THE GRADUATE: WAI YANG
By Jenny Brownlees, Dec 6 2016 08:32PM
Wai Yang is a contemporary ready-to-wear label with a minimalist, modern and timeless aesthetic. It places great emphasis on fabric quality; each of the pieces are carefully hand crafted, screen printed and tailored to an impecable standard. Yang creates clean and minimal silhouettes that highlight the quality and uniqueness of textile.
Hi Wai! I wondered if you could tell us about yourself…
I’m Wai Yang, I am originally from Myanmar but am currently based in Singapore. I studied fashion design at Raffles Institute in Singapore. After that I went to London to study for a BA Fashion Textiles at London College of Fashion. After obtaining my degree I came back to Singapore and set up my label, WAI YANG.
What is your favourite source of inspiration as a designer?
I love looking to my surrounding for inspiration. I visit museums and take photographs to capture exhibitions that inspire me. When I was at University in London I frequently visited the Tate Modern.
When did the first idea for this collection come about?
For my FW16 collection the idea came from my personal mood and emotion at that time. As a graduate struggling to start a fashion label slone, I felt lonely and helpless. That was when I felt the most vulnerable I had in my entire life. I saw a piece of art by Lucio Fontana in the Tate Modern and I was able to connect with it. I translated that emotional connection into my designs.
Tell me about your research and how that developed into what we see now...
I always like to begin with mark making and drawing, developing that into a printed pattern. I also make a mood and colour board before I begin designing garments.
At university we learnt basic screen printing, knitting and embroidery skills. After that you are left alone to develop and innovate those techniques.
What did you want to convey through the collection?
Story and emotion.
Which designers inspire you?
Faustine Steinmez, she is such a talented and conceptual artisanal designer, I learnt a lot from her while I was interning for the label a few years back.
How did you choose your final fabrics and why?
My initial fabric choice always changes during the design process. I see where the flow of the collection is leading and remove or alter fabric along the way.
Silhouette wise what did you envision for the collection?
I wanted a boxy and oversize and structured silhouette.
Who do you envision wearing the Wai Yang brand?
Anyone who wants quality rather than quantity. Someone who truly appreciates a traditional craft and focus on details.
Do you enjoy designing or making the garments more, or both? Was it easy or challenging to make your designs come to life?
I enjoy the latter, but making the garments is crucial to see my designs come to life. It’s challenging yet enjoyable. My collection is a reflection of my true-self and I will only design clothes that I would want to wear.
Is it hard to find the line between innovative design and wear-ability?
Yes! Finding the balance between the two extremities is no doubt difficult.
What’s next for you and the label?
For my next collection, I will be collaborating with Epson Singapore. I will be using an Epson dye sublimation machine for all the prints. Looking to the future, I want to continue designing for my own brand, but I’m also exploring various means to sustain the label as well. My dream is for more people to know about my work and to make Wai Yang sustainable.
Follow Wai on Instagram here
All images: Copyright Wai Yang