Ethan Hon was born and raised in Hong Kong where he began experimenting with fashion at the age of 5. After moving to San Francisco with his family, Hon came to New York City to attend Parsons The New School of Design University. Womenswear is Hon’s passion and his exploration of the applied arts is a means of challenging traditional cut-and-sew with alternative techniques and materials. In 2013, he was selected to be the finalist of the Banana Republic design competition and CFDA Geoffrey Beene Design Scholarship Award. In 2014, Hon won the Fan Favorite Award for the “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” design competition hosted by The Metropolitan Museum. In 2015, Hon graduated from Parsons; his thesis collection has been featured on different magazines. Hon was also selected as CFDA+ 2015 Design Graduate by Council of Fashion Designers of America, and Design Graduate 2015 by Wallpaper* Magazine.
For his first womenswear collection named Chimera, Ethan Hon draws his inspiration from the notion of identity and packaging design. In this collection, Hon playfully questions how we package ourselves to blend into the society everyday. In the mid 90s, Ethan Hon grew up fascinated by Japanese culture and Japanese brands, where Hon found a great emphasis was placed on packaging design. Oftentimes, this emphasis on packaging results in the quality of a product not being as good as the packaging leads one to believe. This contradiction between the real and fake aspect of packaging design inspires Hon to develop his research on Trompe l’oeil. Trompe l’oeil means to deceive the eye in French. It is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create an optical illusion that the object is not what it seems.
The collection consists of sculpted and engineered overcoats, tailored long wide leg pants in multiple colors, long structured knit vest that is long in front and short in the back, wool crepe bonded big coat with Hon’s signature back wing detail. One of the collection’s key pieces is the pleated knit turtle neck in Merino wool and cashmere that Hon has developed with the factory for over six months. This wearable work of art best illustrates the full dichotomy of Ethan Hon’s design process, inscribing itself in the lines between wearable fashion and art, old and new, solidity and openness, respecting the past in construction and fabric, and simultaneously bringing a modernity through its functional and clean shape. This piece proudly displays its handmade nature, even providing intimate insight into the handcrafted interior through its sheer knit stripe.
All images: Courtesy of designer, © Ethan Hon