Ahead of our LCFMA17 MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear catwalk show on Friday 6 January (watch it live streamed here), we caught up with the participating graduates to discuss their final collections and why they chose to study at London College of Fashion. First up, is Tak Lee, whose collection ‘The Additional Man’ explores the scope of 3D pattern cutting and washing and dyeing of finished garments.
Can you tell us about your final collection?
My final collection is to do with the intersection between construction, colour, texture, knitting and, of course, pattern cutting. The project is about creating some radical or ambiguous forms in menswear through 3D pattern cutting skills. I treated all the fabrics with techniques like washing and dyeing and also to damage the fabric to make elements like floating fringes on the surface.
Is there one garment that sums it up or is really important?
I developed a silhouette from the basic block but then extended some parts of the pattern to make a drape, to develop a different shape. So I developed the pattern to create another layer, to create something like a jacket on a jacket. I did research on the military uniform, and the soldiers might have the coat over the shoulder. So throughout the collection I extended some part of the pattern to create another layer.
Where did you study prior to your MA at LCF?
I did my BA in Hong Kong. Right after that I worked for one year in womenswear before I came here to study.
Reflecting back on your MA, and thinking of any prospective students thinking about starting an MA, what would be your top three tips/bits of advice to them?
Learn from your peers, because the tutors aren’t there all the time so you have to learn from your peers
Have keen eyes for details, because I think MA menswear here is more about details and how to make it
Why did you choose LCF and MA Fashion Menswear?
My school back in Hong Kong had a relationship with LCF, and so I got to meet the Course Leader Darren before my MA and he made me feel like I could develop myself here.
What have you found the most enjoyable and interesting parts of your course? And what have you found the most challenging?
There’s quite a lot of hands-on work, so you really have to do a lot yourself. So, if you can’t manage the time well and you just randomly do the things you want, you will be behind schedule. Because LCF is a lot to do with production, and it’s very central to the whole project so if you don’t manage it you’ll struggle.
And another challenge is to work well with different parties, as my collection works with washing and canvas, and the fabrics that I use such as canvas and cotton fabrics mean they need to be washed before production. This makes it quite difficult some time and the time is limited. So communication is quite important – to communicate with different factories and studios during production.
And what was enjoyable was having hands-on work to do, which can help improve production, skills and knowledge and cutting techniques.
Of course, I am still exploring my identity, but I have developed it myself, so the MA is more about shaping it.
What was your favourite thing about studying in London?
Everyone is working very hard and that will push you to go further than what you can do. Also, the diversity here means everyone can embrace anything.
Describe your work in five words…
Contextual, progressive, organic, constructional and experimental.
Do you have a muse? If so, who and why?
I don’t have a muse, I just make it and sometimes fit it on myself or my friends to make it work, to make the clothes I want.
What are your future plans and how do you think the course will help you to realise these plans?
First, to have a job in London or Europe. I don’t have a really specific plan, but just trying to make it here before starting up a label. I think I have to work to develop myself further.