Sensen Lii Wants You to Express Yourself

Sensen Lii Wants You to Express Yourself

Story by Luis Garcia / Photography by Luke Abby

ENCOUNTER is a freeform print fashion publication with a focus on "ENCOUNTER"-ing creative individuals from all walks of life. Their latest edition, VOL. 2 - "SPIN," is a 520-page collection of 30+ stories from over 15 contributors from around the world, featuring photography from Moscow to Malibu, Iowa to Iraq, and many more in between. ENCOUNTER seeks to humanize fashion and explore the medium in a novel light with content that ranges from intimate portraiture to documentary photography to experimental art. Below, rising designer Sensen Lii talks to ENCOUNTER's Luis Garcia.

Luis Garcia: Where do you find influence?

Sensen Lii: My inspiration is more from traditional costumes, and the influence of fashion on me is subtle. Live performances, music, and graphic design are impressive to me. Leigh Bowery [the late Australian performance artist and costume designer] is an important influence in my collection. I am obsessed with his performances, makeup, and dramatic costumes. He is so unique.

What is your view on the relationship between the creative process and creative product?

The process of creation is always the happiest time. You can turn what you imagine into real. You try in different ways, sometimes create unexpected things, and the product is just a result. I enjoy the process of creation more.

Out of the senses — smell, touch, taste, sight, sound — which do you feel most creatively dependent on? Which would you give up most easily?

"Sight" is always first; I can give up "Taste." "Imagine" is also very important to me.

"With my work, people can determine their own identity and define themselves. It's essential to choose your own mask to represent your face and decide how you want to express yourself."

How is being at Antwerp Academy with Walter Van Beirendonck?

They give students a lot of space to design what they want. Everyone is very different, and they have a completely different world from you. I started my third year two months ago, and my design teacher is Walter van Beirendonck. He's always been a legend in my world. Walter guided me to find my own way, different from others, and create what I want. I've been very happy for the exchange and learning, and he has become more like a friend. I hope my third-year collection will be more powerful and interesting.

How do you want to contribute to the world?

With my work, people can determine their own identity and define themselves. It's essential to choose your own mask to represent your face and decide how you want to express yourself.

Do you design to help people feel more like themselves or to become other/new people?

Before my design becomes a real commodity (I'm still a student), my design is about the messages I want to express to this world, my attitudes, unique creativity and my views of the world. Of course I hope people could be themselves, it's very important.

Do you think digital environments — video games, the internet, etc. — are escapist or exploratory?


What do you think about the evolution of people's relationships with digital and virtual realities?

It is very difficult for modern people to leave their mobile phones and computers. The mobile phone has almost become our third hand, and we benefit from electronic products.

Have you ever felt manipulated in digital environments?

Yes, but I'd love to be controlled by digital environments.

This article originally appeared in ENCOUNTER VOL. 2 - "SPIN," available for purchase at

Photography: Luke Abby
Art Direction & Additional Photography: Luis Garcia
Makeup: CUPID
Production: Levi Perrin