Xijia Cheng challenges the boundary of Nijigen & sustainable fashion

Xijia Cheng collects discarded items and transforms them into couture pieces using Clo3D, a cutting-edge design software.

Xijia Cheng | Nijigen & sustainable fashion 1

Canadian designer Xijia Cheng has firmly established herself in the fashion world with her unique approach, marked by the innovative use of unconventional materials and a strong focus on sustainability with her new collection inspired by anime/Nijigen fashion. Her creations have been recently featured on Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam May 2024 Cover Story worn by Coco Rocha, and have been worn by notable celebrities such as RuPaul’s Drag Race queens Yvie Oddly, Daya Betty and Bosco, musical artist Siiickbrain, and singer Pyra.

Xijia Cheng’s new collection is inspired by Anime Fashion Archives, the first online platform showcasing anime and manga-inspired fashion.

Xijia Cheng | Nijigen & sustainable fashion 2

In November 2020, Cheng embarked on a new adventure by starting the Instagram account @animefashion.archives, where her exploration of Nijigen fashion began. “Nijigen,” a term referring to anime, manga, or two-dimension, became the foundation of this community-driven platform. “I wanted to be part of a community where others who share my interests in anime and fashion could come together,” Xijia shares. “The purpose of establishing this account was to clear all the photos of Nijigen fashion I collected on my phone. However, it went beyond that and eventually became the first and biggest platform showcasing anime and manga-inspired fashion.”

The account’s popularity surged, transforming @animefashion.archives into a premier platform with 14k followers for featuring and promoting anime-inspired fashion helping designers and brands to promote their anime-inspired fashion products to their targeted customers.

This thriving platform inspired Cheng’s latest collection, which embodies her vision of Nijigen and sustainable fashion. The collection features garments including zero-waste knitwear garments made with upcycled yarns, accessories, footwear crafted from upcycled materials, unwanted waterproof gallery posters, electronic trash, and broken anime figures from toy factories combined with 3D pattern-making and placement prints to create unique, sustainable fashion.

Xijia Cheng | Nijigen & sustainable fashion 3

Xijia collected unwanted materials from Materials for the Arts, a New York-based non-profit organization and a premier creative reuse center, which provides access to free materials.

Xijia Cheng’s journey into fashion sustainability began with her interest in repurposing discarded items. She has always been inspired by the idea of creating works that push beyond the accepted norms of materials and then incorporating them into her designs, which is her way of promoting sustainability while also exploring innovative approaches.

Her sustainable approach is evident in her meticulous process. Cheng collects discarded items and transforms them into couture pieces using Clo3D, a cutting-edge design software. “I measure everything and turn those measurements into feasible patterns,” Cheng explains. “It’s about taking something deemed worthless and giving it new life, creating something aesthetically pleasing and functional.”

Xijia Cheng | Nijigen & sustainable fashion 4

Cheng’s designs have not only caught the eye of the fashion industry but have also been featured in numerous publications, including including magazine interviews on Vol.Up.2 & Glitch Magazine, the homepage of Not Just A Label, magazine covers on STYLÉCRUZE, Mob Journal , Selin, Vous, magazine pages on Sicky Magazine , VFX, retouch, creative direction and fashion works on PAP Magazine, Flanelle Magazine, Rebel Magazine, Hunter Magazine, Imirage Magazine, Marika Magazine, Figgi Magazine, Ellas Magazine, Moevir Magazine, ROLL UP Magazine. Her work on the cover story for Harper’s Bazaar featuring Coco Rocha is a testament to her significant influence in the fashion world.

Her commitment to sustainability, innovation, and Nijigen fashion is unwavering. “The modern world shapes the future of fashion by promoting sustainability, technology, and functionality,” Xijia notes. “Social media has revolutionized how fashion is marketed and sold, including Nijigen fashion, allowing brands and designers to reach wider audiences and build stronger connections with customers.”

Despite acknowledging the challenges, Cheng remains optimistic. “Sustainable fashion is crucial, though not always 100% practical,” she admits. “But by continuously exploring new materials and techniques, we can move closer to a more sustainable and innovative future.”

As Xijia Cheng continues to push the boundaries of fashion, her groundbreaking work stands as a testament to the seamless blend of creativity and sustainability. With her bold vision and unwavering commitment, Cheng has solidified her place as a leading force in the fashion industry.

Xijia Cheng | Nijigen & sustainable fashion 5

Photographer: Shaohan Fang @shanefang_.
Fashion Design, Creative Direction & Styling: Xijia Cheng @xijiacheng_.
Hair & MUA: Jihong Zhong @ringopuff.
Model: Yiming Yang @fimeonfire.
Lighting: Wenxuan Zhang @jang_wonswian.
Styling Assistant: Jiaxun Li @jiaxunlii.
Assistants: Yue Wu @yue__wu__, Shuang Zhou @shuang_elsie, Dong Deng @abbeyab_68.

Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam