Samuel Guì Yang graduated from the MA Womenswear course at Central Saint Martins in 2015, and started his own brand shortly after. From the beginning, his goal was to develop his business on his own terms. Rather than hop on the Fashion Week hamster wheel and join what he considers an “extremely saturated” industry, the Shenzhen-born designer decided on a slower approach. For the first two seasons, he even refused to sell his collections to buyers so that he could perfect the logistics and infrastructure of his brand before entering the market. Now, Samuel and his partner Erik Litzen — who joined the brand in 2017, fresh from Acne Studios and JW Anderson — are continuing that ethos. Rather than runway shows, the pair prefer intimate showroom presentations or immersive destinations (recent locations include Iceland and Los Angeles).
Samuel’s modern take on traditional Chinese folk dress, which he combines with figure-hugging Western tailoring, has granted him many fans in the growing Shanghai fashion scene. He presented his SS20 collection during Shanghai Fashion Week, with the support of emerging talent platform Labelhood, and his clothes are stocked in multiple influential shops across the city. AW20 continued to merge Eastern and Western influences in ‘Spellbound’, a collection inspired by Tsai Chin. A daughter of the famous Peking Opera star Zhou Xinfang, Tsai Chin left Shanghai in 1950, becoming the first Chinese student at London’s prestigious RADA acting school and the first Bond girl of Asian origin. Earlier this month, the brand was shortlisted for the 2020 LVMH prize, alongside Area, Ahluwalia and Peter Do.