Dalian-Born Designer Making Waves In London
Having spent a decade in London, gaining a BA in Fashion Print and an MA in Fashion Womenswear at Central Saint Martins, the Dalian-born fashion designer Yang Du has become one of the most promising young Chinese talents, making waves with her brightly colored, playful animal-inspired apparel and accessories. Having cut her teeth with designers like Vivienne Westwood, Giles Deacon and John Galliano, Yang struck out on her own, launching her eponymous label in 2009. Since then, Yang’s oversized t-shirts and tunics have gained a cult following and, last year, Yang was included in the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN showcase, which has helped launch labels like Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane and Erdem since its introduction in 1993.
This year, Yang’s profile is set to grow even further as the designer will debut her exclusive collection for the Hong Kong high-end retailer JOYCE and a presentation in Paris sponsored by On|Off. Recently, following the unveiling of her “Dinosaurs and Noah’s Ark”-inspired A/W 2012 collection, Yang Du spoke with China’s Fashion Trend Digest about the collection, her inspirations, and what the rest of 2012 has in store. Translation by Jing Daily team.
Fashion Trend Digest (FTD): It’s pretty well known that your designs always focus on cute animal shapes. What’s the source of this? What can you say about your design inspiration for this season?
Yang Du (YD): I like to use the word “anthropomorphic” to describe my designs. More precisely, they’re inspired by the role of play. My A/W 2012 collection is inspired by the biblical story of Noah’s Ark and the recent cruise shipwreck in Italy. For my runway show, I invited four performance artists to interpret stories from surviving victims of that event, using black humor to reflect the relationships between people in modern society.
FTD: Your designs are always very brightly colored and infused with interesting elements, which traditional Chinese designers are not usually good at. How do you see this? Also, when did you arrive in the UK?
YD: Chinese culture is really profound and full of gorgeous colors. I think my Chinese roots, and everything that’s tied up with them in terms of culture and color, make me unique in the international arena. In 2001, when I had just graduated from Tsinghua University in Beijing, I grabbed a box of drawings and headed off to London.
FTD: You’ve got lots of celebrity fans. Who do you think your designs would best suit?
FTD: What can you say about your upcoming collaboration with JOYCE?
YD: I’m very lucky to have worked with JOYCE for four fashion seasons. The new project is a chance to work with Gavin. He not only understands my style but makes every effort to help me explore my potential.
FTD: You’ve said before that Paris is a really suitable place for your newest series. Which do you prefer, Paris or London? Do you have plans to enter the Paris market?
YD: I like to say that Paris is very soft, like a lady. London is a challenging place, like a boy. London better suits my personality.
FTD: Your new collection really isn’t just fashion, it’s more like art. Who’s your favorite artist?
YD: Franco Moschino.
FTD: What’s your plan for your brand going forward?
YD: I’ve been involved in the production of an independent film in the UK called “Open My Eyes Close My Eyes I See You.” I’m responsible for the artistic production and image planning. We started shooting in February in Geneva, and in May we’ll continue shooting in Berlin, then London.
Yang Du’s designs are available online at AnyShopStyle and in stores such as Brand New China (Beijing), JOYCE (Hong Kong), Super Milan (Italy), BEAMS (Tokyo), and TSVETNOY (Moscow).