Through the next two months, GreenStitched sits down with the finalists of EcoChic Design Award 2015/16. EcoChic Design Award is a sustainable fashion design competition organised by Redress, inspiring emerging fashion designers and students to create mainstream clothing with minimal textile waste.
The interviews with these young designers will be posted every Wednesday on GreenStitched.
Today we meet Fan Yu, a Fashion Design student at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
What brought you into the world of fashion? That ‘aha’ moment which opened doors to sustainable fashion?
Fan Yu: I believe in Zen philosophy, and so I respect the balance between nature and human lives. When Zen philosophy is then combined with sustainable fashion, both concept and design style should enhance the overall quality of the product. This helps to maintain sustainable fashion in simple and high-end styles – much like the concept of “wabi-sabi” which is an aesthetic that accepts and celebrates imperfection. As a fashion designer, I believe less is more.
What was your inspiration for the EcoChic Design Award collection?
Fan Yu: “SAN(さん)” in Japanese is a title of a person, much like “Mr/Ms” in English. In this collection, the “SAN” is representing a Zen master Shunryu Suzuki (鈴木俊隆). The collection is inspired from his book called “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”.
The soul of book is about an attitude called “Beginner’s Mind”. It emphasised that stay initial as beginner when you face every challenge, then you can feel real and enjoy lives in details. As a modern, energetic Chinese lady, contemporary sustainable fashion serves as good accessories to help them to stay true and stay initial; and displaying their beauty towards others.
3 things you learnt from of the challenge?
– Sustainable fashion design techniques
– Sustainable materials/textile
– Sustainable technology application
How do you think sustainable fashion can move from a niche to the mainstream?
Fan Yu: Sustainable fashion is a trend around the world.
Education and promotion is the most important factor, such as carrying out workshops, talks, competitions, flea markets and second-hand pop-up stores etc. It will be easier to spread the message of sustainable fashion to the public through these activities.
It is also important to encourage popular fashion brands to become leaders of sustainable fashion in the industry. For example, brands such as H&M, Stella McCartney play a huge role.
What is the biggest misconception about sustainable fashion?
Fan Yu: People think that sustainable fashion is rubbish, for example, they would think the clothes are old, dirty, damage, second-hand, uncomfortable, disgraceful or have poor finishing (patching everywhere).
What is your advice for the next breed of fashion designers?
Fan Yu: Be yourself. Do not be the kind of person you hated when you were young.
What is next in store for you?
Fan Yu: Preparing for my fashion label. Keep explore sustain fashion techniques and promote to my friend of designer.
Watch Frontline Fashion, a documentary following these talented Asian and European emerging fashion designers determined to change the future of fashion. As they descend into Hong Kong for the design battle of their lives, all eyes are on the first prize; to design an up-cycled collection for China’s leading luxury brand, Shanghai Tang. This documentary is available on iTunes here.
The next cycle of the EcoChic Design Awards is open for application from 3 January to 3 April 2017. Interested students can find more details here.