Jessica Leclercq, a student who is graduating this year from studying a BA (Hons) in Fashion Journalism, who's work will be at the #LCFBA16, took time out of her schedule to meet Tsun Cheung Lai. A London-based, emerging menswear designer who graduates from the BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring course at the prestigious London College of Fashion (LCF) this summer.
The designer has recently been selected to showcase his work at the LCFBA16 Catwalk show, taking place on Monday 6 th June. The show - styled and directed by LCF’s Creative Director Rob Phillips - will feature fifteen diverse and innovative collections from students across womenswear, menswear, sportswear, contour, accessories and jewellery, celebrating the breadth of talent from the LCF class of 2016.
The catwalk show, which will be live streamed here is the opener to the #LCFBA16 season; and is followed by a curated exhibition of work from all graduating courses which will be open to the public the following day until Thursday 9 June.
Tsun’s work is refined, subtle and explores a new type of masculinity through tailoring and the use of unexpected, sustainable materials. His favourite piece from his graduate collection is a structured but light suit jacket accessorised with large white and fawn suspenders which uses materials of ripstop (usually reserved for use in kites for kitesurfing), and recycled linen.
NowUnknown chats tailoring, inspiration and fast fashion with Tsun Cheung Lai:
Nkn: Where are you from?
Tsun: I am from Hong Kong.
Nkn: Why did you choose to study bespoke tailoring?
Tsun: I wanted to learn more about tailoring in order to create my own designs and develop new and existing techniques.
Nkn: What do you like the most about bespoke tailoring?
Tsun: The craftsmanship and the history.
Nkn: With what materials do you like to work with?
Tsun: I used ripstop from China. Part of my project research was about applying sails and kites construction techniques to strengthen and replace traditional tailoring methods. I used untraditional fabrics to construct a tailored jacket using old methods. I also used recycled linen and recycled sails as I’m interested in sustainable materials.
Nkn: What are your main inspirations when you design?
Tsun: I draw on previous experiences I’ve had for inspiration.
Nkn: Why is it important to sustain bespoke in a world where fast fashion is extremely popular?
Tsun: Bespoke is about the process of getting the product you want. I am interested in bespoke techniques as, to me, what matters is the quality, care and thought process of the product.
Nkn: What are your thoughts on fast fashion?
Tsun: My only comment is, do we really need that many clothes?!
Nkn: Why choose bespoke tailoring over fast fashion?
Tsun: Bespoke uses techniques that garment makers have been working with for over a century. I wanted to learn this craftsmanship, rather than just cheaply made, disposable fashion items.
Nkn: Who are your favourite designers?
Tsun: Raf Simons and Martin Margiela are my two favourite designers.
Nkn: Tell me a little more about your graduate collection.
Tsun: My work is a mixture of traditional tailoring and contemporary menswear. I wanted to challenge the traditional concept of bespoke tailoring by exploring new and surprising techniques and by using untraditional fabric. I also used sail making techniques in my work.
Nkn: How do you want customers to feel when wearing your designs?
Tsun: Interested and thoughtful.
Nkn: What are you working on at the moment?
Tsun: I’m currently working on the #LCFBA16 press show. When I learned I had been selected for the LCFBA16 show I was so excited and I was so thrilled to imagine my designs showcased alongside my fellow talented students!
Nkn: Where would you want to be in 5 years?
Tsun: I would like to start my own label in the next 5 years, if everything goes well!
Design Credit: Tsun Cheung Lai, BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring; Caroline Klemp, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation; Joseph Mangan, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags and Accessories: Product Design and Innovation
Photographer: James Rees
Creative Direction: Rob Phillips
Hair: Ezana Ové
Beauty: Kirsty Gaston