Designer Feature: Dystropolis
2015 was a busy year for Wendy Ng, the designer of Toronto label Dystropolis. From launching her new line featuring fashion-tech pieces at Fashion Arts Toronto in the Spring, to more shows at RAW Artists, Cirque-It, Electric Runway, and Futurera, the year passed in a brilliant whirl-wind. There are few in the alternative fashion or fashion-tech circuit that wouldn’t know her name.
The Ryerson University School of Fashion graduate became a fashion designer “to create something uniquely beautiful” for “someone who is unapologetically true to themselves.” An engineer by day, Wendy Ng finds that her day job influences her design process only in that she is more systematic and streamlined. It is her love of architecture that truly influences her aesthetic. With her bold, future-forward designs and foray into the frontier of fashion tech, Wendy Ng is making a mark on the Toronto landscape.
The Atlantis collection which premiered at FAT gave a glimpse into a dark and mysterious world. The inspiration came from the deep sea creatures that inhabit the murky depths in the deepest recesses of the oceans. “They are fascinating in every way! Their shapes, movements, and colors,” Wendy gushes to me. It also gave her the opportunity to explore lighted garments. Her Jelly Fish dress which closed the runway show garnered gasps and awe from the packed hall of Daniels Spectrum during FAT. It hasn’t lost its show-stopping appeal in future shows throughout the year either. In addition to her first public exhibit of a fashion tech garment, Wendy also began to experiment with more technologically driven ways of creating fashion. Her patterned pieces were digitally printed using art created by Johnathan Castellino, a Toronto photographer friend.
In a chat earlier this year, we spoke with the designer about how her interest in Wearable Tech and Fashion Tech was born.
“I’ve always been interested in wearable tech and anything that is bio-mechanic, android, stuff like that.”
Futurism has always been an integral part of Dystropolis’ DNA. The idea of Transhumanism was introduced to Wendy earlier in the year by co-conspirator and partner Eric Boyd. She finds the concept of it truly fascinating.
“How do I relate this in fashion that we are already transhumanistic? How do I create something that can enhance humanity? It’s totally exciting.”
Wendy has collaborated with innovative teams to create fashion tech art pieces. The first collaboration was with Eric Boyd of Sensebridge who she met at a Toronto wearables meetup. They immediately brainstormed a concept and began development. It would become the Aurelia Aurita (AKA the infamous Jelly Fish Dress). Inspired by the bio-luminescence of the jellyfish and the terranean halo effect of the active characters of video games, the piece debuted as part of the Atlantis collection at FAT 2015, and was worn by Victoria Ellingham in runway showcase dance performances at Cirque-It and Flaunt Fabrique.
The second collaboration was with Martin Labrecque of Breq Labs, WaveDNA, and Rhonda Lucy. The team met through Cirque-It and joined together to create a piece to premiere at the Circus North event. The performance-based fashion tech Raven the Light Bringer was inspired by an aboriginal mythology on Raven. The performer was able to change her music using the team’s Exo-Glove during her dance performance.
Wendy is excited to further explore the wealth of technology that is becoming available, experimenting and pushing the bounds of fashion and tech. She currently has two projects in the areas of bio-signals and 3D printing under development and says that “there are many areas I want to explore before I will have a sense of direction.”
“Wearable Tech and Fashion Tech will undoubtedly be the future. As a matter of fact, the future is now, that different ways to present and enhance oneself is around the corner.”
The designer is not showing at FAT 2016. “Taking a year off between shows has refreshed my mind and allowed more time to explore new ground,” she told us. But don’t worry, Dystropolis shows no sign of slowing down.
If you are interested in learning more about Dystropolis or purchasing pieces from her collection, please contact the designer.