What drew you to fashion?
I moved to London When I was 16, and I had to choose what I wanted to do for a college course. Where I am from, fashion is not really even an option. It’s more like you can go and do a trade kind of a job, so when I saw that fashion was an option, I started to do it. It was completely by accident. At first I kind of did it just for fun, I didn’t even realise that it was a serious industry until I started to get educated about it. Then i realised it was like one of the biggest industries in the world. I grew up in a small town and then I ended up going onto a foundation course and then I came onto St Martins.
What do you like about Print or embellishment?
I like that you can take the fabric and make it much more personal and put your footprint onto it, rather than just take a fabric and make it into a silhouette. With much of my work, I do a lot of hand painting and hand drawing which makes it a lot more personal.
And do you feel like fashion has given you a tool to express yourself?
Yes for sure, a lot of my work is very personal to me or based around me and it’s kind of like a way to talk about things that you don’t always talk about. I do that especially through my paintings.
So you use art and fashion as your language
Yes it’s quite an empowerment thing.
Do you have any hopes for the future of the fashion industry or for fashion itself?
I want to make it so that it’s more accessible to people from lower income backgrounds.
I think at the moment with unpaid internships it’s making it more for the middle class and less for the working class.
Obviously at the same time, the industry loves to appropriate the working class, yet they don’t make it possible for the working class to work in the industry - once you graduate you need a job that pays, but there are no paid jobs, so then it’s just unfair.
What do you hope people get out of fashion?
Do you hope they take it as an art, like a moving art?
I think it should be seen as a movement.
These days people are definitely putting more of their feelings, and opinions, so I hope that people take that from it and understand it in that way also, rather than just pretty garments or something.
What drew you to fashion?
I think it mostly was the possibilities of working with different techniques, especially working at CSM, you can do so many different things, it’s not fashion in the traditional sense like it is anywhere else, and I think that’s what made me interested in it.
How is fashion viewed in Germany where you grew up?
It’s not considered a serious subject.
Because in Germany we don’t really have a Fashion Industry, my friends in Germany don’t think what I am doing is very difficult. They really don’t understand how much you have to put into this.
In Germany if you study something it’s either academic or engineering, that's more important.
What is it about print that you like?
I really like working with colours, print is good for that.
The Print Course here, it’s not just print, it’s more like surface techniques. That’s what I like about it the most.
Do you view fashion as a tool to express yourself?
Are you worried about Brexit or do you think creativity and creative people who work in the industry will surpass that?
I am very worried about it actually, because until this day I don’t really know if I can stay in the UK. I have built a life here, so I would really like to stay.
And if you are scared, when you don’t really know about the future, then that hinders your creativity a bit. Because It means you are not as free as maybe you would like to be. I feel like this really influences your creativity.
What are your hopes for the industry?
I hope it to be more inclusive, but also to be more inclusive of young talent. To understand that you don’t have to have 30 years of experience to do something.
When I did my internships, it was very divided between the company and the interns. I wish there would be more of a collaboration, and people’s talents would be seen.
What drew you to fashion?
I was always more of an artist; at school I was always drawing and painting. With this course, I could bring those sort of elements to it, you can blend them with fashion and they become art pieces to wear.
Before this course, I didn’t know how to sew, I didn’t grow up sewing or anything like that, so to me it was a challenge in itself to sort of build the two together, so that I could achieve it in a way that is still me but still fashion-y.
Is that what you like specifically about print, the fact that it fuses fashion with art?
Print is the pathway I always wanted to do. Drawing or print come first for me and the clothes follow. The clothes are important but the print is the main thing.
What do you think fashion means for society? From your perspective, is there a deeper meaning to it?
Yes because even if someone says 'oh I am not concerned with fashion or I don’t like fashion', they are still in it, because they wear clothes. So everyone is part of it, wether you are into high fashion or low fashion, everyone is consumed by it, because everyone wears clothes.
Regardless of what someone wears, they are still telling a story, conveying what they want to the world and how they want people to see them.
Telling who they are in a visual manner to the world.
Is there something you would like to change in the fashion industry?
Some people are so concerned with what other people think and they are quite scared to wear certain outfits and walk down the streets. They are scared of what people may think and I believe that people need to forget about that and just dress how they want and just be more authentically them.
What drew you to fashion and what do you like about it?
I come from a working class background, no one that I know ever did fashion or art ever. At school I was good at graphic design and art, and so just by myself I went to college and applied. I studied fine art and then I was making my own stuff and all the tutors around me where saying to me that I should maybe try and make some clothes so I did, and that’s kind of how it all happened. Along the way, I met the right people and they taught me about CSM. Art really drew me into fashion.
So do you think what you like about print specifically, is that fusion of art within fashion?
Definitely, I don’t think I could have done another pathway because I really like the aspect of painting and colour on clothes, especially in Menswear. I do menswear and that is all I wanted to do, to dress the boys that I am surround by and put them in colour.
What is is specifically about designing Menswear?
I feel like it’s almost more empowering as a woman to dress men. I feel like men are always dressing women, and almost sexualising them, I mean the female body is over-sexualised anyway, in so many ways, but I think it’s quite powerful as a woman to dress men in what I find attractive and that’s kind of what the root of my collection is. It is the female gaze.
What do you think fashion means in society? Do you think there is a deeper meaning to it?
I think there is but I think it is something that is very much overlooked because if you think about it, even if we don’t want to admit it, the first thing you notice when you look at someone is the way they present themselves, so it really is a presentation of what you like, or it can be.
Some people only use it as a utility, as in you have to get dressed, but even in that there’s a craft, even in a T-Shirt. I think there can be meaning in fashion, but I don’t think there always is.
Is there something you would like to change in the industry, do you think there should be more opportunities for people to go into fashion?
Definitely. When I told my family I wanted to study fashion, eyes were rolled; they were kind of saying, you will never have money until you are 35 and all of that, and I think that is a bit sad.
One of the things that I’ve learnt especially on my year out, is that interning is great and it can teach you many things, however now that I’ve finished my degree, I will never work for free for anybody nor do I expect anyone to work for free for me. So either I am collaborating with people or literally paying someone to help me out with things. I kind of expect the same. I can come in and do a job and be paid or this can be a collaboration where my name is put on it and get some profit as well, but I don’t want to do any work for free anymore because I think that’s a big thing, you know, we all need to pay the rent, we all need to live, we all have necessities, and I don’t see why especially in the art industry and in fashion we don’t get paid, especially if you are young, I don’t think that is ok.
What do you like about fashion?
I like that it’s a form of self expression and that you can do what you want really.
For me it’s not really about trends or anything like that, I just wanted to do my own thing.
Do you think there is a deeper meaning to fashion beyond just wearing clothes?
For me it’s just about clothes.
A visual thing
Yes like a visual, I am having fun with it.
What is it specifically about print that you like?
From a young age, I loved drawing. My mum who is here with me now, used to give me lots of colouring books and I aways used to colour them in when I was younger, that got me into a creative atmosphere and at school I didn’t enjoy anything apart from drawing, art or visuals.
Do you feel like drawing is therapeutic in a way? You can use your voice through drawing?
When I was younger, it was just something to do and I really enjoyed it.
Are you influenced by both London and Hong Kong? How is the fashion in Hong Kong?
London is such a big city, it is more diverse. In Hong Kong, they don’t think in trends like they do here in London, where there is a fashion week. In Hong Kong everyone wears what they want and they wear lots of funny t-shirts, it feels like a natural combo. They don’t realise when they are trendy, so it’s more casual than a bigger city and there are no big fashion colleagues like CSM there.
Do you have a hope for the future of fashion?
Just that it’s fun and individual.
You said you like drawing when you were younger, do you think it is important that art is more accessible for children, that in schools the arts should be more considered?
Yes definitely the arts are pushed too much aside, and a lot of secondary schools or primary schools especially in London thrive to work just towards an academic career and then arts are pushed aside. But I feel, the arts are really important because everything is designed and I think creativity is really important in young people to open their minds.
What do you like about fashion?
I like colours and I like printing and I want to use modern techniques with some traditional ones. I hand paint on paper and then I scan them and then I draw with the computer. For my final collection, I did some screen printing and I also scanned some drawings to use illustrator and photoshop. I used a vinyl cutting machine and paper stencils. I like craft things, so after the cutting, I fix things by hand. It’s good to combine different elements together.
So you mix drawing and digital art in your work
I got my inspiration for my collection from films such as Mary Poppins and the Wizard of Oz. Suddenly you get into a mystery world and it’s a journey. I researched this and I wanted to create my own utopian world. I started hand painting and drawings my research then I tried to make them into my garments.
So you are trying to create your Utopian world?
So do you think fashion has given you a path to do that?
Do you think people want to create their own world through fashion?
Yes I think so.
I want to do some more interesting and different things in fashion, and a different process of printing.
Is there something you want to change in the industry, or things that you like or that you don’t like?
Actually I don’t really like fast fashion. There needs to be more hand craft things, but I understand that hand craft pieces sometimes take a really long time and it costs a lots more too, so I want to combine, having hand crafted fashion with modern elements, so I am working alongside the computer.
So technology for you is a good tool to bring back the old craft into the modern times
Yes, to combine modernity with traditional craft and make couture type pieces.
What do you like about fashion?
I like that it’s something that everybody wears everyday. It is a part of everybody’s life, I think it is a good messenger carrier and it’s not secluded for some classes, it can be for everybody.
I think we tend to identify people through fashion. In my opinion fashion is to promote opinions and values and to push for understanding of the world that I believe in. So that’s why I like fashion. It’s also a really cool communication between a 3D form and a print, it’s like a wearable piece of art or even a wearable letter.
Is there something about print that you like specifically?
I like how with screen printing it is very visual. Digital printing or technology has a lot of flatness to it and coldness, whereas screen printing is done with your hands and you make mistakes, which is all part of the process and it’s cool because that’s also part of life. Printing is great because it’s a traditional craft and it’s a skill that’s been developed for so many years and I feel like I need to sustain it and it’s something I want to carry on doing.
I’m a printer and it just makes everything so much more fun and colourful and it really turns into something that I’ve made rather than something I’ve bought and cut out, so yes print is like an extra layer.
You said you had a message in fashion, is there a particular message or messages you have?
Oh yes, in my collection, each dress is about a topic I care about. Each look has a slogan to it and an imagery surrounding it. One of them is “i’m vegan and I’m an animal rights activist” and “rights to all creatures", it has prints of endangered animals on it. The second look says "stay human” and it has a print of people hugging. It’s about how we should support each other, take care of each other, even if we are all so separated in our isolated troubles and stresses. The third look says, there is no “Planet B” and it has a huge flower crown, it’s about environmental issues.
So you are very political in your fashion?
I am very political. One of the other slogans in the fifth look is “refuse to be confused” which is the informational role out we’ve been dealing with, addressing Facebook and how confused we all are. The main message is with my last look which is “Revolution,” with the word “Love” highlighted into it. Because there is a reverse word of “Love" in revolution.
I was in America and there was a lot of anti-Trump movement there and what I realised is that if we want to do anything, to change things, then we have to come from a place of love and build with what we believe in. My collection though it is political, it is also positive, hopeful and optimistic, because only then can we survive in the world and more forward.
So it’s about bringing people together?
It’s about bringing people together and bringing all the issues together. My collection is fully sustainable too, my inks are eco-friendly, I’m printing on organic cotton and I’m using beats that are waste, everything like that because we can’t just address things separately it’s all part of the bigger picture and we just need to rebalance things. In my opinion, we are sinking but if we just keep on making better things, we’ll bring the scale back to the good side because we are always on a tipping point. There’s always going to be bad and good in the world, but if we are saying anti, then we are adding to the aggression in the world, we are fighting against something without offering solutions.
Fashion could be a good tool to offer solutions
Yes because everybody can be part of it and it makes people excited. It’s also wearable which means it’s readable, so you don’t have to carry a poster around with you to promote your messages, you can be the carrier of your messages in every single movement and every single piece of clothing you wear.