top of page

EMBRACING TRADITION IN A TECH-DRIVEN WORLD: MONICA JUDY LIU'S ARTISTIC ODYSS | THAILAND FASHION WEEK

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN TFW TIMES MAGAZINE | ISSUE OCT 2023

Article Published on: 24TH NOV 2023 | www.thailandfashionweek.org


Monica Judy Liu (Mon) is a mix-media artist from Boston with an extensive background in jewelry making, fiber art, stained glass, paper, and collage art. Her love of community and the social capital that art drives have led her, over the years, to offer her home as a studio to international artists across multiple disciplines.

In 2006, she moved to New York City where she hosted a community of artists in her home studio while she continued to make jewelry and educated herself in various art forms. She earned a certificate for filmmaking, screenwriting, and editing, at the New York Film Academy and graduated from the New York School of Interior Design. She later practiced perfecting her craft at the Art Student League of New York and took sewing classes at Mood U. Mon also attended Harvard University's Career Discovery Program for Architectural Studies and attended Mass College of Art (now Mass Art) for Foundation of Fine Art.


She has traveled to Europe, Canada, China, and Japan to learn different art techniques to incorporate into her work, and to enrich and inform her artistic perspectives.


Past three years after relocating back to Boston, she took part in several community art projects based in the city, designing headpieces, accessories & costumes for dance performances working with the Huntington Theatre who specializes in costume making. This led her to decide to join New York Fashion Week when she saw their ad.

FASHION DESIGNER MONICA JUDY LIU

Mon Liu’s creations are handmade and intricate, inspired by various cultures and create a fusion between the past and the future, presenting dreamlike, elegant looks that honour roots and independence.


Most recently she presented her work at New York Fashion Week, September 2023. "The Queen Collection - A Fusion Through History" featured models wearing pieces inspired by various queens known from history and literature or myths.

She feels that touching, playing and experimenting with traditional materials are activities that help her to center herself in the essence of life. As a Gen Xer, she is immersed in an ever-evolving universe of technology and social media where the world can feel cold, artificial, and isolating.


According to her own words, bending and twisting metals and holding soft, bumpy, fuzzy and shiny fabrics make her feel joyful and removed from that tech-bombarded existence. Her focus is to encourage the practice of physical creation to celebrate both natural beauty and natural social connectedness through fashion, interior and visual art.


She is looking forward to continuing making her design to join FW shows and she hopes to find sponsors who would sponsor her to continue making beautiful Fashion Week shows in 2024 & beyond, in New York - London - Milan - Paris, and other art shows. Mon loves to travel, attend art shows, and meet artists from diverse backgrounds. Her heartfelt dream is to set up brick-and-mortar multidisciplinary art studio galleries in New York City, various art stimulating places in the US and in different countries, to enrich and unite sustainable living art disciplinary life around the world.


A Creative Odyssey: Mon Liu designs New York Multidisciplinary Approach to Art and Fashion

Mon Liu Designs New York brand is the brainchild of Monica Judy Liu (Mon). Founded in 2023, the Brand was born of an eclectic range of creations, coming from her artistic background in jewellery making, fiber arts, stained glass and paper arts.

Driven by her passion for community and the transformative power of art, Mon Liu Designs New York has taken shape from Mon's Boston origins, where she honed her skills as a mixed media artist. Her journey led her to open her home as an art studio for international artists across various disciplines. In the 2000s she was well known for her work in New York City, combining her artistic endeavors with hosting a thriving community of artists in her home studio.

She holds a New York Film Academy certificate and a degree from the New York School of Interior Design and has studied in the prestigious Art Student League of New York. Moreover, she enriched her artistic perspectives by participating in Harvard University's Discovery Program for Architecture Studies and Mass Art, She also traveled to Canada, China, Europe and Japan, where she learned diverse art techniques and incorporated them into her diverse work.

Mon Liu Designs New York is a brand that came to life from love of beauty, recognition of cultural diversity and heritage and handmade aesthetics. As the brand is run by an artist, all the creations are wearable artistic pieces made with the thought of embracing the feel of beauty coming from within, reflected in ornamental intricate structures she creates at her home studio. Her most recent series of work "The Queen Collection - A Fusion Through History" featured cross-gender dressing through inspirations in: Marie Antoinette, Queen Elizabeth I, Cleopatra, The Queen of Hearts and The Bohostyle Mongolian Queens as its center theme.


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW OF MONICA LIU WITH TFW TIMES

Step into the world of artistic fashion with Monica Judy Liu, the innovative designer of Mon Liu Designs. Drawing inspiration from an array of creative disciplines, Monica's unique vision brings history and fashion together in captivating ways. In this interview, she shares her journey and the essence of her eclectic designs.


Q: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting Mon Liu Designs New York and how your diverse artistic background played a role in its inception?

A. I always loved art & crafting, I love the authenticity of how things are made from scratch. I collected a library of 'how to' books and wanted to create something out of the web of fine art experience I learned from all the mediums and art subjects and methods I studied - architecture & interiors, embroidery, sewing, jewelry, polymer clay, mosaic, stained glass, collage, flower arrangement, drawing, painting, sewing, macrame, metal wire bending .. the matter is how to integrate all these disciplines beautifully.


Q: How would you describe the unique style and aesthetic of Mon Liu Designs, and what sets it apart from other fashion design houses in New York?

A. I would make a design on one part with macrame and then use metal weaving on another part in the same piece. My pieces are often non-traditional, you can make fiber with different structures or materials and it will be Haute Couture. I wouldn't say I will never incorporate sewing into my pieces, but I can say there is not 1 stitch of thread in the pieces I made in my NYFW autumn 2023 debut. Using alternative techniques is what makes my art intricate and different from others.


Q: Could you share some key milestones or memorable moments in the journey of Mon Liu Designs that have had a significant impact on its growth and development?

A. It is when I saw the Runway 7 fashions ad. After the pandemic, people got so detached, isolated from each other. I wanted to create something so bad, to get out all that creative energy that got locked inside and get out of my funk. Doing this is like a regime, my art practice, a challenge for myself. It is my art debut and I loved it. It gave me the chance to know who are the friends that will stick with me all the way through, 2 friends who stayed throughout, who contributed more than I ever wanted in helping me build my brand, Mon Liu Designs New York. It truly sparked up some faith in humanity.


Q: Mon Liu Designs is known for its mixed-media approach to fashion. Can you explain how you incorporate various art forms, such as jewelry making, fiber arts, stained glass, and paper art, into your fashion creations?

A. For instance, I only have 5 looks to display in NYFW. So I had to diversify and incorporate all the different methods, make them fashionable and wearable, artfully. I wanted something that you would be crazy to wear but beautiful.


Q: What is your creative process like when conceptualizing and designing a new collection for Mon Liu Designs?

A. I come up with a theme, find image inspirations from history, develop drawings, find materials, then develop ways to construct and put them together. Sometimes it comes flawless and sometimes no matter what I do it doesn't come out right. The thing I learned through the process is, Don't force it. Your technique will tell you if something belongs there, or not. Then you gotta listen and unravel the whole thing, wait, and do it when it comes.


Q: Community and social capital seem to be important aspects of your work. How Mon Liu Designs New York contribute to fostering a sense of community within the fashion industry or beyond?

A. I am glad that you asked. MLDNY used Queens as center theme with cross-gender and models of multi cultures in NYFW debut, through inspirations in : Marie Antoinette neck piece and cage dress, Queen Elizabeth I Peacock Belt Dress, Cleopatra Chain Dress, Queen of Hearts Belt Trail Dress, and The Boho-style of Mongolian Queens macrame 'Bleeding Rose' Dress.


"In each country, The Queen represents the mother of peace for their land. No matter our gender difference, we each have a queen inside of us that we can use to reach out, unite and nurture one another." - Mon Liu Designs New York


Q: You've hosted international artists in your home studio. How has this cross-disciplinary collaboration influenced your creative approach and the designs produced by Mon Liu Designs?

A. Many professionals come to NYC not having family or loved ones close by, I felt that for myself when I first arrived in nyc. It can be cold and isolated when we come to a new city. Before moving to New York, I remember hosting a biweekly art group with some artistic friends at home in Boston. We take turns to host an art gathering that includes cooking your home cultural meal, everyone helps as well as setting up a beautiful table, decorate it. In each meeting, 2 artists will organize and teach an art of their choice after dinner, including bringing in the materials. So I wanted to use that same template to create a welcoming artist specific environment because I believe art is what really makes the heart grow fonder. It helped me build a sizable collection of books in my library, it is like an elixir to learning different ways to craft my techniques. This is how MLDNY came about.


Q: Can you highlight some of the challenges you've faced as a mixed-media artist in the fashion industry, and how you've overcome them?

A. People will judge your designs as an idea and not being traditional and what not. Don't let anyone push you to do so, so that you end up making hasty decisions and have 2nd thoughts about your pieces. As a visual artist who went through ups & downs to make pieces wearable, there is a balance and standard in making pieces so that people will have minimized doubt in wearing them so I collaborate with professional costume makers to make it into perfection while doing everything we can to keep the art original. It is important to let nature help me with my design, what belongs there will tell me that it does. Make self-loving rituals and become so accepting of yourself, so that you can easily get in the right mood to make your pieces, then let everything go. Get enough rest so you can hear it, the time will come to tell you, you need to stop making and to wrap it all up.


Q: Sustainability is a growing concern in the fashion industry. How does Mon Liu Designs approach sustainable and ethical practices in its design and production processes?

A. In sustainability, I am still a newbie but it sparks great interest especially in my generation as we are seeing less and less of what we grew up from. Since learning to recycle itself is a process, I am learning to collect natural & recycled materials, reshape, preserve, structure, and to integrate them into a piece. I recently ventured into dried flowers, it would be so awesome to find ways to make beautiful wearable art.


Q: What do you consider to be the signature piece or collection that best represents the essence of Mon Liu Designs, and why?

A. The Marie Antoinette neck piece that came out first at my NYFW debut, it is my signature piece. The whimsical, Marie Antoinette inspired look had gotten me a lot of attention from the press, and also from lots of friends. It is the piece that got me inspired to make The 'Cage Dress' to go with it. That look was how "The Queen Collection" developed.


Q: Can you share any upcoming projects, collaborations, or initiatives that Mon Liu Designs is currently working on or planning for the future?

A. We are looking to continue making beautiful Fashion Week shows in New York, London, Milan, Paris, and in Asia. We are looking for sponsors that would sponsor me to join more shows. It takes a lot of time, money, energy and collaboration to make 1 show. I love the process. I love that I get to get busy with what I love to do. I love that I have friends who continue to show up, encouraging me to pursue my dream.


Q: In the world of fashion, trends are ever-evolving. How do you stay relevant and innovative while maintaining the core identity of Mon Liu Designs?

A. Being a designer means you yourself is the trend setter. There will be good times and there will be bad times. There will be times that you are setting trends, at other times you will be against the trend. The main thing is no matter what, stay true to yourself and not make hasty decisions just so you finish the piece looking like someone else's design. There will be times that tempt you into doing so.


Q: How do you see the future of Mon Liu Designs evolving, and what are your long-term goals for the brand?

A. I see beautiful windows with MLDNY collections. I plan to develop more accessories that will make up more wholesome collections. I want to hit the major pillars in Fashion Week - New York, London, Milan, Paris. Currently looking for sponsors who will sponsor me to do shows in all the different countries.


Q: Are there any specific cultural or artistic influences that consistently inspire your work at Mon Liu Designs?

A. MLDNY is all-one culturally and encourages male & female equality. We all come to an agreement, I would like to see male figures wearing my bridal collection, gleaming in handsome, classical beauty.


Q: What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers or mixed-media artists who hope to pursue a career similar to yours and create their own unique brand or style?

A. Stay true to yourself. You rather say no if things don't come at the right time. But when it comes, put out your best + a little more.


CONNECT & FOLLOW MON LIU DESIGNS

Official website of Fashion Designer Mon Liu - www.monliudesigsny.com

Follow Mon Liu Designs on Instagram - @monliudesigns_ny, @asohofineartist

bottom of page