Shanghai-Based Hua Has Worked With Chinese Artists Like Zhou Chunya, Yue Minjun, Ding Yi
Since establishing her eponymous fashion label in 2004, Shanghai designer Judy Hua (华娟) has gradually built up a respectable following as one of the city’s most promising home-grown talents. After getting past a rough first few years, Hua’s adept networking abilities and skill at navigating Shanghai’s social and arts scenes have paid off, with her company now supplying more than 1,000 B2B clients and Hua creating one-of-a-kind pieces for Chinese contemporary artists like Yue Minjun, Ding Yi, Xue Song and Zeng Hao.
Coming off a productive past few months, during which she debuted her S/S 2012 “Fish in the Forest” collection — a collaboration with the artist Wang Yuping (王玉平) — Judy Hua recently sat down for a short chat with the Chinese fashion industry publication Shopping Guide. Translation by Jing Daily team.
Shopping Guide (SG): The fashion industry has a lot of categories, and in China, the high-end couture segment is relatively new. What drew you to it? What pressures and difficulties have you come across? How are you “seizing” the market?
Judy Hua (JH): There are definitely pressures. The first wave in the [Chinese] fashion industry is changing extraordinarily rapidly, and this obviously puts pressure on designers. But we just need to maintain our creative passion and power. Also, there is a maturity gap between the domestic Chinese and international fashion industries, but the overall quality and consumer maturity in China is constantly rising. Everyone puts demands on him or herself. You’ve just got to keep improving every year, no matter what kind of improvement.
You really can’t expect to “seize” anything, you’ll just keep encountering new problems and having to solve them. This is life.
SG: Many Chinese designers like to incorporate Chinese elements into their designs. Your brand, Judy Hua, makes high-end couture pieces. How will you “import” Chinese elements in your designs in a seamless way?
JH: As we all know, high-end couture is the ultimate dream in terms of fashion. It’s fine if designers want to express their ideas, and convey their feelings towards fashion, from quality, taste and craftsmanship, they can become high-end couture. The way I see it is that the work of Chinese designers naturally conveys the spirit of China, and when that comes together with craftsmanship and the designer’s sense of aesthetics, this is sort of harmonious.
LS: What do you do to relax?
JH: (laughs) I have some little particularities, like I’m always washing my hands, and I like to burn incense before playing the guqin. On sunny days, I sit by the window and read books, I listen to music when I’m doing my draping. Little things like that.
Images from the debut of Judy Hua’s S/S 2012 “Fish in the Forest” collection, inspired by a painting by the Chinese artist and Central Academy of Fine Arts professor, Wang Yuping. According to Hua, the tough silhouettes and piscine draping of the new collection is meant to symbolize the chaos and heat of modern urban life. Said Hua, the urban environment in China is like a forest, in which people fight for survival like fish out of water.