Episode 2: Grace Ling
Our second episode stars fashion designer Grace Ling, who is one of a new breed of designers putting technology at the core of their creative process – with startling, stunning results. Her unique aesthetic found an early champion in Jennifer Lopez, who not only wore one of Ling’s creations for a shoot in the New York Times, but then asked for a custom design to be made for an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
While Ling’s collections are a refreshing, unexpected take on intelligent femininity and eccentric elegance, what makes the designer’s nascent brand really stand out is her singular desire to make it truly sustainable. By melding fashion with technology – specifically, a combination of 3D tech and computer-generated imagery (CGI) – The New York-based, Singaporean creative is able to determine the exact amount of materials needed for her pieces, meaning sustainability is neither an afterthought nor a box-ticking exercise, but an intrinsic part of her design process.
As the brand joins NET-A-PORTER’s Vanguard program, which fosters and champions emerging design talent, Ling talks to fashion director Kay Barron about the unexpected joy of clothes as conversation-starters, what sexy means to her, and reveals her ultimate rule-breaker.
Read highlights from Grace Ling’s episode below…
“Sexy, to me, is a form of empowerment… When someone wears the clothing, they’re sexy for themselves and not for someone else.”
“When I’m carrying one of these bags, I walked through Soho and literally nine out of 10 people were asking me about the bag. And I think it’s just nice to laugh about it… I wanted to create these accessories as a conversation-starter. I just liked the idea of an accessory bringing joy to someone.”
“I think a lot about how the body is being portrayed – where I want to put the cutouts, the silhouette, the shoulders… The clothes are meant for you to feel sexy for yourself… and you’re charismatic and you’re empowered. And, you know, you’re a strong, modern woman.”
“When someone presents me with a set of rules, literally my first thought is ‘How do I break it?’”
Episode 1: Self Esteem
Kicking off our fifth season of the Incredible Women podcast is musician Self Esteem, aka Rebecca Lucy Taylor, whose star has steadily been on the rise since she left indie-folk duo Slow Club in 2017 to embark on a solo career. Her debut album, Compliments Please, established the artist as an exciting emerging talent, while her second, Prioritise Pleasure (the title of which is a rallying cry against a society that has made women believe they need to put the needs of others before their own) has been nominated for this year’s Mercury Prize, thereby recognizing it as one of the best British and Irish albums of the year.
Self Esteem may pen catchy, anthemic pop melodies, but hers isn’t music crafted for the sole purpose of chart domination – instead, it’s paired with unwaveringly relatable lyrics that tackle sexuality, relationships, toxic masculinity and millennial womanhood. It’s this candid approach that has singled her out as one to watch.
Listen in as the artist talks to NET-A-PORTER content director Alice Casely-Hayford about making her mark as a creative, and why she feels her future is truly limitless.
Read highlights from Self Esteem’s podcast episode below…
“Being able to validate myself, look after myself and love myself has changed my life.”
“Mass shame is a waste of time. I’m highlighting the things that I’m insecure about to save myself from the terror of it.”
“You know, I'm just knackered. I’m sick of pleasing everyone else. I’m sick of not being myself in order to make everyone else comfortable… But it has moulded the way I am and the way I behave and the things I need and all that.”
“I have tried to live by the rule of, like, ‘Be sweet and nice and seen and not heard.’ You know? In my twenties I was really, like, ‘Can somebody go out with me? Anyone?’ So a rule that I quit doing is trying to be what I thought – certainly what I thought men want girls to be like in terms of dating; I stopped doing that.”
“I’ve got this obsession with wanting to be alive for myself.”
The Rule Breakers
Hosted by NET-A-PORTER’s content director Alice Casely-Hayford and fashion director Kay Barron, we will hear from the likes of actor, singer and TV personality Keke Palmer, singer-songwriter Self Esteem, designer Grace Ling, model Zinnia Kumar, and art curator Katy Hessel. Listen in as they share their greatest inspirations and influences, the defining moments of their careers so far, and the radical ways in which they are tearing up the rule book.
Episodes of Incredible Women: The Rule Breakers will drop weekly from Tuesday, September 13.
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