Since graduating from with BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Knitwear, LCF alumna Yi-Ling Kuo has evolved as a knitwear designer. She started off working for renowned brands like Mary Katrantzou and Julien Macdonald, and her early success in the field was recognised by FDC with the Young Designer Award and Fashion Scout’s Ones to Watch Award. This year, Yi-Ling has been travelling around the world to present the menswear SS20 collection from her brand 1x1 STUDIO which launched in 2017 alongside LCF BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Menswear graduate Wei Yao Lin . We caught up with Yi-Ling between shows to find out more about the philosophy behind her label and what we can expect from the new collection.
Hi Yi-Ling! You’ve been very busy presenting your menswear SS20 collection in Shanghai, London, Florence and Paris. What can you tell us about this new collection?
It’s been a very good season! The core focus of this collection is style coexisting with sustainability, inspired by the bucolic, industrial and structural scenes of my hometown in Taiwan. You can expect fun garments combined with 3D knits and exquisite textures from various materials, including recycled plastic, recycled paper and recycled foods.
Using 80% sustainable materials, we have created a collection that, if buried in soil, could decompose in 5 years.
What do you think makes 1x1 STUDIO’s style stand out?
We intend to create a blended vision and new taste in knitted garments for men, with a sense of twist from formal to casual designs characterised by a subtle sense of playfulness.
However, we’re not only creating fun 3D textures in knitwear — we also aim to make a positive impact on the current fashion cycle through the use of recycled materials, specialist yarns and crafted techniques.
What’s the philosphy behind 1x1 STUDIO?
1X1 STUDIO is a contemporary menswear label celebrating a joint direction of culturally influenced designs, specialised knitting techniques and craftsmanship. We are constantly pushing the boundaries of knitted and woven designs, offering a different approach towards knitted textiles within the menswear market. With this approach, working seamlessly between knitwear and woven fabrics, we believe we are forming a strong and unique identity.
You use recycled materials in your designs. How else are you incorporating sustainable practices in your brand?
Our designs are produced in the UK, and we use sustainable materials from England, Italy and Japan. We’re also proud of constantly rethinking our strategy to reduce the wastage generated during the design and production process.
We’re conscious about the rapid cycles of fashion — using recycled materials and reducing waste whilst designing and producing helps us to maintain the sustainable element within our brand.
You launched 1x1 STUDIO in 2017. How has the experience of creating your own label been so far?
The starting point wasn’t easy, especially when you don’t know what the next step is, but I’ve tried to focus on being brave and original, and to not forget about my creativity. The support of my family has also been very important for the development of my business — they always encourage me whenever I find it difficult.
How would you sumarise your time as a student at LCF?
My 3 years at LCF felt too short! I tried to spend most of my time in workshops or at the library, self-experimenting as much as I could in order to expand my knowledge on both design and technique.
Thinking of your experiences during your career, what piece of advice would you give students who want to launch their own fashion label?
Launching a brand is not just about having a passion for design. Get ready to learn everything about the business side of fashion and make sure this is what you really want to do before starting the process.
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