Willow Cao

Fashion Product


My journey toward self-discovery and individuality, free from comparisons and external perceptions, has been deeply influenced by my identity as the youngest identical twin. This led me to create a jewelry collection reflecting my growth as a woman and designer, a response to declaring my individuality. Inspired by the proverb from Mulan (1998) "The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all," I chose irises, my favorite flower, that symbolizes enduring faith, hope, and resilience to represent my journey. Their entire life cycle is featured throughout the collection from buds to withering flowers, metaphorically mirroring life's non-linear path of growth, hardships, and renewal.
“Lan” in Chinese means the color blue, significant in my life as a symbol of differentiation from my twin. Blue embodies qualities like loyalty, sincerity, sensitivity, and imagination that resonate with my character. Thus, my collection is titled “Lan” referring to the color blue, the iris, and Mulan, capturing the multifaceted nature of my identity and artistic expression.
Image: Photographed by Anna Sham


A collection of research, design development,
and documentation of the LAN collection.
Image: The Iris Flower
A symbol of enduring faith, hope, and resilence. Over the course of one week I monitored several flowers' growth in hopes to watch their full life cycle. However, I found myself in a bittersweet scenario as I witnessed a few buds bloom in full while the remainder withered away. Seeing the buds die before they could even bloom gave inspiration as a symbol of unrealized potential, a recurring theme I incorporated into the collection.
Image: Production Process
The production process for each piece in the collection was methodical. I used Nomad, a 3D digital platform, to sculpt floral designs with ease using a sketch pad. This allowed me to create organic shapes and experiment with colors digitally. After rendering them into STL files, I imported them into Rhino7, where I crafted the bodies of each piece using various tools like flow curves, piping, cage edit, scale, and rotation. Once satisfied, I sent the files to the university’s 3D Printing Lab for PLA prototypes. After muliple refining, revisions, and fittings, I outsourced the finalized designs to City Castings in NYC’s diamond district to be wax printed, casted in white brass, and high polished.
Image: White Brass & Hand Painted Enamel
High polished white brass with hand-painted blue enamel, creating an ombre effect that runs consistently across the entire collection. Additionally, a touch of yellow is introduced, further enhancing cohesion and subtly referencing the natural colors found in real irises.


“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all” -Mulan
Image: Photographed by Anna Sham


Willow Cao is a New York based interdisciplinary artist and designer. Born and raised in Boca Raton, FL she has an extensive background in the fine arts such as printmaking and illustration. Her work often features visual homage to the depths of her Chinese heritage, placement with cultural-identity, and serene emitting pieces inspired by the natural world. While studying at Parsons School of Design for a BFA in Fashion Design and minor in Communication Design, she discovered her passion for high-end fine jewelry. Her jewelry designs have been featured in Vogue and Elle Magazines and worn by celebrities such as Maye Musk, Raye, Winter of Aespa, Wendy of Red Velvet, (G)-Idle, and more.

Thank you to the LAN team!

Photographer: Anna Sham

Models: Olivia Hu & Andrea Chang

Hair & Makeup: Anna Cao

Production Assistants: Natalia Fernandez & Joyce Xu

Special thank you to Jane and Stone!