“Life goes by too quickly. Open your eyes. What will we remember most? Slow down each moment. Stop and think.” This is the message China-born, London-based fashion designer Youjia Jin said was the main idea of her London Fashion Week runway show on Saturday. The theatrical presentation showcased her Spring/Summer 2016 collection modeled by contemporary dancers while a live violinist played in the background. Inspired by the story of a mother and daughter, the show also featured an 83-year-old model on the runway—joining a recent trend of high-fashion brands using older models in their campaigns.
After completing her bachelor’s degree at the Beijing Institute of Fashion and Technology and presenting her designs at Beijing Fashion Week in 2009, Jin has yet to pause for breath. She began presenting at London Fashion Week after graduating from the prestigious Central Saint Martins in 2011 and the London College of Fashion, where she received her MA in 2014.
This designer juggernaut conveyed an emotive message in her latest collection, which was both delicate and defiant. Jin kept to her minimalistic, direct signature silhouette and sober color palette, which was juxtaposed with intricate pleats, ruffles, and 3D cutting. The designer also incorporated influences from China, sourcing fabric from Chinese company Suzhou Mingle Shell to authentically recreate the clothing inspired by her mother and childhood.
Backstage at her show, Jin took a moment with Jing Daily during London Fashion Week to reflect upon her collection inspirations and plans for the future.
Where did the inspiration come from for this season?
My mother. Everything she is, how I know her and everything she taught me. She inspired many features of the collections from the floral prints, to the sleek pleats.
The inspiration is taken from my mother’s clothes in order to redesign new fashion to strive for innovation.
Why an immersive show this year?
I think the fashion world sometimes goes too quick. An immersive show for SS16 allowed me to slow it down for an hour to really appreciate the most important things in life and question it. I liked the way the clothes were presented on contemporary dancers, telling a story of mother/daughter. This made it a different show altogether from a catwalk and this concept truly captured the essence of the collection.
Are there plans to expand in China?
Yes, I would love to expand in the Chinese market more!
How much does your Chinese heritage influence your designs?
Personally, many things inspire me, more the physical tailoring and aesthetics of certain pieces than anything. However, the subtleties in my designs, and the way these express certain things is an outcome of my heritage. My love and passion for fine art allows me to enjoy creating original and unique designs. The challenges however, of creativity, quality, and passion are constant. I believe it is crucial in the creative world to remain open to different influences and to try as much as possible to be versatile and non-restrictive.
Check out more looks from Youjia Jin’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection below:
(All photos courtesy of Youjia Jin)