Zihan Emma Zhao



'Tian Yuan', a gender-neutral ready-to-wear collection which includes a clothing collection and accessories. This collection absorbs inspirations from profound messages of ancient Chinese astronomy intertwined with the essence of Go (围棋) -- a Chinese traditional board game.
In Chinese, 'Tian Yuan(天元)' has the meanings of both the origin of the universe and the central point on the Go board.
Rather than traditional stitching, the designer creates 3D ‘maps’ in clothing by interweaving and pleating fabrics, and connecting them with eyelets. Regarding the finer intricacies,  patchwork techniques are introduced to this collection as well, in order to emulating the exquisite texture of the wooden Go board and the intricate patterns found in star charts and Go records. 
Conceptual, symmetrical, and above all cleanliness, this collection brings detailed tailoring to concise but pioneering visual-expression. Additionally, the garments predominantly feature materials like corduroy, cotton, and plaid fabrics, known for their substantial, textured quality and organized pattern, evoking the ambiance of the fall and winter seasons.
Video: 'TianYuan' fashion film


Zihan Emma Zhao, a fashion designer based in Shanghai and New York, employs a modern, minimalist, deconstructive, and conceptual artistic style to delve into the realm of traditional culture.

"Tianyuan" stands as her inaugural small-scale clothing project founded on this concept. Integrating her comprehension of Chinese intangible cultural heritage — Go (围棋) and her 19 years of experience playing this board game, she melds it with ancient Chinese astronomical elements to craft a fashion collection seamlessly fusing tradition with modernity.

Zihan Emma Zhao holds the belief that, as a fashion designer, her purpose extends beyond crafting highly wearable garments. It includes telling stories behind garments and communicating unqiue perspectives and attitudes to the public, all while ensuring practicality.

  • email: emmazhao37@gmail.com

  • instagram: @thirty_seven_01