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Hillary Liem: Find your true self, be different, be a risk taker, be unique

Updated: Aug 11, 2022

When did your passion for fashion start and what were the main milestones that turned you into the artist you currently are?

Since childhood I have had a high interest in art. this may be due to my mother's lineage who is also an art lover. I am also fortunate to have parents who fully support their children's talents and interests. Therefore they put me in many art organizations, ranging from drawing, dancing, and music.

As I got older, my parents, especially my mother, asked me to focus on my goals. therefore, I chose to pursue art in the field of fashion and entered college majoring in fashion design. from here my journey in the fashion industry really began. Back then, I only understood that fashion was just drawing and making clothes, but now I know that there are a lot deeper and varied things in the world of fashion (not just making clothes). These experiences gave me a lot of new insights and ideas to create art in the form of clothing (one of which is my PAPILLON collection). for me right now is just the beginning of my career in fashion, and there are still many things that I need to explore and develop to explore my creativity.

Tell us a bit more about your project "PAPILLON". Is there any particular message you would like to get across to the viewers?

many cultures associate the butterfly with the soul. From ancient Egypt to Native American culture, this single concept seldom appears in lore. the Greek goddess of the soul, Psyche, was even depicted with wings.

this concept seems to be related to the butterfly's sense of transformation. It starts as a caterpillar as a human life span, wraps itself in the same cocoon that symbolizes death, and then emerges as a butterfly representing the soul. flutters to the next stage of spiritual development.

Based on this I created a collection that represents the souls of humans who have died and entered the body of a butterfly that's soulless to go to the next realm. Black is the dominant color because almost all cultures in the world associate black with death. then the butterfly in this collection symbolizes the soul and has a message that death is not the end of human life that must be regretted. it is said that there is a belief that if you whisper your wish to a butterfly, then the request will be kept secret (because the butterfly cannot speak) and will be conveyed to the ruler of nature.

How would you describe yourself to people that don't know you?

I am not a woman born with a golden spoon, nor am I a person who has everything. but I believe that humans are born in this world with a purpose. therefore in this life, I want to find the purpose I was born with by achieving my goals and becoming the best version of myself. this way I will not regret it when the time comes when I will leave this world.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever gotten and do you follow it?

When I was little, there was an article about Emma Watson, and it quoted her words that I still remember to this day. she said :

“I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself”

This gives me the motivation to find my true self and become the best version of myself.

If you could say one thing to someone younger who looks up to you, what would you say?

Find your true self, be different, be a risk taker, be unique

Don't let the people’s words and society keep you from being yourself and finding your goals

What's the most important thing you want potential clients to know about you?

I want each of my clients to feel that this dress was made for her. I want my clients to understand that it's not humans who have to change themselves to match the clothes, but it's the clothes that have to follow the people who wear them. And most importantly, I want each of my clients to feel like they are the best version of themselves when wearing my creations

What is your dream in terms of your career?

I want to be known as a designer who has a uniqueness that can make everyone who sees my work think " wonder, this is hy.liem's work"

How hard has it been establishing yourself in the industry and what are some of the largest things you've faced?

The world of fashion is not as easy and light as many people think. There are so many challenges faced by people who are in the fashion world. I too, as a human being, have experienced some difficulties.

The hardest thing I've ever faced was where I ran out of ideas, while the world I entered was a world that requires you to have endless creative ideas.

but despite some obstacles, I stick to my long-term goal. because if in achieving goals we only see short-term goals, then the difficulties that occur will be more visible. by focusing on long-term goals, we will have a more open view and we can enjoy every process that occurs in achieving them.

What projects are you working on next, and what are your goals for the future?

I already have some ideas for the next project. but I still want to deepen and seek more inspiration so that the result will be more leverage than the previous project.

In the future, I will continue to deepen my creativity and skills to produce work that I can be proud of

Where can we see more of your works and get connected with you?

I will focus on displaying my work and portfolio via Instagram, namely @hy.liem

I'm also open to custom, rent, collaboration, and any suggestions. You can contact me via

DM on my Instagram (@hy.liem) or by email:

Model: Cecilia Stephina

IG: @66jjyu

Fashion Designer: hy.Liem

IG: @hy.liem

Photographer: Meforu Photography

IG: @me for photography

Wardrobe Stylist/Fashion Designer/Hair Stylist: Hillary Liem

IG: @hy.liem

Makeup Artist: Cecilia Stephina

IG: @ceciliastephina

Model: Kezia Tan

IG: @kkeziatan


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