Lifestyle

Exploring sexuality through fashion, with Chet Lo

Contemporary designer Chet Lo is redefining high-end clothing with incredible visuals that combine elements of his past. You may know Lo’s skilful use of highly textured materials and his exploration of knitwear, which has become a phenomenon in the fashion world. If you’re familiar with Lo’s designs, you’ll understand that he gives the word ‘knitwear’ a new meaning. His signature popcorn knits have become a staple for fashionistas everywhere.

A dress by Chet Lo would not be complete without spikes or bubbles in any range of bold colours or jet blacks. Yet, what really sets Lo’s work apart is his head-turning exploration of sexuality. With his unique designs, Lo is not afraid to break down traditional norms in relation to sexual and gender identity.

Lo is an Asian American designer from New York City who first relocated to London for the uber-cool (not to mention highly reputable) Central Saint Martins. Lo graduated in 2020 with a BA in Knitwear, making him somewhat new to the fashion world, although you wouldn’t guess it. The fashion world and beyond celebrate Chet Lo for his bold designs. They are unique, evocative and enough to turn heads, as many have at his Fashion Week presentations.

Chet Lo presents an ‘erotic world’ and ‘a tale of love and loss’ in his SS24 collection: Haam Sap. Lo uses seductive prints, alluding to the sensual nature of ancient Chinese erotic art and Japanese Shunga, common motifs in his work. Lo grew up believing these art forms were taboo, partly due to their celebration of sexuality and specifically same-sex couples. 

Lo has spoken openly about the more challenging experiences of his youth. As a young boy, Lo, who is LGBTQIA+, was bullied for his sexuality. Instead of shying away from the past, Lo celebrates it by showcasing a vast portfolio of symbolism across his collections. An artist who channels past histories and challenges into ground-breaking art is someone to behold; that goes without saying. It’s no wonder Lo’s work, which has garnered critical acclaim, has stormed the dynamic fashion industry.  

I first became aware of this innovative designer at his SS24 London Fashion Week presentation. A groovy central London venue provided the perfect backdrop for the evocative Haam Sap collection. It was textile heaven for all who watched Lo break down the moulds of traditional dress styles (think of all those contrasting textures). Hair artist Anna Cofone ensured hair was as dramatic as the collection and echoed the symbols of bondage in Lo’s designs. Like any art form, fashion often represents complex ideas in a mirage of colours and materials. 

Haam Sap represents how Lo dealt with issues of control and conformity in the past. Ideas surrounding bondage are a note-worthy motif in this collection dedicated to celebrating one’s sexuality. This is where inspiration from ancient Chinese erotic art and Japanese Shunga come into play. If you’ve seen Haam Sap, you’ll applaud the way Lo delicately echoes the erotic motifs from these ancient art forms. The main message of Haam Sap? Feel sexy in your own body. Feel seen. This inspiration seems to have always flowed through Lo’s work effortlessly. 

Lo is certainly a name to keep your eye on. His work has been featured in leading magazines, Vogue, L’Officiel, and Dazed, to name a few. Lo already has an impressive A-List clientele, hello Dua Lipa and Doja Cat, with many cultural icons sporting his designs. It will be interesting to see what he presents next.  

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Lifestyle Editor

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