Melissa Kirgan &
Xing-Zhen Chung-Hilyard

Xing-Zhen Chung-Hilyard

A leaf is not just green.

Look closer and you see it is really orange, yellow, and blue, and olive. Life is not as simple as a leaf. There are so many complexities in the smallest of things that make it unique and whole. Emotion, experience, labor, & love combined are a few of the things I incorporate into each piece I create. My paintings are never just paintings and my dresses are never just dresses.

My life began in Taiwan and my artistic journey has drawn me to NYC. Where I learned how beautiful the act of creating “slow fashion” is and how lovely it can be when made in collaboration with like-minded artisans. I enjoy sharing my knowledge of handcraft through teaching crochet lessons and screen print classes within my design community. My background is in organizing local designers to work together from a retail platform such as the magnificent fashion haven, Art Fiend Foundation and it’s predecessor Ekovaruhuset in NY’s bustling Lower East Side.

Tapping into raw traditions while refining the evolution of my craft is the most important element to the nature of my work.

Melissa Kirgan

“To be able to transform a tangible idea into a solid creation is for me the greatest high and an intense motivation to all I do.”

Living in NYC I am honored so be surrounded by so many different styles all-meshing together harmoniously in one amazing place. My happiest moments are to sit at a subway stop with my coffee and my iPod and breath in all of the interesting and bizarre costumes and uniforms that cross my path; each one more interesting then the next; each one telling a unique story about the wearer.

My career began in becoming a leather craft apprentice in a small Philadelphia town. From there I went on attended FIT in NYC and Polimoda in Florence, Italy. And since I have had the pleasure of aiding in numerous design houses large and small. My skill lies in creating garments though patternmaking, draping and various hand techniques as well as understanding the shapes in the body and reflecting them into the clothing to create a fine-tuned fit.

Creating with a conscious that respects the path that each garment I made came has led me to become an adamant supporter of using materials that are chemical-free and gentile to the worker as well as the wearer.