FAB L’Style

FAB L’Style is the global voice of established & emerging luxury. An international, fashion, art, beauty and lifestyle magazine in English based in Vienna, Austria. Ever mindful of equality, we embrace the diversity of inclusive beauty, and having a sustainable mindset.

The Environmental Conscience of Shertienne Lee – If I don’t use sustainable fabrics, It gives me emotional pain

Shertienne Lee surrounded by environmentally sustainable fabric choices, showcasing her deep-rooted ethical approach to fashion design

Fashion is more than just fabric; it’s a collection of memories, an identity woven into every stitch, says Shertienne Lee. Shertienne Lee, a third year student at London College of Fashion, sits down with FAB to unravel the threads of her remarkable journey. From challenging the norms of an Asian upbringing to winning accolades with a lingerie collection inspired by the statue of Guan Yin, Her story is a kaleidoscope of passion, persistence, and panache

FAB: What was your first experience at Fashion Week like for you?

Shertienne Lee: It was interesting to see the number of people that showed up, each with their own personal style. Where I come from, fashion week is not really a big thing, so attending London Fashion Week was one of those childhood dreams, and I feel the little me would have been really happy and proud. I was there because I had been working backstage prior to that day, and I also worked backstage in the previous seasons.

FAB: What was it like growing up?

Shertienne Lee: I grew up in an Asian family; that’s an automatic no to fashion designing. I had a family argument with my parents about letting me continue fashion designing. I am very fortunate that my family could afford it. Being able to afford your dreams is a huge thing, and I don’t want to ever take that for granted. I know there are so many people out there who are really creative and talented but are unable to pursue their dreams because of family financial struggles. After being able to convince them to allow me to do fashion designing, I also had to personally push myself to keep doing better in my studies and in what I do. I try to challenge myself.

Fashion Is About Memories, A Lot Of Clothes Represent Memories

FAB: Let’s talk about your first contact with fashion. At what point did you come into contact with fashion? When did you decide you wanted to become a fashion designer?

Shertienne Lee: I was about twelve or thirteen years old when I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer. My mom had earlier noticed my interest in fashion when she saw that out of all her children, I would be the one who would go around the shopping mall alone looking for clothes, and I would come show it to her and say, “Mom, is this nice?” Compared to my other siblings, who would just wear whatever my mom bought, I was more intentional about my clothes.

FAB: What does fashion mean to you?

Shertienne Lee: It’s about memories. A lot of clothes hold memories. I think that’s why it’s hard for us to throw clothes away. It’s easy to throw them away; use them as a one-time thing to boost your ego and gain more likes on social media when you don’t have memories with those clothes. It can be an expression of your identity. For me, it’s memories. I can look at a specific garment I used to wear and relive the memory. A part of my memory of fashion is that my mom used to sew sequins and beads on our gymnastic costumes when I was younger, and I would watch her do it for hours.

Shertienne Lee’s Collection

FAB: You won first place with your lingerie collection. What was the inspiration behind it? What was the creative process like, coming up with such fabulous pieces?

Shertienne Lee: The inspiration behind it was the statue of Guan Yin, also known as the statue of compassion. I know it’s very ironic for anyone who knows the god for it to be a lingerie collection. The inspiration just presented itself; it had nothing to do with the religious side of things. I really wanted to capture the gracefulness and elegance of the statue. A lot of the silhouettes were inspired by the drapery and the accessories on the statue itself. Also, the colours were inspired by the statue. On my design proposal, most of them were illustrated in green fabric. When I was making the collection, I found out that the fabric I wanted to use was not available, so I had to substitute with a different colour, but it still turned out well.

Six Weeks, One Vision: The Making of an Award-Winning Collection

FAB: And it took you six weeks to make the entire collection. What was that like? How did you keep yourself focused for six weeks?

Shertienne Lee: Knowing the deadline. Six weeks for a whole collection is definitely not enough time. It was actually a very stressful period. It was two weeks of sampling. The third week was when I started to get my fabrics together, and that was when I found out I couldn’t get some fabrics. I was a student; I don’t work, so the cost was also an issue. There was the back and forth of trying to get a discount or a sponsor. I used that whole week to get the fabric, and then I spent the next three weeks making the garments. Being a student, I didn’t have my own sewing machine; I had to always go to the university to use a sewing machine. I was basically at the uni every single day, even on weekends. Just being at the uni itself minimises distractions. There was no TV or anything, so I was able to focus.

FAB: Would you say you have found a particular material that you love to work with?

Shertienne Lee: Not at the moment. There are different kinds of beautiful fabrics, but I think I’m more interested in any sort of embroidery. When I see really beautiful embroidery, it sort of makes me want to create something. So, embroidery on chiffon, canvas, or silk. That’s it.

Shertienne Lee’s Collection

Call For Sustainable Fashion

FAB: What’s your own opinion about the call for sustainability, and what’s your commitment to making the fashion industry more sustainable?

Shertienne Lee: I am on the side of being sustainable. Even as a consumer, I haven’t shopped fast fashion for a good while. I haven’t shopped fast fashion for five years. All my clothes are basically from my friends, or I go do some shopping, or I just make them myself. There’s this fine line of sacrifice on my side. When I buy clothes, I think about where I actually buy them from and if I will actually make use of them when I buy them. If I wouldn’t wear it, I wouldn’t buy it. More of the clothes I end up collecting are just basics or comfortable clothes. I have unique pieces too, but those are the ones I knew I would wear often.

On the design side of things, I do my best to think about the more sustainable side. I try to use fabrics that are sustainable, or at least, companies that are more on the ethical side. There is also a personal struggle with not being able to afford sustainable fabric. If I don’t use sustainable fabrics, it hurts me personally. It gives me emotional pain. What I end up doing is repurposing old fabric. I also stock up on fabrics from the university. My university has this thing where other brands can donate fabrics for students to use. That’s where I get a lot of my fabrics as well.

Shertienne Lee: I really don’t look at trends. I know it is important to know these things in the fashion industry, but as a consumer myself, I don’t follow trends. I only buy clothes when I really like them, and we use them and wear them. Trendy clothing doesn’t really appeal to me.

FAB: It’s 2024, and the call is for gender-fluid fashion. Do you have any comments about genderless fashion?

Shertienne Lee: I have seen it very often, and sometimes I just don’t understand why there’s a category when you can just shop from either segment. I mean, either from the women’s or the men’s section. I can always go into the men’s section and buy men’s clothing, but then people are going to say I’m wearing gender fluid clothing. I don’t get the sudden segmentation, but I also noticed that even though there is this trend going on, there are still people out there who love tailored clothing. I am not saying they are men or women, but there are people who like something they can claim as their identity. If you look into China, it has a lot of very feminine clothing. It doesn’t mean the males can’t wear it, but it just fits the female body a lot better than a biological male body.

FAB: What fashion path would you like to take after your education?

Shertienne Lee: Right now, I am in my placement year. Instead of working for someone else, I have decided to take the year to do research on starting my own brand. It’s not typical fashion. It’s something to do with my mermaid tails. I am a professional ocean mermaid swimmer, so I have an interest in designing mermaid tails while also combining it with my interest in fashion, using fashion techniques like sewing, embroidery, beading, and whatnot to incorporate into the mermaid suit itself.

FAB: Is there any brand you’re looking to collaborate with on this project?

Shertienne Lee There are a few companies that make very innovative textiles. There’s a company that makes sequins. The company is called “The Sustainable Sequin Company. I’ve been talking to this girl called Rachael, and she will be sending me some off-cuts of some materials that they use. I would want to incorporate those sequins into whatever I do with my mermaid tails. I’ll also try to find more sustainable industries and incorporate them. In terms of design collaboration, there is a dream to collaborate with high-end fashion brands. I would design my mermaid tail collection with the same inspiration as ready-to-wear, and the two would go hand in hand. It’s like a vision for the future.

Shertienne Lee

Shertienne Lee on Beauty Secrets, Fashion Essentials, and Fitness Hack

FAB: What is your beauty ritual/secret?

Shertienne Lee: Genes. I use a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. Those are the three main things. I try not to use too many products, especially when I don’t think my face needs them. I don’t think I should introduce chemicals that my body will rely on when I don’t really need them in the first place. I take a lot of advice from friends that are in the beauty industry or from those who have used a cosmetic product for a long time and would recommend it. Here in the UK, it’s harder to find some specific things, so I have decided to experiment with more UK brands.

FAB: From your own perspective, what are the three things every fashion-conscious student should have?

Shertienne Lee: A nice coat to keep you warm. Also, when you have no idea what to wear, wear anything underneath and cover it up with the coat. People will think you’ve dressed up, but you really didn’t. The second is a statement bag. It’s useful, and it elevates an outfit when it’s basic, but you still want to make a statement. The third is a nice and comfortable sneaker. That is really important. Stay up to date on the newest in the world of Fashion, Arts, Beauty and Lifestyle; Follow FAB on Instagram.

FAB: What’s your routine when it comes to fitness and well-being?

Shertienne Lee: I started recently to maintain a proper sleep schedule. I started to wake up early, and the first thing I do is Pilates. I follow a YouTube channel for a 28-day fitness challenge. I repeat them over and over again. Once I finish the Pilates in the morning, I usually do breakfast. A granular cereal kind of breakfast and also a banana smoothie with cinnamon. Then I spend the rest of the day doing work.

Fun Zone: #FabFastFive

FAB: What’s your favourite makeup product?

Shertienne Lee: Flower Knows Eyeshadow Palette

FAB: Music or movies

Shertienne Lee: Movies

FAB: Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Shertienne Lee: Introvert.

FAB: What’s your favourite time of the holiday?

Shertienne Lee: Winter

FAB: What’s your favourite childhood memory?

Shertienne Lee: Playing with leaves

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