Fusion of two cultures can be a great way to explore new ways of creating art and original fashion design. I spoke to Melody Wang, aka the artist and fashion designer Mori Galaxy about how she has used her unique cultural heritage to create a brand which fuses American with Eastern and Chinese inspiration.
Can you tell me about how you came to create your business and your unique fusion style? What influences did you have growing up and what was your training?
I was born in China and had my education there until 2nd grade, and I can still read, write and speak Chinese; I’m grateful for that cultural background. When I moved to America, I realised how much anime reminded me of my Asian culture, for example I’ve always loved Sailor Moon, it gives me a nostalgic feeling because it is part of my early childhood memories. I put all the cultural influences together and turned it into Mori Galaxy, as I went through art school and starting my own business.
How did you come up with your brand name?
There is a fashion called ‘Mori’ in Japan, the word mori also means forest in Chinese and Japanese, and I love plants and flowers so I wanted something to do with nature. My brand has a lot of inspiration from the natural world, so it seemed a perfect fit.
What challenges have you overcome whilst building your business?
When I was in college, I was doing 12 conventions each year, doing full time school, and trying to start my brand. I was under so much pressure, I had to drop out of school, and my family and friends were critical of that decision at first. I realised I needed to teach myself and that college was not teaching me what I needed to know, about doing practical things, but it was a big step. Running your own business is a big challenge, because you are working long hours. Balance is hard.
What sources do you turn to most often for design inspiration?
So, one of them is Kaori Wakmatsu, a Japanese artist. Her style is very unique; seeing her artwork with lots of detail but with a degree of simplicity is so inspirational. She does a lot of line work and vector. For other sources I use Pinterest a lot to research what type of style I want. I recently got a new art book by Ilya Kuvshinov, a Russian Artist. She is very famous in the illustration world right now, and very good at capturing a moment, like a still of a story, which I love.
What can western designers learn from Asian art and design? What is the benefit of cultural fusion between them?
I think western design can be more simple, a lot of it fonts and text. With Asian designs, it can over complicate, because there are a lot of colours and over the top details. I like to find a middle ground with cleanness and meaningful art designs, a fine middle ground. This is the design philosophy I have based my style on.
How Do you feel about your designs potentially impacting the next generation of young designers?
My current brand is still developing, where influencing the next generation of designers is not part of the job… yet. But, if I do end up influencing people, I hope they never forget where they came from. Either from how they started their brand of their heritage.
After having looked very carefully at Mori’s website, I realized just how innovative and original her fusion between east and west really is, I can see how much effort she has put into creating something that reflects the best of both worlds. Mori Gallaxy is U.S based, but I can imagine that this kind of thing would do well in the UK at MCM conventions and Hyper Japan. Camden market is the kind of place where a fixed shop might work well, it would fit right in along cool shops like Cyberdog. I definitely know what website to look at when it comes to writing my Christmas list!