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Graduate Spotlight: MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear, Ning Xu

Photography by Felix Cooper and styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen.
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Published date
15 February 2016

LCFMA16 Graduate Spotlight turns to this year’s MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear students who will be showcasing their collections on the catwalk, ahead of London Fashion Week, in-front of an audience of press and industry professionals, in central London. LCF News caught up with the designers in the build up to the show at 7pm GMT Thursday 18 February 2016, which will be live-streamed on the LCF website.

Here, Ning Xu discusses his collection, Mute, which explores the ‘depth and identity of thinking’ and was inspired by a personal childhood experience, he tells us his top tips for prospective students and why he decided to do his masters at LCF.

Photography by Felix Cooper and styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen.

Photography by Felix Cooper and styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen.

Tell us about your final collection…

My final collection is called Mute and it explores the “depth of thinking and identity”. The inspiration came from myself – when I was a child I had an accident, after which I couldn’t hear very clearly – I could only hear pieces and fragments of sound in my head. At that time I was really shy and I didn’t want to talk to people so it was a very emotional experience, and this is what I used to create and develop my collection. I also really like the colour blue – the artist Yves Klein created his own blue and he used a lot of blue colours in work. This is the colour I used in my collection because it was defined as “an open window to freedom as the possibility of being immersed in the immeasurable existence of colour”. I used small pops of orange and yellow to represent that, and I also used a lot of ear structure and hearing aid machine materials like silicon in the fastenings and attachments of the collection. The details highlight the functional aspect. Every garment is reversible, and the detachable details such as the collar, the hood or the pocket, offer a different way of wearing the garments.

Describe your work in five words…

Functional, detailed, different materials, reversible, attachment.

Where did you study prior to your MA at LCF?

I did my BA at Donghua University and I majored in Fashion Design. I worked in China for 4 years before my MA and I created my own brand there. I think this work experience helped me to get a clearer idea of what I wanted to do, which was to develop my designs, so I chose to do my MA at LCF.

What would your advice to prospective MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear students be?

Focus on your own lifestyle and find your personal identity. In my opinion, clothing is not just for wearing but also a form of art, which reflects people’s personalities and attitudes towards life. Focus on the functional part of your work because clothes are personal thing. Research is also really important – research everything – clothes, art, music and life.

Why did you choose LCF?

I think LCF is the best place to study, not only for creating ready-to-wear but it also reflects art as well. When you graduate from LCF you can create real company, or a real studio because the garments are real and people can wear them – they’re not just pieces of art.

What did you enjoy most about the course and what was most challenging?

I really liked the atmosphere of working together with my classmates – I learned a lot from everyone, as we all came from different countries. I also improved my knowledge of fabrics and colours, thanks to Nigel the course tutor and the pattern cutter Camilla – they taught me a lot. The most challenging thing was creating patterns, details and tailoring myself for my collection. Pattern cutting and sewing are skills which are very complicated and it can be difficult to create original and unique patterns.

What was the best thing about studying in London?

I’ve lived here for 15 months and I like that London has a lot of galleries and museums to visit. There are also a lot of activities and interesting things to do and you meet a lot of different people.

Who inspires your work?

I really like Twiggy. I like her characteristics – she looked like a boy in the 60s and wasn’t very tall and at the time this kind of model was not very popular, but she paved the way and made people open their minds and understand that this kind of model can also be a top model.

What are your future plans?

I want to create my own studio, which will hopefully be a themed studio or a manufacturing factory. In China, the studios and companies seem to only focus on making money and not on the details or designs, so I really want to create a studio to help new designers to create their own designs.