Kira Kolosova meet up with London College of Fashion graduate Wei-Yao Lin is presenting his final year collection at the university’s BA16 Catwalk. Originally from Taiwan, 27 years old Wei-Yao moved to London on a whim to pursue his passion for menswear design and never looked back. In this interview, the designer talks about the inspiration behind his collection as well as how London changed his life.
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.
Nkn: How did you get into menswear design?
Wei-Yao: I have always had a profound interest in menswear design since I was about 15. And as I got older, having fulfilled my various commitments to my family, and my country (mandatory national service), I decided to take a leap of faith, and pursue this passion of mine.
Nkn: Have you always wanted to be a designer?
Wei-Yao: I never really saw myself as a designer. I’ve always thought it was more relevant to be a creative, in all senses.
Nkn: Why did you decide to study menswear design in London?
Wei-Yao: London is a city that is so rich in culture and creativity. Even after 4 years here, I am still inspired on a daily basis, be it that little pixel tile on the side of the wall, or the eccentric old couple who lives down the road from the campus, always decked out in bright neon matching outfits. I also feel like the potential of the fashion scene in London is quite largely untapped. Especially in the field of menswear, I feel like there are endless possibilities. It is a great discovery plane to find one’s personal style.
Nkn: What is the inspiration behind your graduate collection?
Wei-Yao: My graduate collection, in essence, is a tribute to all my years in London. A large part of my formative years in life is spent alone in London. This life has changed my outlook on life greatly, and made me into the independent person that I am today. My collection epitomizes my outlook on life. I’ve always lived life on the edge of that fine line, treading between the familiar and the unknown. And this collection creates such a playful juxtaposition in every sense. In a more tongue-in-cheek spirit, the collection was also largely inspired by the ‘takeaway’ life of the fast-paced society in the heart of London. It’s rather amusing to see all those cute guys, trudging along London with that huge Deliveroo box behind their backs don’t you think?
Nkn: What would you say is your style signature?
Wei-Yao: I would definitely describe my design aesthetic as contemporary menswear, with a pinch of playfulness, and a large serving on functionality.
Nkn: How would you describe a man wearing your clothes?
Wei-Yao: A man who doesn’t take fashion too seriously, but appreciate a great piece of clothing.
Nkn: What are you most proud of in your career so far?
Wei-Yao: I feel that getting into the LCF catwalk show was a great validation for me, and it definitely boosted my confidence and inspired me to push myself further, and do better.
Nkn: What was the most challenging part of creating your own collection?
Wei-Yao: To be able to create perfectly functional clothing, without any compromise on the designs.
Nkn: What was the most rewarding part of creating your own collection?
Wei-Yao: I definitely shed a tear or 2 on the very last day, to be able to see the entire collection come together seamlessly. That was a very moving day for me.
Nkn: Which designers do you look up to?
Wei-Yao: I must say I have a special place in my heart for the amazing Thom Browne.
Nkn: How do you see your own style and your career developing in the future?
Design Credit: Wei Yao Lin, BA Fashion Design Technology: Menswear and Cheng Qian, BA Fashion Textiles
Photographer: James Rees
Creative Direction: Rob Phillips
Hair: Ezana Ové
Beauty: Kirsty Gaston
Watch out Wei-Yao Lin’ as well as other London College of Fashion’s leading graduates’ collections at BA16: Fashion Future’s exhibition from 6-9 June.
Interview by Kira Kolosova.