London-Based Yang Gaining Accolades For Bright Animal-Inspired Designs
Having spent a decade in London, gaining a BA in Fashion Print and an MA in Fashion Womenswear at Central Saint Martins, the Dalian-born fashion designer Yang Du (杜旸) has become one of the most promising young Chinese talents, making waves with her brightly colored, playful animal-inspired apparel and accessories. Having cut her teeth with designers like Vivienne Westwood, Giles Deacon and John Galliano, Yang struck out on her own, launching her eponymous label in 2009. Since then, Yang’s oversized t-shirts and tunics have gained a cult following and, last year, Yang was included in the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN showcase, which has helped launch labels like Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane and Erdem since its introduction in 1993.
This year, Yang’s profile has grown even further, with her inclusion in an exclusive online capsule collection by the Hong Kong high-end retailer JOYCE — alongside Charles Frederick Worth, David Koma, Heaven Tanudiredja, Piers Atkinson, Quentin Veron, Rad Hourani, Tsolo Munkh and Úna Burke – and a presentation in Paris sponsored by On|Off.
Recently, Jing Daily exchanged nine questions with Yang Du, picking her brain about her new collection, brand philosophy and what it means to be “too crazy for a Chinese.”
1. How would you describe the Yang Du woman?
She’s not afraid to take risks!
2. What is your brand philosophy?
Have a sense of humor and pay a great deal of attention to details and finishing.
3. You mentioned in an interview that you were sure you wanted to be a fashion designer after attending the International New Talent Competition in Paris. Why’s that?
Being in Paris for the first time and seeing the greatest art in fashion.
4. You’ve referred to yourself in the past as a “surrealist.” How does this impact your designs?
People see me as a surrealist fashion designer, but those surreal things are more than real for me. I just pick up on things that other people might not notice. My collection is my way of sharing the stories about what I have seen.
5. What do you do and where do you go to seek artistic inspiration?
I go travelling, meet people, I dream, I paint, I share my stories with my clothes.
6. If you had to use one word to describe your designs, what would it be?
7. You mentioned once that one of your professors at Central Saint Martins joked with you that “you are too crazy for a Chinese.” How does your Chinese background influence or inspire your designs, if at all?
Well, I have to agree that I am a bit crazy — my mom always told me that when I was little. I never knew why, but I guess I just had too much love and too many dreams. I’m really lucky to do what I love to do, although it’s been very difficult and I doubt it will get any easier.
Coming to England has made me more aware of who I am, and I’m proud to be Chinese. I came over to study when I was 22. My culture is in my blood. So studying at Central Saint Martins taught me how to find myself and be who I am.
8. From your Weibo page, we noticed that you’re working on an independent film project in London and Berlin. Can you tell us a little about this production?
Yes, in fact I’m leaving for Berlin in three hours…I’m working on Marcel Grant’s fourth feature film at Dancing Brave Pictures. Marcel is a friend of mine, and one of the inspirations for my S/S 2010 collection. The film, “Open My Eyes Close My Eyes I See You,” is shooting in three locations, CERN Geneva, Berlin and London. The story is based on a missing scientist. I’m working on the styling and am also co-producer. It’s such hard work. Getting four hours of sleep a night on set is normal. But it’s been a very interesting experience and we hope to finish shooting in July.
9. Aside from your inclusion in the JOYCE capsule collection this summer, what does 2012 hold for Yang Du?
One thing at a time .
Yang Du’s collections are available online for a limited time through the JOYCE capsule collection e-store, as well as on AnyShopStyle. Du’s designs can also be found in stores such as Brand New China (Beijing), JOYCE (Hong Kong), Super Milan (Italy), BEAMS (Tokyo), and TSVETNOY (Moscow).