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Graduate Spotlight: MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear student Haili Jin

LCF_MA16_MWHailiJin copy
LCF_MA16_MWHailiJin copy

Written by
Josh De Souza Crook
Published date
05 January 2016

Ahead of the LCFMA16 Menswear catwalk show on 8 January 2016, LCF News will be featuring the collections of the students involved, this is Haili Jin of MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear. The show will be live streamed from Banking Hall, City of London, where ten of the selected students will showcase their work in-front of industry professionals. LCF News caught up with Haili ahead of this Friday’s live stream show to talk about her collection, why she wanted to study at London College of Fashion and who her muse is.

LCF_MA16_MWHailiJin copy

MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear student Haili Jin will be presenting her collection live this Friday 8 January, watch the live stream on the LCFMA16 page.

What inspired your collection?

My research looked into the world of the Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, whose works emphasises on nothingness, and the beauty of it at its most simplest form. His architecture embodies the concept of sensation and physical experiences, which is deeply rooted in Japanese culture.

Tell us about your final collection?

This collection translates the philosophy of Ando’s architecture to fashion design, developing a unique draping silhouette following fabric movement, and combining draping with classic tailoring. Though most fashion designers design garments to fit the body and follow the line of the body, I want to make air and space between fabric and body. I wanted my collection to reference Tadao’s work, and his study on how to design space into space, and bring light and water indoors. I started draping around a male mannequin using fabric, all my designs follow the fabric’s own movement after testing on the mannequin. There are atelier-based handcrafting and tailoring techniques applied to the garments, also lots of reformed authentic fabrics are sourced for tailoring to contrast with draping fabrics. This collection offers the sensation and physical experience wearing the cloth, touching the cloth and listening to the cloth.

Where did you study prior to your MA at LCF?

I did my BA at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University, where I majored in Fashion Technology. I have always been passionate about the art and design aspects of fashion, so I specialised in Womenswear for my Graduate Diploma Fashion Design Technology course at LCF. I was fascinated by LCF and wanted to learn more about fashion and the school so decided to study an MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear.

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?

I would definitely say take an LCF course called Core Skills for learning traditional tailoring skills and techniques. I thought the course was incredible and really useful as someone who at the time didn’t know much about menswear and the craftsmanship that goes into it. I also explored a lot with fabrics, I went to the Premiere Vision at Paris in February and contacted lots of fabric companies. I think all students should explore fabrics further and understand what can be done with them. My final bit of advice would be to learn from your environment, the LCF campus is in the centre of London and gives you the ability to explore so much and get inspiration, especially down Bond Street.

haili jin

MA Menswear student Haili Jin testing out fabrics prior to creating her collection last year.

Why did you choose LCF and MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear?

The obvious answer is that LCF is one of the top fashion schools in the world! The resources available and the environment is great for learning about fashion. The staff, technicians and tutors are all very professional and are always there to help and support you. On a more personal level, I used to study Womenswear at LCF, so I was very familiar with that area as I previously designed things for myself. I wanted the thrill and challenge of a new area, so I picked MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear. I felt that staying on at LCF and challenging myself and my ability with menswear was almost a natural decision.

What have you found the most enjoyable and interesting parts of your course? And what have you found the most challenging?

What I found the most enjoyable and interesting part of the course was being able to find something new and overcoming difficulties in the process of mastering menswear. The process of challenging yourself and always trying to get better and better is what I love. At the beginning, I had no idea how the collection would look, who my muse was, but after a year or so I began to develop my vision, and more importantly myself. The most challenging part was when I first started this course – I came from a Womenswear background and had no idea how to create a Menswear collection. The technical difficulties were a struggle at the beginning, I had to learn tailoring and how to create a proper menswear collection as it’s all about the details. You need to make sure that every detail is perfect!

What are your future plans?

I’m in the process of starting my own brand in London.

How do you think the course will help you to realise these plans?

Technically, the course has definitely pushed me – it’s been a big surprise to myself to see how far I’ve got. More importantly, it helped me develop my own identity as a designer. When I first started MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear, I was curious, passionate, but indecisive and raw. Though I believe I am still nowhere close to what I want to be, I’ve loved the journey and it’s opened up my perspective. This degree gave me the confidence to start on my own now!

What’s your favourite thing about studying in London?

London is a city full of energy and it always welcomes young designers, I feel very inspired when studying here, just walking around the streets inspires me. I feel the people around me are very inspiring, the window displays, museum exhibitions, art fairs, people are allowed to wear what they are or want to become. In London you always see new ideas and styles, you can get inspiration from almost everywhere and every detail. The environment is what I love most about London.

Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF? 

I did a freelance job for an online buyer shop while I was studying. I produced a menswear T-shirt collection, which mainly focused on graphics and silhouette.

Describe your work in five words…

Elegance, freedom, movement, delicacy and subtlety.

Do you have a muse? If so, who and why?

My muse is a Japanese actor named Joe Odagiri.  He is the man with a unique style and good taste.