Skin & Shells – contemporary fashion design by HKPU & EKA students

Photographer: Nick D (Spitgan Magazine)

Skins & Shells is a collaborative project between fashion design students from Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) and Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA). The creative project focuses on speculations of evolution, sustainability and future. It has been presented in Hong Kong and will now be exhibited in Tallinn Design Festival, Estonia.

The joint platvorm was created between students from different parts of the world, but with the same dedication to fashion design and textile. MA Fashion Design students from EKA and MA Fashion & Textile Design Programme students from HKPU designed 1600 Chinese wooden fans, iconic to Asia, that reflected the meaning of “protective membranes” surrounding the existence of life.

For two weeks in January 2018, Liisi Eesmaa (Estonian fashion designer) and Piret Puppart (MA Fashion Design Programme Leader at EKA) and Basia Szkutnicka (MA Fashion & Textile Design MA Programme Leader at HKPU) guided students from Hong Kong and Tallinn. Having given Fashion and Design students a platform for communication, integration, cultural exchange and artistic creation. The title Skins&Shells can be taken both literally and in an abstract sense, creating a concept of a shield that protects the wearer like armour in an urban context or a piece of traditional clothing that can be identified as sort of a “skin”. The outcome was 11 brave fashion design pieces with a narratiive that transforms the human silhouette.

The nature of wood, it’s flexibility and ability to take on new forms pushed the design concepts forward. The subject matter provided the students from Estonia and China a broad landscape to explore, experiment, defy normality and create a new alternative to couture together. Nothing was pre-determined and everything was possible. Symmetry, assymmetry, mathemathical repetition and randomness, became their tools. The aim was to challenge traditional thinking in design. To work fearlessly. Without rules or boundaries. Total freedom like this opened a flood of creativity and exploration rarely seen in a classroom.

Tallinn Design Festival
“Skin and Shells” exhibition will be presented in the 13th Tallinn Design Festival, September 2018. For a week, the unique festival which centres on different new and revieved places in Tallinn, Estonia. The theme of this year’s event is Human Cities. Designers, architects, urbanists, and planners are committed to ensuring a more sustainable and human-friendly urban environment.

Estonian Academy of Arts
Established in 1914, the EKA is the only public university in Estonia providing higher education in fine arts, design, architecture, media, visual studies, art culture, and conservation. EKA has close ties with more than 100 international universities and many international networks, through which student and faculty exchanges can be negotiated and internship opportunities can be expanded. EAA is a member of CUMULUS (International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media); EAAE (European Association for Architectural Education) and through NORDPLUS is a member of many professional networks.


Tutors: Liisi Eesmaa, Piret Puppart, Basia Szkutnicka

Photographer: Nick D (Spitgan Magazine)



Sandra Luks
Shao Li (Tangle)
Sin Ka Yiu (Carol)
Tong Ziyi (Ines)
Gong Hailin (Lin)
Chen Yuqing (Toto)
Julia Horvath
Kadi Adrikorn
Zhang Chuyue (Luna)
Maarika Karm
Li Rouqianxue (Rue)
Shubhi Aggarwal
Krete Beljajev
Shen Yang (Young)
Zhao Han (Maya)
Annika Kiidron
Cheng Dong (Demi)
LU Hanyan (Rhino)
Zheng Birong (Jessica)
Huang Yaqi (Yuvia)
Mariliis Niine
Chan Chiu Tung (Cherie)
Qiu Sheng (Shawn)
Hung Yuen Wai (Vivian)
Kairi Katmann
Liu Tiange (Sky)
Frida Jõe
Shum Hei Man (Samantha)
Ding Xujiao (Naomi)
Feng Yuxue (Feng)
Xu Hongyan (Mia)



Tallinn Design Festival:

Skin & Shells exhibition in Tallinn:



Piret Puppart
Professor of EKA Fashion Design

Basia Szkutnicka – Professor of Practice and MA fashion & textile Design Programme Leader
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