Categories: Fashion & Design

Interview with a new wave of fashion designers: Li Xinen

We spoke with one of the semi-finalists for Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award 2022, Ms Li Xinen, our student from the MDIS School of Fashion and Design (SFD). Taking the fashion world by storm, get a glimpse of her fashionably creative mind as she tells her experience of being a design school student and how her craftsmanship has evolved over time.  

SFD student, Li Xinen 

What is your design inspiration?  

My collection – Baptism – draws inspiration from the humanistic landscape of Tibet. Located in Eastern Asia, the Tibetan region expresses the vastness of the landscape. The theme behind Baptism is to remind people to find a time to rest and escape from the pessimism of today’s rapid social development. 

Baptism is to identify: ‘When there is no “I” I can be anyone.’  

The apparel design is for autumn and winter, which is grounded on the Chinese clothing silhouette and recreated as the main style design and concept. As for my garment construction, my fabric choices included soft satins, cotton and other fabrics that splice each other, creating a harmonious tone with neat cutting to give a cool and eye-catching feeling. 

Baptism Collection – garment

Is there a story behind this collection?  

In 2012, Chinese American artist, Beili Liu performed an art concept installation performance called The Mending Project. Her installation hung 1,500 scissors from the ceiling with the blade pointing towards the floor. Her art performance reminds me of my past anxieties that I managed to overcome and re-examine myself.  

My inspirations for my designs have always included religion, culture, lifestyle and the sceneries from my travelling experiences such as Tibet. With Beili Liu’s performance combined with my experiences, Baptism was conceived. I want my collection to evoke a realisation that psychological problems may result from the pressures of this fast-paced society.  

What are your design influences? 

The story of this collection expresses my signature design aesthetics that is modern, clean, gentle and uncluttered. I believe that clothes can bring self-confidence to the wearer, yet also generate an inner perception with the wearer as they give a sense of inner abundance.  

Behind Li Xinen’s Design Aesthetics

Why did you choose to study at MDIS? 

Unlike other fashion schools in Singapore, SFD allows me to choose from more than just one university partner school and offers me a pathway progression from a Diploma to a UK (Hons) Bachelor’s Degree. Additionally, I also know that the universities MDIS has partnered with are globally recognised. Moreover, SFD has multiple fashion studios for aspiring fashion designers like me to bring my creative practices to the table and work on my projects.  

What is your favourite part of being a fashion designer? 

My passion for fashion design comes from finding a lasting source of inspiration based on my observations and the sights and sounds that surround me. For example, during one of my pitstops on my trip, the vast scenery and strong atmosphere of Tibet gave me a lot of ideas.  

What do you like about studying at MDIS? 

Being in my last semester for my fashion degree, I am currently working on Baptism, which is my Final Year Project (FYP) while also preparing some fashion portfolios. The projects that I undertook during my time at MDIS, and the knowledge and skills I have garnered will definitely help me be prepared for the fashion industry. 

Some of my modules also include collaborating with various local fashion brands which have given me valuable industry experience as I get a peek at the various fashion business processes. At the same time, these modules also provided me with a set of guidelines and work ethics that I can adapt to the fashion industry for me to be presentable as I enter the workforce.  

School of Fashion and Design  

Looking to kick-start a fashion business or simply just eager to break out in the fashion industry? Look no further! Here at MDIS School of Fashion and Design (SFD), we offer design courses from diploma to degree. We welcome both local and international students and are open to accepting a variety of students – from students seeking full-time fashion programmes as well as mature students looking for part-time design courses. SFD equips students with the necessary skill set and experience to get them started on their passion for fashion. Browse our full list of fashion courses here.   

Written by Natasha Sharudin and Li Xinen 

Edited by Natasha Sharudin and Betache Precious Mae  


Founded in 1956, the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) is Singapore’s oldest not-for-profit professional institute for lifelong learning. MDIS has two main subsidiaries: Management Development Institute of Singapore Pte Ltd which oversees its Singapore academic operations, and MDIS International Pte Ltd which focuses on MDIS’ globalisation strategy. MDIS offers internationally-accredited courses in Business and Management, Engineering, Fashion and Design, Health and Nursing, Information Technology, Languages and Education, Life Sciences, Media and Communications, Psychology, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Safety and Environmental Management.

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