MEET YIYU CHEN, THE TAIWANESE DESIGNER MAKING WAVES IN THE INDUSTRY

MEET YIYU CHEN, THE TAIWANESE DESIGNER MAKING WAVES IN THE INDUSTRY

You’d be forgiven if you haven’t heard of Yiyu Chen.. yet. But not for long. The Taichung-based designer, who’s just won Denmark’s first fashion technology competition, Aarhus Walks on Water, says she’s has always been interested in clothing but this was her first time integrating technology into her work. “Fashion for me is appealing in both substance and significance level. I really enjoy the process of making each piece of garments, taking care of details and trying to present them in a proper way. On the other hand, the fact that fashion is always evolving with society and reflecting civilized life, make it a difficult task for a designer to be always relevant. There’s always something to learn.”   While this might have been the first time Chen has solely worked with tech, her work experience includes working alongside the legendary Iris Van Herpen – undoubtedly one of the trailblazers in the industry. “To work in Iris Van Herpen’s atelier was very challenging but with a lot of fun. Sometimes we need to experiment with different materials and try to figure out how to achieve the ideal results. Iris is really calm and friendly; I truly respect that she always knows what she wants and has a clear standard of quality. The experience taught me a lot on how a designer should insist and persist during design and producing process, the amazing results on Iris’s show coming with no accident. This experience makes me more open to any challenge and willing to cooperate with people in different fields.” As part of the AWOW competition, designers were tasked with creating...
INTERVIEW | SQUARESPACE’S CMO ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING ONLINE PRESENCE

INTERVIEW | SQUARESPACE’S CMO ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING ONLINE PRESENCE

The future of fashion might be smart textiles or shopping just by thinking about a product but some of the most pressing conversations of the present are still: Can fashion brands nail it online? For an industry that’s always obsessed with the new and the next, it is shocking that news about Chanel opening an ecommerce store make headlines. Establishing an online presence shouldn’t be daunting. At least not in this day and age. To help demystify some of the worries around this as well as the benefits that come with an ‘always on’ web portal, we recently spoke to Kinjil Mathur, CMO of website building company Squarespace. As the Chief Marketing Officer of Squarespace, Kinjil leads the company’s world-class marketing team. Before her time with the company, Kinjil spent years building technology competencies for retail giants, most notably as Vice President of Digital Marketing for Saks Fifth Avenue. Here she shares tips on building an impactful web presence, hints on trends in the ecommerce space and highlights some of Squarespace’s star fashion clients. You have a lot of experience in luxury fashion and e-commerce. How can fashion brands’ online presence deliver the higher personal experience of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store? A lot of what is interesting about fashion is the story behind the brand. One of our fashion fashion customers here in the UK is a designer called Sadie Williams. If you get to look to her products in store you wouldn’t appreciate the story behind it as much. Online allows her to have that deep interaction with the customers and fully tell her story. So, as...
INTERVIEW | LYST’S JENNY COSSONS ON HOW TO MAKE IT IN FASHION

INTERVIEW | LYST’S JENNY COSSONS ON HOW TO MAKE IT IN FASHION

From Head of Client Sales at Conde Nast to Chief Partnerships Officer at global fashion search platform Lyst, Jenny Cossons has over 20 years of experience in the fashion and digital industries. Looking fabulous in a 3.1 Phillip Lim dress and Saint Laurent platforms we’re not surprised to hear that Jenny is passionate about fashion and the empowering qualities she believes it can bring to an individual. We sit down with Jenny to talk fashion and tech, from the changing landscape of luxury fashion to the values she looks for in new hires and advice she has for women in the industry. You’ve worked in the fashion space for over twenty years now. How have you seen it change over time? The greatest change I’ve seen has been in the last five years, particularly within luxury fashion. Outside influences have forced change – the rapid growth of businesses like Amazon, Net-a-Porter and the development of the smartphone have fundamentally changed how everyone looks at retail. Previously it was a foregone conclusion that a consumer would come into store, there wasn’t such a focus on what they needed, now brands have to really listen to the customer and their demands. Amazon has also been key in shaking up the industry. If a company doesn’t do same day, or next day delivery, customers now think they’re crazy. Prime is being used as a verb! I like how I now work for a company where transparency to the customer is key – the main role of Lyst is to deliver from want to wear – helping them find exactly what they’re after....
INTERVIEW | JONATHAN RAYSON

INTERVIEW | JONATHAN RAYSON

Designer Jonathan Rayson is a mix. A mix reflecting different countries, industries and crafts. He spent his formative years living, studying and working over three continents (Europe/North America/South-East Asia), where he followed music as his first passion until becoming ‘disillusioned and depressed with it [music]. Since I enjoyed working with my hands and knew of the financial rewards which would follow it, I took on a working apprenticeship in mechanical engineering with a large company in the oil and gas sector.’ Quite the jump, you might think, but Rayson says he looks at this as one of the founding developments for where he is today. After five years in mechanical engineering and upon meeting a future business partner Rayson had launched his own US based denim brand within a year and with no vocational background in fashion. ‘At the very beginning I was practically self-taught, but I had a fervent passion to learn.’ Shortly after he enrolled into a local fashion tech school, which set him up in good stead for where the designer is today. This year, Rayson graduated from the prestigious Central St Martin’s. As he sets sights on launching his own brand and design studio, we caught up with Jonathan to talk more about the unlikely but surprisingly pleasing merge or engineering, fashion and design. What’s keeping you busy right now? I’m currently working on my first ready to wear collection, along with a small range of specialty made to order “demi-couture” pieces. I anticipate that these will be available and in stores early next year, assuming all goes smoothly. Essentially this will be my core...
INTERIVEW | JOANNA DAI, DAI WEAR FOUNDER

INTERIVEW | JOANNA DAI, DAI WEAR FOUNDER

‘We were born out of a love for style and a need for function, a call for quality and an understanding for value,’ reads Dai Wear’s website. ‘We are fast-moving and forward-thinking, and we want to be empowered by ease and authenticity.’ It might sound like quite an ambitious goal for a brand that’s just launched but, glance over its website and you’ll see the startup wants to put its money where its mouth is. Dai Wear, launched in late July 2017, creates clothes for the professional working woman by combining performance fabrics, elegant tailoring and honest premium quality. By selling directly to consumers, the brand is able to maintain designer quality at contemporary price points, with pieces ranging from $175 to $475. Many of the pieces also are constructed with Italian sourced and patented Sensitive® Fabrics, and raw materials are Oeko-Tex® and/or REACH certified wherever possible. Beyond technical-meets-tailoring pieces, Dai advocates for sustainability and social impact. “Beyond just products, I had the vision of a brand that served as a community for women and a platform for more consciously sustainable practices,” says Joanna Dai, founder and creative director of the brand. Dai Wear has partnered with Dress for Success Greater London, a chapter of the global non-profit organisation that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools. A portion of net proceeds from Dai sales will be donated to Dress for Success Greater London. With all founding elements in place and a successful launch, we caught up with Joanna to hear more about why she started the brand,...
INTERVIEW: BUSHRA BURGE CREATES INTERACTIVE FLORAL DRESS

INTERVIEW: BUSHRA BURGE CREATES INTERACTIVE FLORAL DRESS

Chelsea Flower Show is getting a fashion tech update this year. In celebration of this year’s blooming extravaganza, high-end boutique Leggera Nell’Aria has worked with creative designers Bushra Burge and Milan Prucha for an interactive flower dress. The piece, called Xpollination, wants to measure the mood of the area. To do this, people are encouraged to tweet @KingsRoadLdn with one of the following: #mod, #punk, #sloane & #Xpollination or, alternatively, tweet a selfie in the genre (mod/punk/slone). They then get a unique flower with matching colours tweeted back, which also appears on the dress in the boutique. The dress will be on display until 4th June. As the weeks progress Xpollination will become interactive and all those tweeting to King’s Road will be able to see their unique flower on the garment. We caught up with Bushra to tell us more about her latest creation. Why did you create the Xpollination dress? To highlight the cross pollination of iconic styles that the King’s Road has established a world class reputation for. We wanted to create a luxe-craft dress which uses European made fabrics using hand painted flowers to really mix the tangibles with the digital. The dress in itself is flower like. How does the technology work? The technology used is Unity to create the interactive animation and searches twitter for the hashtags. It manipulates a repository of flowers I have created to create unique flowers but the animation recycles through How long will it take from the time someone tweets to the time when they see their flower design added to the dress? The flower should take an...