Vu Ta Linh, 26
Collection name: The Contour
Fascinated by the traditions and heritage of Vietnam, Vu Ta Linh tries to incorporate elements of his homeland into his collections through colour, fabric and detailing. Named ‘The Contour’, Linh’s collection for Audi Star Creation 2013 is inspired by the rice terraces of Sapa in northern Vietnam, drawing on their distinct curves and waves. It was created with active, strong-minded women in mind, he says, women who love to travel and discover the traditions, heritage and history of the countries they visit. Linh is already making his mark on Vietnam’s fashion landscape. In 2009, he won second place in the Aquafina Pure Fashion competition in Hanoi, and in December last year, he produced his own runway collection for the Vietnam Fashion Week Spring Summer 2013.
Tell us more about yourself
I first started design when I enrolled into the Hanoi Academy of Theatre and Cinema in 2005. My four years of study in the Academy gave me the opportunity to find out who I really am, and what I wanted to do. After graduating in June 2009, I worked as a fashion designer in a company specializing in office wear, but quit after a month. I found the work uninspiring. I decided to put out my own designs by competing in fashion design competitions including the Aquafina Pure Fashion 2009, where I took second place with my ethnic-inspired collection. Inspired by the other young designers I met during competitions, I decided to enrol into the Hanoi London College for Fashion Studies. I graduated last year and now work as an illustrator at a fashion company.
What are the highlights of your collection?
‘The Contour’ was inspired by the curved rice terraces of Ruong Bac Thang in Sapa, Vietnam, and is captured in the curves and waves in the pieces. I used lighter shades of green, orange and pink to represent the elegant details of Ruong Bac Thang, and used grey as the main colour for the background of the garments to create a contrast. This collection is one of juxtapositions – warm and cool colour tones, rigid and soft lines, stiff and fluid materials – which I believe helps bring the collection to life. I also have access to a great variety of fabrics in Vietnam, so there are infinite possibilities and I try to combine as many different fabrics together to create interesting textures. I also used techniques like quilting, stitching, weaving, embroidery and patchwork to make each piece different from the other.
What are your thoughts on Vietnam’s fashion industry?
I think that Vietnam’s fashion industry is becoming more vibrant as more Vietnamese become interested in fashion. More Vietnamese designers have started launching their own labels and it has been invigorating for the industry because it has created more opportunities for designers, stylists and visual merchandisers. There have also been a flurry of new fashion design competitions for aspiring designers. There is even a Vietnamese edition of Project Runway, which made its debut this year. It makes for a really interesting fashion landscape for a young designer.
What new ideas/approach do you think you bring to the fashion scene in the region?
I would like to create collections that combine Vietnam’s rich tradition with Western styles and make that my trademark. I hope that when people see those kinds of clothing, they will someday view it as typically “Linh”. This is something that Australian-Vietnamese designer Mai Lam has managed to do. I hope that other Vietnamese designers will also draw on their rich culture and heritage, allowing people to learn about Vietnam and what it has to offer the world.
Sun Yi Jin, 24
Collection name: Return
A graduate of Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, Yi Jin believes that design is not defined by time or trends. In a collection she describes as timeless, Sun Yi Jin’s ‘Return’ draws on the shapes of traditional Chinese outfits and the historical colours of her homeland. It is her hope to help revive some of the costumes and handcrafting techniques of the country’s 56 ethnic minorities, many of which have been lost over time. The 24-year old, who is pursuing a Masters in textile design at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, has created her own fabric using both traditional crafting skills and technology. Her chosen pattern is inspired by the facial features of the Chinese, and will be dominantly black, gray and white.
Tell us more about yourself
I’ve been interested in the arts since I was a child, and had a special interest in painting. Along the way, I was drawn to fashion design as I felt it was a channel through which I could best express my ideas. In order to hone my skills and creativity, I moved from my hometown in Shandong Province to Beijing in 2008 to pursue fashion design and enrolled at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT). In my senior year at BIFT, I founded a clothing brand with my friends and was mainly responsible for the procurement of textiles and designs of collections. Although the brand was only around for a year, I learned a lot from it. Beyond design, it is vital to know how certain fabrics would or would not sell. I graduated from BIFT with a major in Art Design specializing in Fashion Design last year, and am now doing a major in textile design at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London.
What are the highlights of your collection?
This collection centres around the theme of traditional Chinese fashion. The shapes of the pieces in this collection are largely influenced by traditional Chinese outfits such as the Han Fu but done with a modern twist. I am using black, grey and white, and creating the fabrics by manipulating silk, cotton and wool with the help of modern technology. I will, for example, be combining silk and PVC using heat press techniques to create a new material that is more durable and can better hold shapes like pleats. Wool combines with a sheer fabric to provide a backdrop for screen prints. I hope that my textiles tell a story of China’s history.
What are your thoughts on China’s fashion industry?
I feel that the Chinese fashion industry is expanding far too quickly, favouring quantity without giving much thought to quality. Most contemporary Chinese designers tend to prioritize economic concerns over handcrafted techniques and thoughtful design. I believe that Chinese fashion designers need to learn how to better tap on China’s wealth of cultural resources. We have been exposed to a long and rich history in the arts that can lend depth to fashion designs. Not many other countries can lay claim to that.
What is an achievement you are particularly proud of?
I am proud of how well I have done in some of the other fashion design competitions that I have participated in. I got a Bronze award at the 2011 China International Women’s Fashion Designers Contest, and a Recognition award in the Triumph Inspiration Award 2011 (China). In 2010, I also took third place in the T.B2 Innovation Scholarship Fashion Design Competition. Still, I don’t let past successes get to my head. I try and do better with every collection I put out and hope that what I have created will help me shine at Audi Star Creation 2013!
Audi Star Creation 2013 will take place on May 13, 2013. It is part of Singapore’s Asia Fashion Exchange. For more information, check out www.starcreation.sg; you can follow Audi Star Creation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StarCreationSG and on Twitter at @StarCreationSG. Stay tuned for more designer insights as we bring you the 12 finalists for Audi Star Creation 2013.
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