The Intersection of Fashion and Architecture: Celebrating Yeohlee Teng

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Event Details

"Clothes have magic. Their geometry forms shapes that can lend a wearer power." - Yeohlee Teng

To celebrate Yeohlee's incredible design talent, her contribution to fashion, and her illustrious career, the AIANY Women in Architecture Committee is dedicating a special event to honoring her accomplishments. For over 40 years, Yeohlee Teng has integrated fashion, architecture, and sustainable design. Her career began with a zero-waste, genderless cape, an embodiment of her ethos that “clothing is the first shelter.” As stated in the book YEOHLEE : WORK - Material Architecture (Peleus Press, 2003), her work is synonymous with "intimate architecture," each piece is designed to be adaptable and functional, looks simple, but makes a powerful impression in changing environments of time, place, and circumstance.

Notable New York women architects will showcase Yeohlee’s collections in a runway show and share their appreciation of how Yeohlee’s work resonates with their approach to architecture and design. For this exclusive occasion, Yeohlee’s architect friends and fans will join her in a conversation about the intersectionality between fashion and architecture. Together, they will explore her design philosophy, inspiration, and purpose to "clothe, enhance, engage, empower, and entertain," similar to how architecture impacts our built environment.

Download WIA's references about Yeohlee.

NOTE: Registration and ID are mandatory for the FXCollaborative lobby security access at One Willoughby Square (235 Duffield Street.) No walk-ins will be permitted.

Yeohlee Teng,
Founder and Fashion Designer, YEOHLEE

Runway Model Presenters:
Susan Chin, FAIA, Principal, DesignConnects
Hana Kassem, FAIA, Principal, KPF
Sylvia Smith, FAIA, Partner Emerita, FXCollaborative
Billie Tsien, AIA, Founder and Partner, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
Claire Weisz, FAIA, Principal-in-Charge, WXY

Heidi Schmitt, AIA, Project Architect, Gensler

About the Speaker:
Yeohlee Teng
is an American fashion designer of Chinese heritage from Malaysia. She received the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Fashion Design in 2004, and her work has been displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Yeohlee's clothing designs have been creative and unique since the beginning of her career in the early 1980s. Her practice of intimate architecture, a term she coined, is about sustainable and universal design. She often uses zero-waste methods to create multi-functional garments. Establishing her name for strong geometric designs and concise functionalism, Yeohlee believes that "clothes have magic. Their geometry forms shapes that can lend a wearer power.” 

For her Fall 1996 collection, Yeohlee introduced the "urban nomad," defining a lifestyle of clothing that works on various practical and psychological levels. She is a master of design management and upholds the efficiency of year-round, seasonless clothes. Yeohlee views ornament as intrinsic to cut and construction, granting her designs distinction and refinement. She spearheaded the Made in Midtown project as General Secretary on the Council of Fashion Designers of America board and in partnership with the Design Trust for Public Space and Making Midtown. YEOHLEE collections are designed, developed, and produced in New York’s Garment District. The book YEOHLEE: WORK Material Architecture was published in 2003. It surveys 20 years of her practice with essays by prominent fashion, art, and design curators, writers, and critics. Exhibitions of her designs have been held for more than 40 years now. Yeohlee's work, often described as "architectural," attracted the attention of critics and professionals in other fields of design. To an extent unusual for fashion designers, her clothes were exhibited as design art in many museums and galleries in the 1990s and early 2000s. Her participation in the group show Intimate Architecture: Contemporary Clothing Design, presented at the Hayden Gallery at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982, won a great deal of favorable attention for her work and was an important factor in the early success of her company. In 2021, Yeohlee received the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) Board of Directors’ Tribute.

Heidi Schmitt is a project architect living in New York City, originally hailing from New Hampshire. An alumna of Cornell University, her education laid the foundation for her creative prowess. Currently, she contributes her talent and expertise to Gensler, where she collaborates on groundbreaking projects that redefine urban landscapes. Schmitt's passion for architecture extends beyond the office; she advocates for sustainable design and balances her professional career with a passion for sewing. Inspired by the precision of architecture and the tactile nature of textiles, she finds joy in blending these two worlds.  She continues to leave her mark on the built environment with a keen eye for detail and a dedication to craftsmanship.