LCFMA22: Yulong Xia is controlling his aesthetic
London College of Fashion's MA22 cohort showcases the breadth of talent that our students possess. Across the fields of visual communication, design and business, this year's set of students has taken inspiration from themes including gender fluidity, human connection and, from a sartorial perspective, innovative pattern cutting.
LCF Stories spoke to Yulong Xia, a MA Fashion Design Technology (Menswear) graduate. His designs incorporate invisible zips, hidden colour patterns and an original 'convex-concave' embossing technology. Read our interview with Yulong below.
Your collection incorporates silicone, an unusual material choice. Why is that and what benefits does it provide the wearer?
The source of using this technology comes from the interactivity between garments and accessories. When the invisible zipper is sewn with the fabric, the volume control will lead to the deformation of the joint between the zipper and the fabric. The surface texture caused by deformation promotes the wide application of this technology in the project. By filling wool fabric with high-temperature resistant silica gel, a visual pattern like relief can be formed. It forms a linear cycle on the wearer and creatively breaks through the visual experience. It is a linear totem in fashion language.
We understand that there are layers of zips that reveal some interesting patterns. What is the thought process behind that?
This involves the discussion on the balance of folding space and quantity in my project. During development in May 2021, the design methodology to maintain the consistency of garment surface area was improved. The space within the garment is changed by opening and closing the zipper. In development, the application of a dynamic curve gave the zipper a circular application around the whole body, which has played an important role in the further development of the project.
How has your research into colour theory benefitted your garment designing practice?
This project mainly involves the design practice of mutual replacement of cold and warm space and colour. Harry Houdini's body art installation "there's no space that I can see" on display in 1994 shows that when a man in a suit is locked in a sealed water tank, the water overflows his half body, making his upper body and lower body take on different colours. By placing the cold colour in the warm space and the warm colour in the cold space, I can extract some complex new colours presented in the alternation of cold and warm and apply them to the subsequent series. The whole series transits from light colour to dark colour, forming a complete colour system.
What particular challenges have you faced during the production of your final showcase and how did you overcome them?
Due to the particularity of 'concave convex' embossing technology, pure wool and pure leather must be used for high-temperature treatment. Due to the complexity and diversity of colours in this series, there are very few fabrics that meet the conditions of colour and pure wool or leather at the same time. Through contacting various channels, it took nearly 2 months to complete the collection and purchase of fabrics. On the other hand, the mould required by 'concave-convex' embossing technology also needs to be completed through 3D modelling. A total of 18 moulds have been manufactured in this series, and each mould has a separate modelling file, which is also a huge challenge in terms of communication cost and time cost. In this part, I need to thank Chen Chen for her great contribution to my project as my model leader and embossing technology analyst.
Do you have any particular highlights from your time on the course?
Two of my works, "Déjà Vu” and "Endless Rotations", were published in Schon and Vigour magazines respectively, in collaboration with photographer Junjie Pang.
Developing aesthetic control was another highlight of my course. This includes the layout design of my portfolio, and conceptually grasping the overall shape and visual rhythm of my clothing. This allowed me to form a unique design style and stand out. I think that packaging and visual presentation are the most important parts of fashion design because they determine the establishment of style and the formation of artistic aesthetics.
What are your hopes and plans for life after graduation?
After graduation, I hope to establish my own clothing brand of the same name as soon as possible. But at this stage, I still lack some knowledge of the operation mechanism and marketing means of the fashion industry chain. Therefore, in the future, I will continue to learn how to successfully establish designer brands in the fashion industry and continue to improve my aesthetic and ability in fashion design.
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