Skip to main content

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Our booking system is currently down. Please call +44 (0) 20 7514 7015 or email to contact our team. Booking will be available again in the next 24 hours.


Graduate Spotlight: MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear, Yawen Qian


Written by
Published date
17 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 on at 7pm GMT on Thursday 18 February 2016, which will be live-streamed on the LCF website.

Here we speak to Yawen Qian about her collection Sick, which was inspired by the work of her parents, both of whom are doctors, her experience of interning as well as her plans for the future.


Photography by Felix Cooper and styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen.

Tell us about your final collection?

My final collection is called Sick. It’s inspired by and dedicated to my parents – both of them are doctors so I have a deep connection to doctors, and I wanted explore this in my final project. At first I focused on the hospital itself but it’s a very wide area to research, so instead I looked at the fashion of disabled people and many details in my garments reference my research into this. There’s no extras on any of my clothes – all the pieces that make up each garment in my collection are very big and I combine them into one. I made all the patterns myself but had professional help with the technique. Some of the pieces are made of jersey and some are made from man-made fabric that isn’t usually meant for fashion – this took a long time to source.

Where did you study before LCF? 

My BA course was a joint educational program in fashion, sponsored by the Donghua University. I also did one year at Bunka Fashion College in Japan before my MA, where I focused on womenswear and pattern cutting.

What would your advice be to prospective MA Womenswear students?

Be yourself – you are the designer so you should be the one leading the trend, not following it, and as designers we have to do as much research as we can to find new inspiration. Also, because you are doing an MA, you should think about the marketing of your collection, not only design. You have to think about people wearing your garments because wearability is one of the most important things.

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

I found that on my BA course we just did whatever we wanted but at MA level, we have to focus a lot on marketing, and LCF is very focused on marketing as well as design, technique and ready-to-wear. It think this is very important for finding jobs in the future. I wanted to focus on womenswear because I like to make things that I can wear myself, but I also like minimal garments that not only women can wear but men too – unisex clothes. I can make menswear too but I prefer womenswear because it’s more of a challenge to design.

What have you enjoyed most about your course and what was most challenging?

I enjoyed the MA tutorials because your tutor really pushes you. Sometimes you think you don’t want to change anything about your work, but when you finish and see the results you will often find that your tutor was right! I found finishing the collection most challenging because sometimes, I can be quite disorganised and have a messy desk – the technician would always ask me to tidy up my work area so this was quite a challenge for me.

What has been your favourite thing about studying in London?

London is a multicultural city and a good place for fashion students. I live around Brick Lane and I chose to stay in this area because I like the crowds of different people – everybody wears unique clothes and has a different style so you can find inspiration in this part of London. There are also lots of exhibitions to visit – my favourite gallery is Barbican, and I also like the Wellcome Collection too because it has a lot of medical exhibitions.

Have you done any intenrships in your time at LCF?

I have done internships in China and also in London – at London Fashion Week. Some Chinese designers came to London and they needed stylists, so I helped with that and I worked on changing some of the garments. I have also collaborated with artists who design patterns – I worked with them on designing garments to match their pattern and fabric. I think internships are important because as students we are always working in the studio and we don’t know much about the market, but you can learn more about it in internships.

Describe your work in five words…

Pattern cutting, wearable, normal, drops, minimal.

Do you have a muse?

I like the Japanese American model Jenny Shimizu. I think she’s really cool – she is very handsome and has boyish looks. I think a muse is a person you want to be but you can’t – for me this is the meaning of the word.

What are your future plans?

I recently posted some photos of my collection on Showtime and some stylists contacted me to say they like my garments, and would like to use them in a magazine photo shoot next year which is exciting. I think that doing my MA at LCF has given me a clear vision of my style, and after graduating I want to go back to China and find a job in a big company to gain more experience and learn how to communicate with factories. Afterwards I would like to start working on my own brand.