LCFMA22: Connecting cultures with MA Womenswear graduate Yu You
The #LCFMA22 catwalk, showroom and exhibition, taking place as part of London Fashion Week launches from 17-19 February 2022. The celebration showcases projects of creative excellence and we applaud the passionate dedication of our students who have endeavoured to fashion a better future. We are delighted to hold this celebration in person, reconnecting our family and friends, with fashion and interlinking industries. We’ve taken the best of what we have learnt about digital showcasing during the pandemic, interweaving this with a very human, material experience forming an enduring legacy across our channels.
As we prepare to showcase the incredible work from the graduating class of 2022, we caught up with the graduates to find out more about their research, collections and hopes for the future. First, we chat with Yu You, an MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear graduate, who focuses their collection on the connection of two cultures.
Tell us about your final collection – what is the story?
This collection is a symbolism in itself. I sought to better understand the challenges associated with the integration of first and second generation Chinese communities in Western contexts, especially in Spain, where I grew up. The process is to identify and analyse objects and elements as a starting point to start conversations around integration. The wind became a crucial element as well as other wind-related objects to reflect the sense of drift, loss, separation, loneliness, and lack of belonging when the Chinese immigrants left their land. The kites that are floating in the wind, traveling thousands of kilometres away, like floating clouds, are indeterminate as wanderers, their construction was also specially studied for the design of the garments.
We understand that your collection and research explores connecting two parts of the world that are distant. How have you been able to encapsulate the complexity of this?
The starting point for this story comes from myself, my family, and the environment around me growing up. It wasn't difficult for me because I was partly describing my own experience and partly doing careful interviews to get different perspectives.
Can you tell us exactly which techniques or materials you have used?
The highlight of this collection is the use of traditional Chinese kite technique and materials: uniform heat was used to bend the bamboo to create different shapes and support the structure of the garment.
What particular challenges have you faced during the production of your final showcase and how did you overcome them?
The creative process was the most struggle part. In the beginning, because of the impossibility to integrate cultural heritage into contemporary fashion in a reasonable way, and historically, there are not many designers in the fashion industry who have embraced wind as a design element, so I did not have access to many resources for inspiration. At the beginning of the design stage, I fell into a state of confusion and did not have a clear vision of how to integrate the kite naturally into the garments. Although countless sketches have been developed, but the designs were obviously not very wearable or even aesthetically pleasing. Until I started to investigate Craig Green’s work, for example, his fall 2012 show linked the steel structure of the water pipes to menswear and introduced windmills in 2018. I became interested in further investigating the connection points between kites and the structures/silhouettes of the garments.
Do you have any particular highlights from your time on the course?
A year is too short for a complete project. We repeat a series of high-intensity workouts every day. A mature project never depends on any particular highlight moment, but on those innumerable little moments that push the project in the right direction, each revision, each test, each fitting, are witnesses of how the collection goes in a good direction. For me, each of these little details was a great moment for the course.
What are your hopes and plans for life after graduation?
I would love to create my own brand and tell my story and express my brand manifesto to the world, but I think I still have a lot to learn, but I know very well that after I graduate, I would work as a fashion designer for some brand that shares a similar philosophy with me.