It’s a cold night, the rain is beating down like the end of days as we trudge towards the lights glimmering through the windows of Somerset House, a chill wind whips up off a steel grey unforgiving Thames, the door opens and we step inside the Names London showcase to look for Taiwanese design duo Yuan Lung Kao and Katrina Yu Wei Lee of Syzygy, who you may recall were our London Fashion Week Ones To Watch. As we shed our coats a voice calls from behind “YOU MADE IT”, the warm welcoming greeting so synomous of the islands designers is under way. Questions are asked, did you enjoy the rest of your trip, I’d met them on the island at Christmas, did you enjoy the cake, of course, pineapple cake as well as being the symbol of the nation is delicious, and how am I. Eventually I get them back on track, and get to some questions about the new collection with Katrina . . .
We wanted to extend the concept of Syzygy, as you know Syzygy means 3 lines become one and last time we did the eclipse, sun, moon and earth, this time it’s the mercury transit, mercury, and the sun and earth, a continuation of the story we want to follow under the name of Syzygy, hence the colour symbolising mercury with turquoise deepish blues and the other tones, last time we did the collection in purely white, to make it pop out more.
This feels like a change, the first collection was steeped in structural form and presence, a rigid framing that built out almost gravity defying shapes from the wool, but this season, a softer approach, while still retaining the deliberate constructivism of the labels aesthetic there had been a mellow nature to it?
This time there were several points we wanted to introduce besides the atmosphere of the whole collection, we collaborated with a jewellery designer who made all our buttons and pins and we’re trying to emphasise the versatility more, the possibility of the interchangeable garments, for each there are two parts such as the knitwear which has different looks it can achieve within one garment. We have one garment but multiple possibilities.
The duo are firm believers in slow fashion, that garments should not only be from sustainable textiles but constructed in a way that continually gives new life, the adaption and reshaping the construction allows is a template for a wearers inner stylist, move this, tweak that, a new look, next week I’ll change that position, another new look, as a take on changing fashion its a different position to most designers and relies heavily on the technical skills of the production.
Its about the mindset not just the material, if it was just the material you can always mass produce them and it’s not really solved the issue for us. What we have is interchangeable multi-wear concept as our first approach in the garment design through the pattern and shape. The other approach is a like a piece of jewellery, it’s a pin and we attach it to the garment and change its shape, if you purchase it you’ll be taking home two items in one, its one garment with infinite possibilities.
One of the most interesting collections of London Fashion Week, and well worth a look, but time as ever runs cruelly against us journalists, so with deep consternation about reentering the malestrom outside goodbyes are said and plans for tea in the sunshine are made, which is perfect because I know Syzygy will be on our hallowed pages many more times.
Photos – Chris Yates