Interview With ZhuoLin Liu From The United States

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ZhuoLin Liu

ZhuoLin Liu is a self-taught 3D printing professional, in the field of 3D modeling design and production. In addition to that, she also has several years of experience in the fashion industry.

Interview with the 2021 MUSE Design Awards Winner - ZhuoLin Liu

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

I received my BFA in China, then I attended an MFA program at Fashion Institute of Technology in 2018, in New York. I self-learned 3D printing, including 3D modeling design and production. I have several years of experience in the fashion industry.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

Being a fashion designer is a way that I interact with my inner being and society. Fashion reflects the environment I live in and the way I see the world, connecting to issues concerning gender, race, culture, religion, technology… For me, my designs express my view/value in various ways. I want to share my thoughts through my projects.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

ZHUO is a brand for clothing and sustainable fashion accessories. It is challenging the traditional definition of fashion materials/fabrics. ZHUO is a Chinese word with multiple layered meanings: polish, refine and think. The name signifies the opposite of fast fashion.

I am currently living in US and making new projects for womenswear and sustainable fashion accessory.

4What does “design” mean to you?

Design shows my value toward the current society and my vision for the future. What makes it essential is that it connects with human beings in multiple aspects. Every aspect of a design connects to people’s senses of aesthetics and purpose for a particular piece. It reflects a desire for beauty, usefulness, and leads you to think about the creator’s intention imbued in the object.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

Designs that include innovative fabric, especially those that are environmentally friendly/sustainable.

Sustainable fashion is more than just addressing fashion textiles or products. It’s about every step involved in the entire industrial chain. It has so many problems and needs more actions. There is a stereotype that “ethical” fashion products equal “boring”. As a designer, there so much room and responsibility for me to bring excitement, energy to my design projects, no matter clothing or fashion accessories.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

A "good" design must provide both a useful function and inspires the user/appreciator with a vision for the future.

7Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.

Avant-garde, innovative material and environmentally friendly/sustainable design.

I am always fascinated by experimenting with different types of unconventional material, even if they are not originally for the fashion industry. I love involving these materials in my collection and giving a surreal visual effect in my pieces.

Sustainable design is something I always pursue. It involves many processes, and it needs both creativity and industry knowledge to design, operate and implement. It’s still quite challenging.

8Tell us about your design process.

I don’t have specific a formula for my process. But it usually starts with experimental research. Sometimes I start with a fabric experiment. Sometimes I start with color collages. Sometimes I start with researching a very specific social topic. I also like writing down my thoughts or key words in my notes to help me brainstorm.

Then I will be able to gather all different elements and evaluate through my own perspective, which is the most important part and it is also why I do all the research at the beginning -- you may question yourself “why do I use vermilion but not crimson red?”

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

Definitely. And I think that can apply to anyone. The way my thoughts process is sure affected by the environment I grew up in and how I was educated.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2021 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

I am very honored to be the winner of 2021 MUSE Design Awards. I feel great that I can deliver my thoughts and idea through my work on this amazing platform. It wasn’t very easy to get here and I appreciate the recognition of the efforts to complete the whole collection.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2021 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

My project Free Follow has many interesting elements that I wanted to show.

In the collection Free Follow, I intentionally weakened the sense of the traditional clothing flatness, aiming to highlight the three-dimensional sense of modeling different parts of the piece. After many attempts and selections, the light texture and strong holding power of the translucent matte paper enabled me to actualize this 3-D modeling of the parts. The lightness and transparency alleviated the heaviness of the image (printed on the medical film), and catered to the emotional atmosphere of the entire series.

I chose medical film -- unconventional material which is rarely used in the garment industry. I caught my own images, trying to blur and overlap every single image to create the unique vision of the self-phantom.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The 3D modeling part was pretty difficult. First, the final 3D shapes came out from a decent amount of experiments. And it was not easy to find the right material that’s light weight and at the same time is able to hold the 3D shape.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Award recognition is proof that my work inspired people. It gives me more confidence and encouragement on this path.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

Color, fabric and the connection with humanity.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?

Nowadays more and more young people start embracing fashion revolution, which requires a long, iterative process of experimentation. In China, it is relatively more convenient and affordable to access to certain resources, thus allowing you to cut down the cost and do more experiments in the design phase. If it wasn’t that case then it wouldn’t be that easy for me to find the right material for my Free Follow collection. Printing on the medical film would be quite expensive in the US and most printing shops here would not provide the service for this material.

16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

More and more designers will focus on sustainable design. People’s attitude toward fashion consumption, and hopefully consumption in general, will gradually change. We will have to look back to the path we have went through and realize how the things we have done have affected our home.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

Design does not only need passion, it also needs a great amount of responsibility and understanding of connections and dependencies with the wider society.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?


Design is all about taking risks and putting your own spin on things. Developing your own style comes from experimenting and willing to be different. Design is based on your own practice and creative exploration, so those resources that you would need would be dependent on your design interests. For example, if you are interested in sustainable design, you might contact local fabric recycling services for their materials.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

I was dreaming to be a science-fiction author at some point when I was young.

20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. She is an extraordinary fashion designer and successful businesswoman. It was not easy to be a female designer in the era she was living.

21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Be honest with yourself.

Winning Entries

Alter-Altering | 2021

Interview With ZhuoLin Liu From The United States

In this era of questioning, even the most fundamental building blocks...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Alter-Altering | 2021

Interview With ZhuoLin Liu From The United States

In this era of questioning, even the most fundamental building blocks...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Free Follow | 2021

Interview With ZhuoLin Liu From The United States

X-Rays were discovered in 1895 by Wilhem Conrad Roentgen...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Free Follow | 2021

Interview With ZhuoLin Liu From The United States

X-Rays were discovered in 1895 by Wilhem Conrad Roentgen...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

ZhuoLin Liu

ZhuoLin Liu is a 3D printing, which includes 3D modeling design and production, professional, as well as several years of experience in the fashion industry.