There was no bigger realisation for me that last year has been different than when I had to watch the Apu Jan show via a monitor. I’ve been at every Apu show since he made his London debut, and after those shows have interviewed him backstage for this very magazine, these are strange days indeed, but of course we had to have him back even if we had to do it remotely!!! So without further delay, lets jump in with the designer . . .
This year was a real change for you, how did you watch the show?
Yes, we introduced our designs and stories in film. Although it seems like a completely change, but not only a challenge for us, it’s also an interesting experience. It shows different points of view of clothing through the lens. Even through the lens, it is still a linear movement between the clothes and the model. We can also express things in a more subtle way; we could show more angles of fashion through the lens. Using pre-recording, more elements can be added, because I believe that we ought to use different ways to tell the story of fashion.
Each season your show includes a story, were you excited to explore the stories in a new way?
During every season, we connect to literary allusions, the passage of time, and the imagination of science fiction and fantasy in each theme. The moon in the water, the flower in the mirror, it can be seen, but when you try to feel and touch, you will realise that it’s all an illusion.
Although this saying has been passed down through centuries (in both the Eastern and Western world), but it’s only a fictional concept. We hope that what we’ve shown is not only a music tape, not an advertisement, not a video, and not just shooting a model in the clothes. We wanted our movie to team together using a short film to show the essence of Fashion.
There were guests who showed up and watched the film with us (Joanne Missingham, viewing the show through virtual glasses was sitting in the front row), In the film, it revealed the linear movement of the models and the balance between appearance order and permutation. You can see different fabrics, accessories, makeup and hair, the logo on the back of the brand, the music performance, and the last part, the designer and models respond to a curtain call. Walk away from the content and the atmosphere and the content of the film still has the elements of fashion that we used to show on the runways, it only changed to a digital form to appear.
Did you direct the film?
Yes, this is the creation between a film director and a fashion designer, this cooperation has brought the two industries closer together and I hope that we will have more possibilities in the future. In this creation, we no longer have to constrain ourselves in space and time, we can catch more angles in clothing, we managed to interpret the preparation process and the theme of the series at the same time, and we have begun to have more narrative techniques.
You’ve collaborated with DJ Question Mark at every show, did the way you collaborate change while you planned the film?
During the process of filming, in spite of its complexity and precision, it can be disassembled and be shot in sections.
Although it required a longer lead period and post-production period, we had to break the usual of rules in space and time. At the same time, considering different music, image, film, and site needs. In the film, there was only the music and the image left behind the lens, and the free transformation between the two are to tell the story.
This season there was a duality between the almost aggressive rigidity of some pieces and the gentle flowing motion of others, how did you arrive at the contrast?
Every season I always telling a different fantasy story. At the same time, it may be a literary allusion, intense fiction/ fantasy, and a romantic imagination. Just like London is a city that accepts innovation and multiculturalism, it is also a starting point for an independent designer.
It is a city that is both retro and innovative, traditional and futuristic, both can coexist, and it is very similar to our theme.
The film includes famous Go player Hei Jiajia, but what is your favourite game?
I’ve been watching basketball games and news for many many years. I am also interested in many chess competitions, including Go, but I don’t know much about it. Since I’ve been paying attention on Go, I know JiaJia has been a world top player in Go for a long time. She is so dedicated and keeps improving. I was so happy and honoured when I knew I had the opportunity to cooperate with her.
You’re a huge basketball fan, who do you tip for the NBA championship this season?
When you read this interview, the Lakers have won the championship. I’m not a fan of the Lakers, but I respect the championship team every year, they deserve it. Incidentally, I am very pleased for one of the players in the team, he is Rondo.
How has it felt to be able to put down roots in a single place this year in comparison to the heavy travelling you’ve previously been doing?
In fact, I’m not quite used to it. In the past, I’ve used to travel between Europe and Asia, because there was different production line, different performances, different cooperation, and different channels. Now everything has to be integrated in one or two places, and a massive amount of applications are used to connect across the gap, even the show is digitised. Actually, I don’t know where the world goes next, we are still exploring whether all of our fashion work can run in this way.
By Ross Pollard – Emerging Fashion Designers Editor