CONTINUING to challenge the status quo with his design approach, Jiaen Cai has built upon his Algorithmic Modular System for his latest spring-summer offering. The JE Cai Modular System aims to provoke customers to think about their consumption habits and fleeting trend cycles.

Empowering wearers to investigate the power of self-expression, the Modular System is formed of base layers (10), coordinating components (100) and extra components (1000)  which can be mixed and matched interchangeably to create a personalised, unique look.

Components consist of side panels to add flair to the base layers – the core of the collection. The extra components are a selection of differing sleeve styles, buttons and extra detailing options to further elevate and customise one’s look.

The numeric values stem from a chapter written by Laozi, the founder of Taoism. The piece says, “道生一,一生二,二生三,三生万物” which translates as: “Tao breeds one, one breeds two, two breeds three, and three breeds everything.” Cai follows this ideology with his own creative practice by holding the belief that one Modular System can provide infinite styling possibilities.

The new collection expands upon Cai’s impressive repertoire of adaptable articles. Introducing more soft, gentle silhouettes, the collection provides the wearer with a variety of casual, loose-fitting options.

Sharp lines and geometric shapes strongly juxtapose the dynamic shapes formed through Cai’s expert draping techniques. Meanwhile, the colour palette of the collection remains fairly monochromatic – an assortment of greys, beiges and blacks come together to illustrate an ideal image of the modern intellectual woman.

Form-fitting maxi skirts are styled alongside tailored blazers and sleek bandeau tops to demonstrate the versatility of the newly added Modular System components.

The collection exhibits the limitless options of formulaic design; despite the uniformity of the pieces, the wearer is given true freedom to experiment with layering and contouring.

Subversive by nature, the collection’s buildable composition ensures that the wearer can craft an outfit suitable for any occasion. Utilising an assortment of fastening techniques, subtle hardware details and careful sculpturing, Cai demonstrates his interest in architecture alongside his product design-orientated philosophy.

In marrying order with rebellion, pragmatism with functionality and craftsmanship with comfort, Cai continues to disrupt the definition of a collection within the current fashion zeitgeist.

by Sophie Richardson

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