Tiange (Laurel) Fang

Artist Tribute Project

Class of: 2024

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Lettuce, performance, video

Faculty: Simone Kearney

My chosen artist is Martin Margiela.

By looking into key features of Margiela that I find inspiring, including his disregard for an object’s original functionality, utilizing them in his designs to give them a second life; the materials he used were anything one could come across in daily life, making his apparel almost like a snapshot of it; and his anonymity and mystery due to never exposing himself to the public eye made his existence even become invisible, controversial and questionable. Lastly, deconstruction, redefinition and reconstruction are quintessential techniques used by Margiela – I decided to use unconventional materials in my daily life to create a wearable piece.

To embrace the “rawness”, “deconstruction”, “questionable existence” and “disregard of its original functionality”, I chose to use something edible as my main material. Lettuce has been popular on our dinner table for ages and will accompany us for a long time which reminds me of the long-lasting influence Margiela brought to the fashion industry. Plus, I am personally drawn to the natural texture of lettuce leaves. I chose lettuce as the main material to construct the whole shirt, despite lettuce is incredibly fragile, I still wanted to take the challenge.

In the video, I record the deconstruction of the lettuce shirt – showing myself eating the shirt slowly until the whole shirt is in my stomach. This is to show Margiela’s extreme definition of fashion, when it becomes one with the person. Also, it hints at his invisible and pervasive profile and mysterious existence. And it’s also a demonstration of my alternative understanding of deconstruction, redefinition and reconstruction. Margiela always wanted the viewer to put full attention on the fashion design itself, by eating the whole shirt, it’s pushing the viewer to observe the rebirth, destruction and redefinition of the shirt itself.