Fashion designer HARRY XU is another great example of a creative force coming from the halls of Central Saint Martins, his collections captured the interest of press and buyers both in UK as well as internationally. For the new issue of MMSCENE he sits down for an interview with our Editor In Chief ZARKO DAVINIC to talk about the first clothing piece he designed, staying relevant and the Autumn Winter 2017 season.
How did you first get interested in fashion?
I first got interested in fashion during my A levels and I as a result applied for Central Saint Martins. The curiosity of the fashion course at CSM excited me, so that I wanted to take the challenge in fashion.
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How would you describe your design aesthetic?
There is always a certain strong masculinity exudes from HARRY XU’s cut. The touch of femininity and romance, as a dedication to the vulnerability hidden in every man’s past and softness owned by individuals to create a natural, diversified and innate elegance. The attention to colours, shapes, details embellishments, materials and fabrics are integrated and a testament to Harry Xu’s emphasis on real craftsmanship.
What was the first piece of clothing you’ve ever designed?
I started to study art since I was a child. I enjoyed sketching and designing for myself. I remember the first design I did was during a school play when I had to design myself some armour to wear on stage.
How do you stay relevant when designing your collections?
Art and photography are always the key inspirations to my work. They help me with strong concept development. I also pay attention to my surroundings, nature and people. When looking at details, ideas always pop up.
What are your favorite materials and colors to work with?
Right now for the SS18 collection that I am working with, my favourite materials are the sheer, transparent silk and coated reflective colours. However I always keep my mind open as my favourite materials and colours change every season depending on the theme and concept.
Tell me about your AW17 collection? What are the key pieces?
I was so fascinated by Michal Chelbin’s photography because she not only managed to take good portraits but also she captured the emotions of those prisoners. Those youth prisoners were born in prison and had never been to the outside of the prison. I would love to express their insecurity, fear and vulnerability through garments, more importantly, the hope and curiosity of their future as they finally stepping out of the prison for the first time. I found these prisoners very inspiring as they have the beautiful story behind them. I wanted to create a collection that was emotionally touching with strong and unique identity. From these prisoners, I could see the contrast of protection and romance, a very interesting combination between masculinity and softness. This is something that I would like to interpret through my menswear design. I want it to be strong together with romance.
In regards to key pieces, they Overalls and sheer shirts are key to the collection, as well as the hand embroidered pieces.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
I feel that there is no absolute definition between masculinity and femininity. However I believe in the coexistence of them in both man and woman. Masculinity to me is no longer a definition of certain looks of man, it is more related to manliness and the quality of a man. Being ‘masculine’ means strength and courage, faith and determination. Being ‘feminine’ to me means romance. They are the power in psychology and spirit.
So, do you think there’s a special group of people who buy your clothes?
I think my special group of customers are the one who pursue love and romance. I’d like to think there is no age group for the customers.
What do you think of the fashion system today?
It is always busy and competitive. Designers are more expected to be more multi-skillful than ever. It is changeling as well as exciting at same time.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
The best advice I have ever gotten is : You can only find you way through doing it.
What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
I would like to put a series of collections on through shows and presentations globally. I aim to produce quality design interpreted by HARRY XU style and signature. HARRY XU will gain great reputation on its high end quality and design, as well as wide range of products can be found through various channels and distributions worldwide.