These Silk Scarfs Allow Us All To Become A Piece Of Art Ourselves

Pig Chicken & Cow is the creative endeavour of textile designer, Ying Wu and experienced designer, Shan Jiang, who has worked on campaigns for high profile brands such as Nike, Nordstrom ad Johnnie Walker. Their latest project, silk scarfs, is about much more then just creating beautiful fashion accessories, it is about becoming
art – wearing a story and adding to your own masterpiece.


The designer’s love the idea that the wearer is draping a story around their neck, a beautifully illustrated one at that. The flamboyant, colourful designs are eye-catching and busy, they weave together several narratives and are ever changing depending on how they are worn. The ink on silk creations draw the wearer into the tale, allowing them to change and distort it, let it flow open or wind it tightly together to form the centerpiece of a plain ensemble.

The Plus: Why did you decide to call your brand, ‘Pig, Chicken & Cow’?
Shan Jiang:
The name inspired from ‘Town Musicians of Bremen’ by the Brothers Grimm. We are just fond of the story; it’s full of humour and has a bit laid-back attitude. In the story, retired farm animals, a donkey, a dog, a cat and a hen decide to go to Bremen, which is famous for its freedom, and become musicians there.

There is a famous scene in which all the animals stand on each other’s back to scare robbers on the way to the city. We are just very fond of the story and decided to create a brand by using our version of the animals – a pig, chicken and cow.


TP: What is the process for transferring designs from paper/computer onto the scarfs?
Every piece of work starts with being hand-drawn. On average we spend over 80 hours on the drawings for each scarf. Once we have finished the hand-drawn version, we scan the drawings into computer and colour it in digitally. This also allows us to change the colour-ways.

Then we hand over the digital files to our manufacturer in Macclesfield, England, where they take care of the printing. They post the printed silks back in rolls once they have done their job. We will cut up the scarves and hand roll the edge of each one. That is the basic process of making one scarf.


TP: Why scarves over any other type of clothing?
We want to make wearable art, and scarves give us the best platform to concentrate on the image. We also love the images to be printed on silk, which can take the colours to another level.


TP: How did the collaboration with you and Ying Wu begin?
I’m more from an illustration background and Ying has more connections with the fashion industry. We met in 2007 when she just got into Central St Martins for textile design while I was working at ILovedust.
We got married when she was in the second year of Royal College of Art. Since we live together, we got a lot of chances to work together as well.


TP: Your work is linked to your home, Shanghai; how is this reflected in your scarf designs?
Our work is strongly influenced by their home city of Shanghai; its skyscrapers and bungalows, contemporary concepts and traditional superstitions, communist ideology and flourishing subcultures.
The influence became the DNA of all our work. For example, we love intricate and complicated line art, which is influenced by the high view of the city.


TP: Your brand is about wearable art – “Why settle for a scarf when you can wear a story instead”. Do you prefer to be the story or observe the story?
I think either way is good to us and it really depends on the concept we choose. Sometimes we choose a concept that really relates to us and we focus on expressing our own point of view, for example, The Age of Turtles and The Under Ground, which explore our concern for the environment.
The works such as Eden series place us more as an observer, where we try to explore different interpretations of the biblical story.