Surrealist fashion designer Yang Du’s studio is a study in the joyful, graphic design that has seen her hailed as one of the most exciting emerging designers in London and won her the NEWGEN award. Now she is set to design an exclusive online collection for JOYCE.
As Yang shows JOYCE around her colourful studio, she reminisces about where her passion for designing began, “As a little girl I loved beautiful clothes and my mum used to make me clothes,” she smiles. “She learned pattern-cutting, she really wanted to be a fashion designer but there wasn’t a chance.” So was it a desire for bigger opportunities that inspired her to relocate to London? Yang muses, “You have Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and all the people who work so well with the Chinese element and doing something really quite amazing. And Galliano went to Central St Martins, it was the best decision I made.”
Her energetic aesthetic focuses on cartoon animals and is reflected in the kitsch figures and toys she is surrounded by. “I guess as a designer in the process of learning it’s really about understanding yourself and the things you make and what inspires you is what you like basically, so I just happened to love this stuff and never grew up I suppose,” she says.
She gestures to a bright green mini-dress emblazoned with a black and white panda and expands on her vision, “For me, this is very graphic rather than cartoony” and goes on to explain that she is trying to “capture the character of the images”. She smiles apologetically and continues, “I tell everybody that the animal is a representation of a human in terms of character, so each collection has always had a story, each animal represents something I want to say rather than just purely a pig or a monkey.”
Talking about her upcoming collaboration she smiles excitedly, “It was really nice because you can tell JOYCE really love my work and are really passionate about it and understand where I come from with my designs.
“This will be my third season working with JOYCE exclusively in Hong Kong. When they first approached me, it was just unbelievable. I’ve always known of JOYCE because I’m Chinese and so it was amazing to have that support. The whole process wasn’t easy, being alone in this country, so this was life changing. It really means a lot to me to be able to carry on this project.”