We are pleased to introduce Fuchsia Lin in our stories community spotlight. Costume designer, dance choreographer, and filmmaker Fuchsia Lin invents unearthly garments, mythic universes, and stirring gestural languages in her dance films. After six years of work, her forthcoming film “Future Cosmos Flow” is scheduled for release in Winter of 2021. Follow her journey on her Facebook page and consider supporting her Future Cosmos Flow film through her donation page!
How does reuse or upcycling figure into your work?
Since the fabric stores have been closed [due to the pandemic], I’ve been going through my fabric stock and using what I can to create mock-ups of pieces I’m working on. I just got rid of an old duvet cover that I had for 20 years and am using it to create a mock-up of some large wings for a new costume.
I often have fabrics donated to me that need a new home. One time when I lived in Paris, my friend gave me all this leather in bright beautiful colors that came from the atelier of the legendary French fashion designer Claude Montana after his company closed. I used the leather to create several statement pieces that ended up receiving a lot of exposure and have been some of my all-time favorite pieces I’ve made.
For the upcoming Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT) and Pink Martini performance that I’m designing the costumes for, I’m working with Tara St. James, a consultant based in NYC who has in-depth knowledge of sustainable textiles and apparel production. Tara is helping me to source responsible fabrics for this costume build. I’m especially interested in this 4-way stretch fabric that’s perfect for dancewear and made by the Italian company Carvico. It’s made from Econyl yarn, a nylon material made from ocean and landfill waste. I also source fabrics from Fabscrap, a wonderful organization in NYC that recycles and redistributes textiles gathered from the fashion and entertainment industry, saving them from the landfill.
Is it important to you to use your artwork as a tool for education and activism?
Definitely yes. In my marketing, promotional materials, and social media platforms, I always highlight that my costumes are built utilizing sustainable materials.
For the upcoming OBT project I’m designing costumes for, choreographer Nicolo Fonte agreed to my ethics of using sustainable materials for the costume build. This is a momentous step forward for the costuming industry to take toward a more sustainable future. I’m so excited to show other costume designers and my audience that beautiful and sophisticated costumes can be made from sustainable materials. This is so much more effective than just telling people statistics and data.
How are you staying connected with your creative network while adhering to social distancing guidelines?
Fortunately, my partner Stephen is also my film collaborator and we are able to continue working on our projects. We are still planning to film this summer for Future Cosmos Flow, and Stephen and I have been able to storyboard and discuss cinematography. I have tried to have Zoom meetings with the dancers to talk about the choreography, but for costume fittings, I will have to get creative how to go about fitting the dancers and remain safe.
Sebastian Zinn has a B.A. in Comparative Literature with an allied field in Art History from Reed College. Since graduating in the Spring of 2018, he has been working as a freelance writer and editor covering a diverse range of topics, including visual and performance art, fashion, literature, film, music, healthcare and economics. He is currently producing social media and blog content for Portland Textile Month.