is a combination of performance artist, concept researcher and gender-neutral fashion designer. YunRay always seeks for ways to tell stories that he cares about, no matter it is social issues or personal journeys. The main source of material for YuRay is upcycled second-hand garments. It is about sustainability, but it is also about storytelling. We had the pleasure to talk to YuRay the designer of fashion label Sincerely YunRay about sustainability and his gender-neutral approach as part of our Global Young Talent in the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK.
Tell us a bit about yourself, you’re originally from Taiwan, yet relocated to New York where you set up you eponymous label Sincerely YunRay, why did you decide move and set up your brand in the States?
Growing up in Taiwan was a fortunate and fun experience, but once realizing fashion is where I want to work in, I decided to move. I decided to study fashion in New York as at that time it seemed very exciting because of the emerging designers.
"Growing up in Taiwan was a fortunate and fun experience, but once realizing fashion is where I want to work in, I decided to move."
Your collection defies the traditional notions of gender, and offers a gender-neutral approach, why did you decide to make your design fluid and how is this established in your collection?
I never liked the idea of the gender of clothes, I like to play with clothes for men and women. Designing for me, is about the idea, not about gender, I don’t really think about my muse or “who I am designing for”, but rather “what I am designing for”. I like to drape using clothes I thrifted and play with them on both male and female bodies.
A strong element of your collection are the up-cycled second-hand clothes, is sustainability something you feel strongly about and why did you decide to tackle it this way?
Sustainability is something important to me, mostly after learning about the current fashion industry, consumerism and waste. I struggled for a while with the idea of using second-hand clothes as my final materials, but eventually, I came around to it. I started to value the memories, the flaws of second-hand clothes, and I enjoy using my creativity to try to make them into something new and exciting!
"Sustainability is something important to me, mostly after learning about the current fashion industry, consumerism and waste."
You describe yourself as a story-teller, and your designers are meant to be seen as performance art, how is the reflected in your work?
For me, it is very important to have something I want to talk about before I start working on my collection. And from the performance art, come the clothing shapes and textures, and I work from them to build a final collection. Performance art is inseparable from my final clothing work, I think of the performance art as the clothing making process itself, but only I’m re-making the second-hand clothes, through the idea and thoughts from the performance art. It creates the texture, the colour choices, the shapes, everything.
Since you have set up your brand, you have joined Fashion Crossover London, what other plans do you have for yourself and your brand in the future?
I would like to keep my work in the path of performance style in the future, appeared in celebrity stages, magazines and galleries, attracted people in visual effects, meanwhile, keep itself environment-friendly, sustainable and ethical. From the perspective of system thinking, my design is more likely to appear as functional artwork.
"Performance art is inseparable from my final clothing work, I think of the performance art as the clothing making process itself, but only I’m re-making the second-hand clothes, through the idea and thoughts from the performance art."
Discover Yunray Chung's full collection
Words by Reka Sara