RMIT, Australia.

Betty Liu

Eating the Other

Betty’s collection ‘Eating the Other’ borrows ideas from Edward Said’s ‘Orientalism’ and Homi Bhabha’s ‘Mimicry’. It explores ways in which Western fashion tends to exotify and commodify non-western cultures, in turn continually reinforcing dogmatic stereotypes of Chinese culture.

Delving into the stereotypical idea of the lotus flower and its antithesis, the dragon lady, Betty first explored the manifestation of these dualities through Western fashion’s fascination with the qipao. (Chinese one-piece dress) as the visibility of qipao is so prevalent in the West, often depicted in tones of hyper-sexuality and mystique, she wanted to create something that commented on the stereotyping of the qipao without deliberately sexualising the dress. The designer looked into the idea of repetition in representing the qipao, as it is also known for being mass produced, as seen in tourist souvenir stores and market stalls in China.

The collection features many garments with long and closed-off sleeves; this was to intensify the feeling of entrapment. While Betty’s garments may appear to look very distinct from each other, they all share common themes of text prints, heaviness and entrapment—albeit manifesting in different ways.