In China, ceramics have a long history dating back thousands of years, and is considered to be a high art form. This long history has meant there has been a lot of broken pieces along the way; and while there's lots of ways to reuse broken ceramic shards, Chinese artist Li Xiaofeng does the almost unthinkable and recycles them into fashion. And not just your everyday porcelain either -- sometimes Li uses very old archeological pieces dating back hundreds of years in his unique, armour-like costumes.
Originally starting his art career as a muralist painting landscapes, Li quickly switched over to sculpture -- in particular after starting to collect ceramic shards as a hobby -- to explore their use in what he calls “rearranged landscapes.” He cleans, rearranges and attaches the pieces through the use of metal wire, creating amazingly detailed fashion pieces that can be worn -- if a little heavy.
In an interview, Li tells Azure magazine that like landscapes, the ceramics tell a story:
Ceramics are used by the Chinese to eat rice. I break them into fragments to cover the human body, looking for the relation and the dialogue between the body and the shards. Both have to be compatible. Big or small, the shards must suit the form. In China, ancient ceramics tell long tales. The neck of a vase, for example, is not just for function, but is an expression of status and beauty.
According to Oddity Central, Li's work caught the attention of French fashion company Lacoste, and in 2010 was commissioned to do a piece for their Holiday Collector’s Series. However, because Chinese law forbids the exportation of ancient artifacts, including old ceramic shards, Li created his own porcelain bowls with customized Lacoste designs on them and used those instead in an iconic, Lacoste-style ceramic polo shirt -- the most expensive that has ever been created.