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BehindtheRunway_TheWorldofFashionDesign

By Lori Barnes,2014-10-23 19:13
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BehindtheRunway_TheWorldofFashionDesign

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The Importance of Education

First place winner Sun Xin's design December 2009 China Textile December 2009 China Textile34 34

    (graphic design), and business administration. They work with The competition was as close to reality lecturers and practitioners from abroad who simultaneously a s p o s s i b l e . T h e c r i t e r i a w e u s e t o j u d g e demonstrate and critique. A “hands-on” approach is emphasized. the students are much like the ones we use

    We want them to get in there and handle materials right to judge the other designers showing during away,” says Anthony Bednall, Academic Director and Associate China Fashion Week, explained Bednall, who Professor at RDI Beijing. h a s b e e n a j u d g e f o r C h i n a F a s h i o n We e k

    That concept was what drove Raffles educators to begin for the past five years. He has helped select the Raffles Design Institute Beijing Fashion Show. Hosted every the winners of such awards as Best Fashion year, members of Raffles‟ graduating fashion design class may Designer and Best Womens Wear Design. participate in the event that is at once a traditional fashion show We take into account tailoring techniques, and a competition. The theme for this year was “Diversity.” As use of fabric, types of fabric, cutting, feeling explained in the press release for the show, “diversity is about and creativity. And because fashion is irsft the variety of skills and breadth of knowledge needed to succeed and foremost a business industry, we look at in the fashion industry, diversity is about developing confidence whether or not the designer is working towards and working with different people in different contexts and market level.”

    diversity is about creating new yet commercially viable designs.”

    From a field of 50-some students, 20 were selected to The Fashion Industry in showcase their collections in the show based on the quality China and uniqueness of their work. They had at least six onhs mt“Market level” is defined as a combination to prepare, buying fabric from Muxiyuan Fabric Market and o f h a v i n g u n d e n i a b l e q u a l i t y a s w e l l a s occasionally enlisting the help of professional tailors in the . citybeing commercially accessible. We ask our On November 9, 2009, their finished work strutted down the students, „how do you make [your work] more runway at China Fashion Week to the music of Muse and The commercial? says Fedrick Wong Yoon Sin,

    Ting Tings. Three winners were selected: Ms. Sun Xin, Ms. Fu d i r e c t o r o f t h e f a s h i o n d e s i g n p r o g r a m a t Qi, and Ms. Liu Fen. Raffles. “But we want them to be on the edge

    I wanted to create a collection that highlighted a womans too.”

    beauty and srengh, Sun explained. Drawing inspiration rottfm Its a motto fit for a city like Beijing. Once mythical Chinese creatures like the dragon and the phoenix, she an ancient capital, it is quickly transforming into recreated such details as scales in leather and silk. Theres a a glittering cosmopolitan city, mixing tradition bit of an 80s feel to the collection but at the same time, its very with newfangled ideas.

    timeless.” “I‟ve been here for ten years,” Wong Yoon

    Fus collection was a study on needlework. She hand-knit Sin says. I see how as Beijingand China structural tops in colors like dusky pink and muted cobalt blue, opens up, more information becomes available sending them down the catwalk paired with matching skinny for people to absorb. This is good for young jeans and a black turtleneck. “I wanted my detailed handiwork to designers because now there are so many

     shine.”sources of inspiration for them. Chinas a very

    Black light was the theme of Lius work. Black is very exciting place to be in right now.”mysterious, she says. When you wear black clothing you Elena Ryleeva, a lecturer in fashion design cant see much. But its a staple color for eveningwear and it at Raffles, agrees. She thinks young fashion symbolizes a high-class lifestyle. Hence, Liu used high-quality designers should appreciate the chance to be silks and took ideas from ancient Chinese watercolor paintings to working in China. “Its a paradise for designers make a collection comprised entirely of black pieces. here! She gushes. So many places to draw

    December 2009 China Textile 35

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    ideas and concepts from, so many fabrics, embrace globalization].”

     s o m a n y t a l e n t e d p e o p l e t o a i d y o u i n t h e the He says that in order for Chinese designers to break into process.” European market, they need to do what Rei Kawakubo, Issey

    S a y s h e r c o l l e a g u e Yo k o M o u l i n e t , I n Miyake, and Yohji Yamamoto did in Paris in the 1980s. The China, the scales bigger. Designs are produced Japanese designers collections were very different from the quicker She refers to the ubiquitous stamp on .”rest and people thought it was fantastic. Thats what the Chinese all Chinese exports. “At the end of the day, its need to do. They need to build on traditional Chinese concepts all „Made in China.‟” and make it fresh and innovative. When they do, they will earn

    While Chinese cities have yet to reach the respect for the Chinese fashion industry abroad as well as at status of New York or Milan in being a global home.”

    fashion capital, their profiles are definitely rising

    in the fashion world. Bednall says the countrys The Art of Fashion Design immediate neighborsJapan and Koreaheavily Japanese designers‟ success in the world of haute couture influence the style of Chinas youth. So does the is what most fashion designers aspire to do. Showing in London West, with the United States hip-hop culture and Paris, dressing Hollywood stars for the Oscars, having an and Europes punk rock chic. “Fashion in China internationally recognized namehaute couture is easily the is mixed up and in a sense, its quite healthy. most visible and most well known part of the fashion industry. Young people cant be pigeon-holed into one But as much as Raffles prides itself on instilling in its students style.” “a strong understanding of the fashion industry and how brands

    He owes the eclectic assortment to the work in an international context,” the school warns its students nature of the Chinese fashion industry. The not to singularly strive for designing a “luxury brand.” f a s h i o n i n d u s t r y i s 2 0 y e a r s o l d i n C h i n a . Its imperative that students understand the principles Though its developing at a quick pace, its still behind branding,” says Wong Yoon Sin. You need to distinguish c o m p e t i n g w i t h 1 0 0 y e a r s o f e m p h a s i s o n yourself from others. You need to showcase your individualism e co n om ic g r ow th . A l ot of f a ct or s b es id e s and have a strong personality in order to stand out from everyone mere clothing trends affect fashion.” He refers else on the international stage. But at the same time, we tell our to the changing socioeconomic status of the students to be realistic. You just cant compete on the same level Chinese people. People still buy into luxury as the big designers when you first start. They have resources brands like Louis Vuitton and Prada because a highly skilled craftsmen, lots of manpower, and heavy financial few years ago, designer goods were absolutely backing. Saying you want to do couture is not as easy as drawing unattainable. With Chinas economic boom and a random design and sewing it together from cheap fabric.” the rise of the countrys middle class, many Just trying to succeed as a fashion designer is a monumental now have that kind of spending power .”task in itself. Says Wong Yoon Sin, the fashion industry is far

    W h i l e B e d n a l l i s h a p p y m a n y C h i n e s e from the glamorous affair of everyones imagination. “So many p e o p l e h a v e b e e n l i f t e d o u t o f p o v e r t y, h e people say, „I want to be a designer,‟ but not everyone can. You bemoans its affect on the fashion industry itself. need to be prepared to work really hard and not expect much. What I noticed during China Fashion Week You really have to be good at it because theres no room for you was that many of the designers collections if you arent.”

    were very western-oriented. There wasnt much Sun Xin decided the perils of the fashion industry beat the traditional Chinese style. Its a bit of a shame monotony of computer science any day. I majored in compuer treally if Chinese designers lose sight of what science at the University of New Brunswick [in Canada].I didnt enjoy makes their culture so unique [in their desire to it and couldnt imagine doing it for the rest of my life. When I December 2009 China Textile 36

     graduated, I came back to China and entered Raffles. This is

    yinggai dewhat I was meant to do.”

    Liu Fen attributed it to her genes. Both of her parents are designers and she grew up in an environment that encouraged clothes making for her dolls. Originally she pursued a degree in the sciences but when plans for college fell through, she took her fathers advice and entered design school. “My dad said to follow my passion.”

    Fu Qi did the same. I always loved fashion design, she explains. Looking at clothes, I wanted to know how to ake mthem.” While Fu doesnt have designers for parents like Liu or a traditional Chinese painter for a father like Sun, she says her parents encouraged her artistic endeavor because hey knew if I t

    didnt like something, I wouldnt find happiness or success in it.”

    Fu may not have associated with the fashion industry all her life but according to Wong Yoon Sin, many students come o tRaffles with some type of background in the business. “A lot of our students have parents who own manufacturing factories or are businessmen in the fashion world. Nevertheless, he says the school assumes its incoming students have little knowledge of the actual design process.

    The first year, we start at ground zero with our students, teaching them just the basic stuff like drafting, sewing, and draping. He explains. As they move on to second year, they are given more freedom to explore. More courses are available for study. When they enter their third and final year at Raffles, they are encouraged to let go. There is no limit to their artistic pursuits and they can do anything as long as they explain themselves.”

    So how does a fashion designer go about creating wearable beauty from mere fabric? Second place winner You start with a concept,” says Wong Yoon Sin. “What are Fu Qi's design

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    you trying to achieve? What point are you trying to get across? You need to envision your goal before you start in order to let the inspiration be strong enough to take you wherever. The starting point isnt necessarily the ending point. When you have your goal in mind, you enter the research and development phase.”

    Wong Yoon Sin says research and development is the most important part of the process. When done well, it lays the foundation for which the designer can build on. After drafting many designs and experimenting with several, he or she will make a preliminary collection in order to look at proportions and make any necessary adjustments to the fabric, construction, and so on. When the samples are completed, the design team will make a collective decision about what pieces are to be produced.

    Its a long process, says Wong Yoon Sin. People think fashion design is just drawing, as if clothes will appear by magic. In reality, its a complicated process that requires lots of time and lots of effort.”

    Many designers find the pressure to be unbearable at times. Says Moulinet, Is a struggle inside. Students uninenionally ttthit roadblocks in the process. As a teacher, its my responsibility to push them hrough. She cites one of the students ho twcompeted in the fashion show as an example.

    Hes fantastic at designing conceptual, so-called „crazystuff but he thought he had to conform to this unspoken rule to make something wearable and „real. In the end though, he found a balance between the two. It was so memorable for us to finally see him accept that its okay to differentiate yourself from others.”

    In the end, what distinguishes a designer from a mere student is confidence. We dont want students to continuously ask us questions, says Wong Yoon Sin. They need to know what they want and should do. That s the ultimate exit point: to

    Third place winner Liu know what to do by themselves.” Fen's design

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