A Fashion Scout blog exclusive - we chat to newly announced Merit Award Winner for A/W13, Yifang Wan. Yifang will be joining the names of Felder Felder, William Tempest, David Koma and Hermione de Paula as Fashion Scout's acclaimed Merit Award Winners. Yifang Wan will be showcasing her A/W13 collection at Fashion Scout's home of new talent London Fashion Week home, Freemason's Hall - both on the catwalk and as part of our Exhibition Space.
Congratulations Yifang - how are you feeling ahead of the next collection now that you have the support of the 'Merit Award' in place? Is there an added sense of pressure knowing all eyes are on you, or are you looking forward to getting preparations for Autumn/Winter '13 underway?
It is such an honour to be recognised by Fashion Scout’s panel of experts as the prestigious Merit Award winner for the Autumn/Winter 2013-14 seasons. To be ranked alongside previous winners, any young designer like me would feel added pressure! But I always enjoy a good challenge. I have been working hard on my upcoming collection, and I hope you guys would love them as much as my ones so far.
Prior to your MA collection earlier this year (in reference to the work you produced for your 2010 BA), your work was comparatively pared down with a palette of duskier pinks and neutrals, and a silhouette dictated by the folds and fall of draped silks. Talk us through the developments that led to the unified duotone, linear cut, and accentuating blocks of Autumn/Winter '12, and Spring/Summer '13.
The starting point for my Autumn/Winter 12 and Spring/Summer 13 collections was optical illusion. At that time I was looking at 60’s minimal art and sculpture, and got excited about the scales, materials and geometric patterns involved. I started to experiment with different cutting.
I always see fashion as a soft sculpture form and I have been challenging myself to combine both soft and hard sculptures together. That is why I’ve introduced the solid belt. Considering the softness of the human body and the structure of the skeleton, belts can be made to twist and sit perfectly on the waist, hip and neck.
Can you hint at whether the contrast we've seen between the softness suggested by the movement and feel of your fabrics, and the solidity of the blocked belts, and geometric necklines will continue into your Autumn/ Winter '13 Merit Award collection?
I am excited to say that the design of my Autumn/Winter 13 Merit Award collection is based on a brand new concept. However, I see myself as a designer who cares a lot about shapes and structures, you will still get a feel of simple, clean, minimalist and the contrast from my previous collections with new elements added to it.
And finally, what- if any- are your expectations of the future with the springboard that the Merit Award provides?
Winning the prestigious award was a very encouraging achievement, especially as it has been a tough journey to get there. I now have a huge confidence boost to continue to innovate and push myself to the forefront of the fashion industry. The sky’s the limit!
Sara McAlpine (@sara_mcalpine) Images by Asia Werbel