
I grew up in China, born to an artistic family where my dad was a furniture designer, and he was once the most famous art director in China and my mom is a Photo Re-toucher. I am grateful to have grown up in such an atmosphere in which love, mutual understanding and confidence were established. The more I became aware of this, the more I realized what I want to be and the more I longed for something better than what the world had to offer.
I am a fashion designer who wants to share the wisdom of my own culture that is combined with New York City's influence. My goal is to convey a meaningful message through my designs, offering a fresh perspective and redefining the fashion landscape.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
My brand, SILVANNASHEN is the epitome of modernity and Chinese old buildings. Its unconditional dedication to design combines simplicity and naturalism with sustainable material and exceptional craftsmanship. The refinement of bamboo and the perfection of details give form to an approach to fashion defined by peace.
4What does “design” mean to you?
Design is like offering a solution that meets needs and also doubles as a unique form of media, reflecting who you are.
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
I have always had a constant fascination with multifunctional and structurally simple designs. I believe it stems from my environment and background, shaping my aesthetic.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
There is no "good" or "bad" design, everyone could design if they wanted to. I don't want to put boundaries on designing just like beautiful or ugly, it depends if anyone likes it or not.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
My design style is simple, clean, and sustainable.
8Tell us about your design process.
I've always drawn inspiration from traditional Chinese furniture and buildings. The incredible craftsmanship has particularly captivated me with the use of bamboo as a material. My aim is to craft an escape fashion product tailored for city dwellers—a space that seamlessly intertwines people, the environment, and fashion.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
Absolutely! While it's common for designers to draw from their cultural roots, my goal is to elevate beyond typical cultural symbolism. I strive to fuse traditional elements with contemporary influences and address current issues in my designs. It's essential for me to honor my heritage, yet equally important to showcase the evolution of who I am today.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
This is my first time winning an award and it means the world to me! This awards is also proof that my work is getting attention.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
This is the result of a year's dedication in my thesis—the creation named 'Simple Finals.' It's been a journey, and when everything finally fell into place, it marked a revolutionary milestone. It's not just a project; it mirrors who I am, emphasizes sustainability, and blends my cultural essence with the energy of New York City.
12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The biggest challenge would be the development of this project, the construction of how bamboo bends itself and each piece combines into a fashion performance.
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
This winning will help motivate me to do more design in the future.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
Diverse categories, varied backgrounds in juries, limitless opportunities.
15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
The wisdom of Chinese craftsmen has always been my muse!
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
I think most designs will be combined with AI for the next 5-10 years but a small part will keep developing the traditional into nowadays uses.
17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Go ahead and submit your work, the last thing you should do is waste time thinking “Should I do it or not”.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
Being a student in a design school made me realize how competitive my classmates are, most skills I did not get from my professor rather than my classmates. Therefore, I recommend being in the environment that will be your best path to improve your skills.
19Who has inspired you in your life and why?
The great thanks will go with my dad. He was a designer himself, and thanks to him, I developed my own aesthetic and never gave up on my childish dream, a fashion designer. He has always pushed me into becoming better and without him I would never become who I am right now, even in America.
20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Keep pushing yourself, learn from others, and always gather different information, not just fashion or design news but more current world affairs.