Hidden Figures - Marina Yee

Hidden Figures - Marina Yee

by Michael Garrett

Antwerp 6

For fashion fanatics that may not be familiar with Marina Yee, she may be more on your radar than you would initially think. After all, Yee is a member of the Antwerp Six, a legendary group of Belgian Avant-Garde designers who all graduated from the city’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts between 1980 and 1981. While each member maintained their own unique inspiration and style, the group as a whole carved a path for a now endless line of experimental designers that have achieved commercial success. Yee specifically remains the enigma of the group, always respected for her reconstructed secondhand garments.

Recent work - Following her emergence as one of Antwerp fashion’s proudest treasures, Yee backed away from the spotlight in 1988, allowing the inspiration she provided her fellow designers with to show through—as now, it is near impossible to shop without catching a glimpse of her style in current reconstructed designs. However, in recent years, Yee has reappeared, showcasing her “M.Y. Project” in Tokyo that consisted of newly designed coats and shirts along some archival selections. The release came as a response to the current state of fashion, according to Yee herself. Her choice to offer new work in such small quantities jabs at the over-offering of choice spread by today’s fashion giants.

Legacy - Marina Yee’s presence within fashion may be mysterious, however both her original and recent work have created a hidden ripple effect that has travelled out of Antwerp and forward decades. Her technique when giving old garments new life and meaning is both unique visually, and demonstrates the direction she has always desired for her industry: constantly evolving design using sustainable methods.