Continuing last month’s theme of Streetwear September, Mochi magazine virtually attended oqLiq’s Spring/Summer 2021 fashion show at the tail end of New York Fashion Week (NYFW). oqLiq is a Taiwanese urban streetwear brand started by Chi Hung and Orbit Lin. Traditionally a menswear brand, Hung and Lin took it up a notch this season with a unisex collection, which follows the fashion industry’s trend of gender neutrality.
oqLiq debuted at NYFW earlier this year and returned this season with a theme of “Natural Blessing.” The designers’ new pieces draw from a color palette inspired by nature, with black, deep moss green and blue hues. With that theme in mind, the pieces were designed to withstand various elements, from a cool breeze to a rain shower. In addition, oqLiq embraced sneaker culture, collaborating with New Balance as the sneaker of choice to complement the polished outfits.
Following the digital show, we chatted with Chi Hung about the inspiration behind the collection, what’s inspiring her lately, and what kept her sane during NYFW.
IP: What is the inspiration behind your Spring/Summer 2021 collection?
CH: The inspiration of the collection comes from a prayer for favorable weather, “nature’s blessing.” In the [16th century Chinese] novel “Investiture of the Gods,” there are four heavenly kings, known as Jian (sword), Chin (instruments), San (umbrella) and Lung (dragon), which represent the idea of nature’s blessing. The imagination of these four heavenly kings can be seen throughout the fashion show, delivering the message of nature’s blessing. […] The four words are used in the design of oqLiq in the concept of functional clothing: wind (windproof), tune (functional clothing, in tune with the body), rain (rainproof), smooth (comfortable).
IP: oqLiq made its American debut just this past February during NYFW. How would you describe your experience with this fashion show compared to last year’s?
CH: Both experiences were incredible in their own way. At a live fashion show like last season, you are able to feed off of the energy of all the guests in the audience. But with the virtual [show] this season, we were able to be a lot more creative with the set and the “show.”
IP: What is the meaning of oqLiq?
CH: It is the reverse image of an old word “bilbo” (earlier English form of the name Bilbao) noted for the manufacture of fine blades. Bilbao means a sword used in former times, noted for the temper and elasticity of its blade. We found this word in the dictionary. We liked exercise and resilience, but later found that it had the same name as a movie character, so we reversed the word. We hope “oqLiq” represents a kind of strength and flexibility.
IP: How would you describe the aesthetic of oqLiq?
CH: It’s a combination of traditional oriental culture and urban outdoor style that provides high-end functionality.
IP: What is inspiring you lately?
CH: The latest technology and the old traditional culture.
IP: What is one piece of advice you would tell your young designer self?
CH: I would tell my younger self to never give up, and that failure is the best teacher you will ever meet.
IP: Can you describe the person you design for? For example, a man or woman/person who appreciates functionality and the outdoors, etc.
CH: People who use clothes to express their views of the world. Fashion can be a political statement; we design for the person who stands in their purpose.
IP: What are some of the things that keep you sane while prepping for NYFW?
CH: We are so fortunate to have the best team in the world. They are the ones who keep us sane through all the crazy that is NYFW.
IP: Why do you think it’s so important to show your collection during NYFW?
CH: We met our first buyer in New York, so New York will always have a special place in our hearts.
Photo credit: OqLiq