Oftentimes beauty can be found in the simplest of things, like a small fold in an entirely smooth surface, or in the subtlety of white snow contaminated by black sand. Taiwanese Graduate Diploma in Fashion student Yun-Pai Liu found a challenge in life’s small things, and realised that through experimenting she could create a deeper surface. She reflects on her year spent between Iceland and the Central Saint Martins studios.
Can you point out one good and one bad memory of this year spent at Central Saint Martins?
Actually all of my memories about Central Saint Martins life are good! CSM is so energetic and really creative. The environment is really different than the school in my hometown.
What was the main inspiration for your collection?
My collection is about an inspiring trip I made to Iceland last winter. I took a lot of pictures of the special Nordic environment, and those photos became my main concept for the collection. I wanted to express that sometimes the simplest things can impress and touch people more than complicated things. I chose one picture of that trip which inspired me a lot: it’s snow contaminated by black sand. When I first walked on the street in Iceland I was so impressed by the pure white snow in contrast with the black sand. This image caught my eye quickly and I started thinking about using it to create a collection one day.
Did your vision or way of working change in the last year?
At CSM I started doing something challenging and time consuming, even when we were in a rush and had limited time I would still try to do a lot of experimental tests.
“Usually the fabric will “tell” me a lot.”
What does the future hold?
I applied for the MA Fashion course at CSM but I’m still waiting for the result, and I am looking for an internship for this summer. I really want to keep working in London’s fashion industry.
What makes your work stand out?
My dedication to the fabric. I usually start thinking about making unique and delicate textiles, and then I bring those ideas into my designs — if I create a successful textile, then the outcome of the garment will be amazing too. Usually the fabric will “tell” me a lot, and that’s why I put a lot of effort in it in the beginning.
What is your favourite part of the designing process?
Creating my own textiles is my favorite part. I am really satisfied with my collection’s outcome. I made this textile from the picture I took in Iceland, and I realized that silicone was the best choice to express my feeling about the Nordic environment and spirit. The sewing was very difficult as I also added stones into the silicone: I have to thank the machinist with 25 years of experience who helped me with that!
Words and photography by Carolina Molossi