First of all, this is a fashion design project. I chose “industrial” because there’s no fashion category here. Doppelgänger is the formal/casual wear collection for my University. The idea was to design based on different experiences we’ve gone through, and create a collection that would identify who we are as soon as people would see it.
It’s like the whole collection is the storyteller of our personal lives.

I came up with the idea or concept after I made a map of myself, with definitions and experiences I have lived, what marked my live and, somehow, made me who I am these days.
In my map, I wrote the word ”education”, and chose that word to develop the project. Why did I choose it? I was born in Taiwan, but my parents brought me to Costa Rica when I was only 4 months old, I had no power in that moment to complain or anything, so here I am. The thing is, growing up in another country is a bit difficult, the language, culture, food, people’s behaviors, etc. I mean, I come from a tiny island in Asia, all the way to the middle of Latin America, it was a wild experience in the late 90’s.
My parents arrived in Costa Rica without any plans, they told me that Costa Rica used to be the most advanced country in Latin America to visit and to live. And that’s the reason why I’ve been here for two decades.
So, I got two types of education, what my parents taught me, and what the Costa Rican society taught me all these years (and I keep learning from them). The education inside my house from my elders was basically like the movies, very strict. So I represented it with geometric patterns and shapes in the collection. From my point of view, what everyone learns from within their families is the primordial lesson for life, ever! And I connected it in with the patterns, to me isthe first thing to do before giving life to any design in the fashion industry.
On the other hand, I learned from the Costa Rican folks that life is not perfect, sometimes we cannot control it at all and the only way is to be part of the ”mistake” and keep going, and all the stuff related to enjoying life while you’re learning too. I depicted all of these lessons learned through failure in the handmade embroidery of some pieces in the collection. I wanted to represent it in that way because I think all the lessons learned from mistakes can also be added to my primordial lesson taken from my family

The creation of the project doesn’t have much tools or software, pretty much all of it was made by my hands, was an artisanal process.
The first thing I did after designing the whole collection was finding fabrics that could adapt better to my concept. For example, Doppelgänger is a Fall/Winter, Formal/Casual wear collection, so the fabric I had to be thermal.
After finding the fabrics, I used Adobe Illustrator to make the patterns, print them and cut them.
The development of the clothes was basic, I sewed up the patterns and make the thing wearable. The difficult part was the details, the finishes, I needed to make it clean and carefully to proof the collection’s professionalism.
When all the outfits are made, I do the handmade embroidery on them, which doesn’t have any design planned, I just embroidered whatever I wanted in the moment, and let the design came out.

After I presented the project, people understood it at all actually, and responded very well. The Headmaster said the collection was literally representing myself, many of my behaviors and he could see through all the experiences I lived, being a foreigner in another country.
From Doppelgänger I learned many things, but the most important one was to open myself to myself, accepting me and realizing that there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m just a mix of two very different cultures.

Hao Wu

Fashion designer
Taiwanese based in Costa Rica