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LCFMA22: Yuanyuan Tan leads us on a journey of childhood memories

Model wearing colourful costume
  • Written byJ Tilley
  • Published date14 February 2022
Model wearing colourful costume
YuanYuan Tan - MA Fashion Design and Technology: Womenswear 2022. Photography by Linda Cooper, Model: Izzie, Hair by Wilson. Horwei - Fok, Makeup by Zana Moses

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. Next in the series, we chat with Yuanyuan Tan an MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear graduate who has taken inspiration from precious childhood memories to form the foundations of her graduate collection. You can view more work from Yuanyuan in the official LCFMA22 Showroom on Saturday 19 February.

Tell us about your collection – what story are you trying to tell?

My collection comes from an exploration of space, materials and the body. I was inspired by precious childhood memories. In order to take better care of me, my grandmother often carried me in a bamboo basket while doing all kinds of housework. The basket let me feel a sense of security and warmth and gave me an image of powerful motherhood. Therefore later in life I became very interested in the shape and space of the basket, and I found that knitting helped me to recreate a similar feeling. Going from a manual 3D structure to the machine weaving structure was a challenging process, particularly when it came to combining different stitches or techniques. I hope the clothes are special enough to demonstrate my aesthetic philosophy and are also  comfortable to wear.

Model wearing colourful costume
YuanYuan Tan - MA Fashion Design and Technology: Womenswear 2022. Photography by Linda Cooper, Model: Izzie, Hair by Wilson. Horwei - Fok, Makeup by Zana Moses
What techniques/materials have you focused on and what makes your collection different?

I used the 3D knitting technique to study the relationship between the body and materials. I have been pursuing a critical and constant experimentation with materials, volumes and shapes, to show how the body in motion transforms the ‘knitting’ and discloses unexpected shapes. Therefore, in this knitting collection, the aim is to achieve simplicity, sustainability and transformability. First, I preferred natural materials and recycled materials. I used glass yarn, recycled nylon and natural cotton that integrated modern techniques for a natural look. Second, I expressed simplicity in my fashion by keeping cutting to a minimum and sewing in geometric panels. I completed a series of amazing 3D knitting designs based on craftsmanship combined with modern technology to break through the plat knitting structure. Third, I pursued sustainability with comfortable clothing that anyone can wear regardless of fashion, age and body shape.

What particular challenges have you faced during the making of your final collection and how did you overcome them?

The biggest difficulty was how to achieve 2D to 3D conversion. The 2D knitting method to 3D knitting structure was mixed with different stitches and yarn layouts to form a three-dimensional spatial contour. With knitwear, it is possible to do things in different ways, when building it from the yarn, rather than cutting the fabric. It is also possible to attach things seamlessly that eliminate the usual need for cutting and sewing and to try transformability on clothing using buttons, strings, and layered styling. It requires a lot of thought with regard to techniques.

Combining different stitches, 3D sizes and yarns together has  been challenging but it also supports innovation in design method. Although in traditional knitting it is important to match each basic pattern as closely as possible (especially for the linking process), through a lot of practice I have experimented with different yarn compositions and yarn counts to find the most suitable materials to achieve the needs of garment structure and shape. Due to the discovery of technical analysis and solution-finding, the use of multiple ribs with different weaves and three-dimensional structures combined into one element can be maintained in the construction process.

Model wearing colourful costume
YuanYuan Tan - MA Fashion Design and Technology: Womenswear 2022. Photography by Linda Cooper, Model: Izzie, Hair by Wilson. Horwei - Fok, Makeup by Zana Moses
Do you have any particular highlights from your time on the course?

I am the only one on the MA doing technical research in the field of knitting, and I have created a collection that combines business and art forms through new technologies and new materials. It is a very difficult process to realize the 3D technology of this knitting. In terms of materials, I chose recycled and eco-friendly fabrics. During the material development, I successfully took aesthetics, innovation and sustainability into account. During the design process, I have been experimenting and exploring minimal stitching techniques and zero waste tailoring, and it came to fruition. This particular 3D weaving technique allows people to pay attention to the freedom of movement in fluid, soft and casual garments. Another strong key point of this collection was sustainability, easy to wear , easy to care for garments that can degrade completely under natural conditions.

What are your hopes and plans for life after graduation?

I will build a fashionable lifestyle brand, which I am working on now. I will use sustainable materials and innovative designs to be closer to everyday life, blurring the boundaries between sports and high fashion.

Model wearing colourful costume
YuanYuan Tan - MA Fashion Design and Technology: Womenswear 2022. Photography by Linda Cooper, Model: Izzie, Hair by Wilson. Horwei - Fok, Makeup by Zana Moses