Ahead of our LCF MA17 menswear catwalk show on Friday 6 January (watch the live link here), we’ve been talking to the MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear graduates who’ll be showcasing their collections at the show. Here designer Changxi Shao discusses the inspiration for his collection Spaceman.
Can you tell us about your collection?
My collection is called Spaceman. The idea came from different functioning garments in the industry. I mixed different garments together and tried to keep a balance, like garment structure between pattern cutting, and different functional details. I wanted to base my idea on Space because I really like the idea of creating something for the future. Futuristic design, and the concept of Spaceman makes me think of astronauts and the universe. This is really interesting for me. I enjoyed researching the design for the collection. Astronauts wear garments of high-standards that are incredibly functional, you can see all the different details in their garments. It’s difficult trying to explain why certain parts of the garments are designed in such a way, all of it is for functionality. That’s what I wanted to my collection to represent.
Where did you study prior to your MA at LCF?
I studied at Shanghai Donghau University and also did an exchange term at Bunka in Tokyo. European and Asian universities are very different. For example, in Asia, teachers want you to focus on pattern cutting and basic ability, while teachers in Europe want you to develop your idea and vision. They want you to reflect on your decisions, why you added this extra detail to the garment, the inspiration behind the collection. It’s more about training your mind and design ideas plus thinking, which is very different to studying in Asia.
Reflecting back on your MA, and thinking of any prospective students thinking about starting an MA, what would be your top tips/advice to them?
- Keep working
- Make sure you are curious
- Dare and try to break out of your comfort zone. When I was a BA student, I would make garments in either black or white. I really liked avant-garde style brands like Rick Owens, but my designs were very safe. This changed when I started my MA. I tried adding different elements to my design work like colour, different garment structure, concepts. I wanted to test my possibilities, especially to build confidence when I start developing my own brand.
Why did you choose LCF and MA Fashion Menswear?
I originally studied womenswear in Shanghai, but when I went to Bunka and started experimenting with pattern cutting, I began looking into menswear. In Bunka, the pattern cutting classes were very exciting, people were more focused on creating basic garments which little details to keep the balance. I wanted to explore pattern cutting in menswear after finishing my BA. I heard a lot of great things about LCF MA Menswear and how the course was amazing. A lot of my friends from back home graduated from Menswear at LCF and went on to work at various exciting Chinese brands. This was why I wanted to apply to LCF, the advice I got from alumni was very important to me.
What have you found the most enjoyable and interesting parts of your course? And what have you found the most challenging?
Working on pattern cutting and trying different garment structures has been the most enjoyable part of the course for me. I’ve really enjoyed exploring new ways of constructing garments and adding detail to them. What’s been really difficult is staying on top of my work/life balance.
What was your favourite thing about studying in London?
The best thing about studying in London is the culture and art exhibitions in the city. The V&A and Design Museum are both very inspirational places. The best thing I’ve seen in London was the Anselm Kiefer Walhalla exhibition at the White Cube.
Describe your work in five words…
Functional, volume, deconstruction, industrial and futurism.
Do you have a muse? If so, who and why?
I don’t have a muse. There isn’t a special person that I have in mind when designing. I have different inspirations for every garment or collection I’m creating. Astronauts were my muse this term, I guess you could say films like Interstellar and Gravity played a big role in my collection.
What are your future plans and how do you think the course will help you to realise these plans?
I’m in the early stages of making my own brand back in Shanghai, so I’ll be moving back to China. This course has helped me look at fashion from a global perspective, which has definitely helped me understand what I want to do with my brand. I’m still thinking about the brand name but I now have an idea of what the vision for my brand is.
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