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Jade Chiu's Eastern Zodiac Obsession

Jade Chiu is an independent designer creating statement pieces inspired by her Eastern Zodiac obsession. The Taiwanese born artist has turned heads from the likes of Italian Vogue, i-D UK, and Shinsegae campaign with her edgy and dreamy take on the 12 ancient Chinese zodiac signs and elements, and is now taking Asia by storm. By combining her Eastern origins with her Western education, she has created a stunning fusion of cultures for her collections. Her aim is to capture each individual’s true personalities and dreams through a variety of avant-garde pieces that range from simple rings, to body chains. Jade Chiu is introducing a new attitude of jewelry wearing to China that will, with no doubt, introduce Beijing to a new age of daring body ornaments. 
Can you tell us a little bit about your original inspiration to base your collection on the Chinese Zodiac Animals?
That has a lot to do with my identity and ethnicity. In the Chinese zodiac calendar, there is a different animal each year, and that is what I base my collections on. Through an East-West fusion influence, I adapt the animal and create my own interpretation.  
How would you define the style of your designs?
I would describe it as pop-surrealism and punk. For me, it is a combination of art and fashion together, but with a story. I have a lot of different influences, but my goal is to make my brand stand out.
I read on your website that through your jewelry you want to “decorate and accentuate our body and soul”, can you explain that a little further?
Jade is a precious stone; it gives you luck and money. So when someone wears my pieces I want them to feel like it is giving them good luck, and wearing a part of my own soul. 
One winter, there was a girl who came into my studio looking for something to wear to a concert; she burst into tears in my studio, explaining to me that she hates the way she looks. I said to her that everybody is beautiful in different ways, and made her bunny ears so that she would stand out in the concert. This was a huge moment for me, because I never realized the effect my jewelry can have on someone’s perception on how they look. I realized that because my designs are so conversational, it says so much about the wearer’s body and soul, and makes them the center of attention. 
What is the most exciting thing about being a designer and creating a product?
To see the actual product! When I make a jewelry piece, I use a “melting wax” process, which then needs casting, assembling, and plating. Once that entire procedure is finished, I am always shocked, combined with a certain amount of self-satisfaction; your baby is born! All your hard work is worth it. 
I think I would describe that as more of an “emotional” moment, rather than exciting. I think meeting all the designers here, and getting to work and meet people who recognize you is “exciting”. Coming to China, everyone has been so supportive. Hans (Neemic), Vega (Vega Zaishi Wang), Janine Grosche (Path) are a group of people who have been so supportive, so it has been great coming back to my Asian roots, and be accepted into the designer community. 
Speaking of different designers, is there anyone specifically you want to collaborate with in the future? 
I am open to all kinds of collaborations, especially in different categories of the industry. I was talking to Hans (Neemic), when he was showing me around Beijing on his bike, that an idea for a new design could be a cushion for the bike, which would fit the Beijing lifestyle. Some of my designs are beautiful, but the most important thing for me is product design. For example, making surgical things wearable.  That way, people won’t feel ashamed going out, but it can be something edgy instead. So, I am definitely open to collaborate with other designers and create something new. At the end of the day, design is used to improve people’s lives, and I want people to enjoy the product design aspect.
Concerning your designs, how do you think opening to an Asian market will be different compared to a Western market?
I think my products will be more popular in Asia. In China, everyone really promotes Chinese designers, and everyone has been incredibly supportive. Especially among other individual designers, there hasn’t been a feeling of being a competitor, but instead everyone is very supportive of one another. I think that the Asian clientele will be more accepting of certain of my designs. 

Posted by Stephanie 23 July, 2014

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