Linh La

The Outsider

When you’re stressed the first thing you want to do sometimes is give up. Linh La’s collection was inspired by the story of Judith Scott, the artist who didn’t give up. Scott was a visual artist who was born with Down syndrome and had deafness; as a result, she was secluded from outside influences. In the 18 years Scott was active as an artist, she never repeated any artwork shape or color scheme. Scott’s work included long lengths of knotted cloth or yarn and creating mixed media sculptures. LA interprets this process as the artist’s way of holding onto everything around her because she cannot speak, and this is her way of expressing her feelings. For her collection, La adopted the same artistic process as Scott. Unlike artists who make plans or conceptualize before they start a project, La enjoys bringing everything she likes to her workspace and laying all the materials out to see what she can improvise and create right on the spot. 

linh la portait

For her thesis collection, La wanted to play with different types of textures. Her creative process was developed by gathering various textures and colors to experiment with designs she could combine. La likes to manipulate her materials and garments first, and then sketch a look. Just like her inspiration, all of La’s creations were crafted without preliminary preparation. When La first did her garment process, her pieces came out in what she describes as ‘too crafty,’ so she decided to combine more weaving into the garments. She borrowed from Scott’s weaving ideas and applied them to garment draping. Then, for her second draping process, she combined hats and woven pieces to create that uncanny spiral effect of Scott’s work. 

La has noticed that when it comes to artists with disabilities like Scott, they tend to push through significant obstacles and rarely give up. This perseverance is something that La finds so beautiful and inspiring, something she worked into her collection. 

Words by Madison Ahmani, BA Fashion Journalism