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Talent Watch: I.T x Tsinghua University Fashion Design Award

I.T, izzue, Tsinghua University, Fashion, Design, Award, Competition, Hong Kong, China, Ximon Lee, Liu Yang

Ximon Lee’s winning design

While the West boasts countless of awards to support and nurture young designers, Asia has been slow to catch on. Hong Kong based retailer I.T is hoping to change that with its latest initiative which sees its in-house brand Izzue partner with Beijing’s Tsinghua University for a new design award.

Part of the retailer’s 25th anniversary celebrations, the  competition was open to students from four of the world’s most renowned fashion schools including Tsinghua University, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Parsons The New School for Design and London College of Fashion. Students were given a theme (Environmental Awareness) and asked to create a design using old materials from Izzue’s archives.

I had the opportunity to interview two of the winners, both Chinese designers, who are talented and passionate about what they do. No doubt they will be ones to watch in the future.

Ximon Lee, Parsons New School of Design
The Best Design Award Winner

Why did you want to be a fashion designer?

A fashion designer is like a cook. All human beings need good food to make them happy and satisfied; fashion is the same.  The most amazing thing about fashion design is that you can always push boundaries and create new ways to dress people. At the same time, fashion design is also a process of reinvention. Fashion designers get to review the past and relate it to the present.

What type of fashion do you want to create?

I want to create a lifestyle. My target consumers are young freelancers who are working in different artistic fields. I feel like this group of young people are growing year by year and their need for fashion is huge. My ideal brand is not just a fashion house that carries clothes but a brand that runs cafes, restaurants, book stores and clubs where different ideas comes together.

Tell us about your creation for the Izzue x Tsinghua project?

I took three jackets, turned them inside out and upside down, then sewed them together.  Usually I buy a jacket and forget about it a few weeks later. It was interesting to transform it into something new.

What inspires you?

I’m usually inspired by people rather than objects or historic periods. I can easily spend an afternoon people watching and creating my own version of their life stories. These narrations can be my next inspiration. I think it’s good to be inspired by moving bodies and how garments interact with those bodies. At the end of day, good designs look flawless on bodies.

Does your Chinese background inspire your work?

It’s important for designers to know their roots and as a Chinese-born Korean, I’m inspired by the clash of two cultures. I’m very logical when it comes to design and this is a quality found in Asian designers.

Right now China is churning out some amazing design talents. What gives them an edge?

As a developing country and new fashion market, emerging Chinese designers are more open to new ideas and eager to try new things in fashion.

The future of fashion is…

The return of balance between human creations and nature.

I.T, izzue, Tsinghua University, Fashion, Design, Award, Competition, Hong Kong, China, Ximon Lee, Liu Yang

Designs by Liu Yang (left) and Ximon Lee (right)

Liu Yang, Academy of Art & Design Tsinghua University
The People’s Prize Winner

Why did you want to be a fashion designer?

There are many types of designers but each of them tries to make people’s lives better. To me, the work of a fashion designer is to express art on people through clothing. I love changing someone from the outside to inside.

What type of fashion do you want to create?

Fashion which is dirty, pathological, Asian and creepy.

What was the inspiration behind your creation for the Izzue xTsinghua project?

It was inspired by the word “old.” Everyone has at least one or two pairs of old jeans at home. So I took a pair, tore it apart and remade it into a coat.

Why do you think Chinese designers are now in the fashion spotlight?

China has a long history of traditional crafts. The developing economy and the arrival of the Information Era has provided chances to young designers. I believe that in the near future many Chinese designers will reveal their outstanding talents on a global fashion stage and start to play a pivotal role. It’s inevitable.

The future of fashion is…


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