My journey to become a designer, I think, began with a simple curiosity to find beauty.

When I was younger, it was about the beauty in my looks and attire. As I got older, it became beauty in my speech and my thoughts. Now, beauty matters in what I do and what comes out of everything I produce.

 “Beauty is a form of Genius–is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in the dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.” 

― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

I started painting when I entered high school. It gave me the space to explore what beauty meant through traditional forms of art. I drew to express spaces in my thoughts and I painted to show the universe of my imagination. It was then that I started to develop an opinion of what was appealing and what was not. It sharpened my attention to detail and encouraged my innate ability to observe.

My academic path to becoming a designer made fashion design an obvious choice. At the time, what people put on their bodies and the identities they created were more interesting to me than fancy buildings, furniture, or automobiles. The influences of Prada, Saint Laurent, or Tom Ford were more fascinating than what Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier or Philippe Starck did. Beauty was in status and prestige.

I have since come to realize that all of their contribution to art and design in the modern world is fundamental to our everyday experience. I would like my work to be a challenge – beauty can be designed and shared. In the words of urban theorist and philosopher Henri Lefebvre, “why make the mistake to study the thing rather than what makes the thing.”

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” 

― Coco Chanel

The past two years of acquiring a Master degree in design thinking and design strategies has taught me that beauty may not be subjective at all, but rather an intellectual property of reasoning, understanding, and timing that is more than aesthetics in form and material. It is the manner of communicating a knowledge of human interactions that transcends the physical, the interface, the political, and the social. For me, beauty comes with purpose and meaning.

I think I’ve found beauty. It is through cultivating a deeper meaning in relationships and an effort to empathize with one another that makes design and art truly beautiful. It is in collaboration, partnerships, and thinking beyond of our selves to fight for a balance and justice against prejudice and apathy.

My practice as a designer now is to approach complex systems and turn them it into an array of opportunities and to fashion abstract information into engaging interactions. By Design, beauty can be manifested.

– rachelle t.

You can find more of Rachelle’s work at www.rachelletai.com.

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