SEPTEMBER 27, 2015
WHEN YOUTH REVOLTS: FEIFEI YANG SPRING/SUMMER 2016
After graduating from London College of Fashion in 2014, Chinese born Feifei Yang decided to make her mark within the menswear market. It was her ﬁnal design collection that put her on the map due to extensive media interest. Yang continued her craft by working with Roksanda Ilincic as well as others before she launched her own label in 2014. How to describe Feifei Yang? It is a menswear fashion brand that uses unconventional patterns as well as ﬂirts with experimentation in the form of tailoring and fabric.
For Spring/Summer 2016 (http://deuxhommesmag.com/tag/springsummer-2016), Fei Fei Yang’s collection is dubbed “Scorpio.” Inspired by the patterns created by stars as they move onward into the night sky, it reﬂects the youth’s lust and quest for spiritual needs as well as the constant need to explore inner as well as outer worlds. Fine wools as well as the introduction of 3D digital prints and screen-printing is shown. Indeed, the devil is in the details: a tailored button up in black gives the surprise of a sheer back with a stark, thick line that runs vertically down the center. A blazer features cutouts on the back that reveal ﬂashes of color. Pieces of fabric are cut out on tops to reveal another layer underneath, and it certainly is stimulating (visually) to the viewer. And of course, a leopard print in a patent blend along with stripes in various shades of blues can’t be ignored. In short, a series of staples are deconstructed and reconstructed with what Yang deﬁnes is ‘current.’ The explorer and the daredevil who is not afraid to experiment is among us.
A CONVERSATION WITH FEIFEI YANG
Fresh from London College of Fashion, menswear designer FeiFei Yang(http://www.feifeiyang.co.uk/) has already caught the eye of Deux Hommes’ editors.
Proﬁling Yang’s AW14 collection, the aesthetic is very English—one could image the costume designer of BBC’s Upstairs Downstairs would be delighted to use Yang’s gentleman suits for the show’s men, ready to ﬁght at the dawn of the Second World War. And yet, there is, too, a ‘70s American reference: the extra wide pant legs is emblematic of a creative type: stoic, but creative and contemplative. Perhaps Yang’s muse is an English expat working as a solitary artist with extra stylish wingtips. Whatever the case may be, Yang’s collection presents a poignantly sophisticated aesthetic. As Yang is based in London and I, in New York, I was able to connect digitally for an ofﬁcial interview. What yielded was a candid conversation outlining her creative process as she designed her cool weather collection.
You have recently earned your master’s in fashion design and technology, menswear at the University of the Arts, London. Can you tell me about your interest in designing menswear?
I graduated with my master’s in 2014. Before I studied menswear, I studied womenswear fashion design [and earned my] bachelor’s degree, gaining experience at a womenswear company. For me, there is no boundary between menswear and womenswear. [As a menswear designer] I am more interested in the study of innovative pattern cutting, experimenting with materials, and neutral tailoring [with a] feminine element.
Where did you grow up? What or who inﬂuenced your interest in designing?
I grew up in southern China. I took great inﬂuence from Japanese cartoons and western pop music, and movies as well. [Designers] Issey Miyake, John Galliano, and Maison Martin Margiela have greatly inﬂuenced my interest in fashion design.
Many designers have philosophies, or ways of approaching, their design process. Can you describe yours?
My design philosophy explores the relationship between space and the human body. Garments—a soft architecture on the human form—can express my idea of space. The core of my design is innovative cut and material reconstruction. Plentiful research and pattern experimentation are the ﬁrst steps of my design process. [What follows] is sketching and material research; the development follows after. Before launching each ﬁnal garment, [I make] ﬁve to six modiﬁcations for ﬁt.
Looking at your AW14 collection, you’ve developed sophisticated silhouettes with a nod to feminine detail: the wide leg trousers, in particular, are reminiscent of the trousers and ﬂares women sported in the ‘70s and early ‘00s. Can you tell me your idea behind the collection?
The aim of this collection is to express a concept about spacial displacement on the human body [through] pattern cutting. It starts from discussing the methodology and principles of architecture. The images of “light of church,” signiﬁcant to Japa nese architect Ando Taodo, are referenced in my designs. Taodo’s research in angles, lighting, and materials are used as a cutting reference in this collection. In order to express the contrast between the softness of light and the shadow and stiffness of architecture, feminine elements and paradoxical design, such as the ‘70s [era] suit silhouette, has been incorporated into the silhouette and details.
How did you approach sourcing fabrics and a color palette for AW14? Was there a particularly challenging or revelatory aspect to the process?
The grey color palette was referenced by the experiment of light and shadow. To complement the palette, I went to fabric agencies in Milan, Paris, and London to source fabrics. [In addition], I made my print silk fabric. In terms of technique, a neutral tailoring is the most difﬁcult and important aspect of the process. Tailoring is the supporting foundation [to my] garments, and it’s been applied creatively to create a soft silhouette.
There’s a sophisticated, worldly, and pensive aesthetic to your collection. Did you have a muse?
The images of classic British gentlemen and Japanese geishas [have] always inspired me. In my opinion, there’s a perfect paradoxical aesthetic between them. [Together, they] express a combination of western elements and eastern spirit.
What’s next for the future of FeiFei Yang and Co?
In terms of AW14, the collection is [already] in the process of preparing for showrooms for London Fashion Week [next February]. In terms of business, FeiFei Yang has an ecommerce shop(http://www.feifeiyang.co.uk/) and will collaborate with buyers.