Twin Talks: Robert Wun – the Designer sculpting the silhouettes for the power women of tomorrow

29.05.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

There are many up and coming young fashion brands out there who are still in the process of navigating to find their brand voices within the industry. Some have found solace in RTW, others in menswear , streetwear etc. London based Designer Robert Wun, has already made himself into somewhat of a prodigy, having found his design knack for futuristic silhouettes and natural forms.

The LCF graduate who launched his namesake brand in 2013, offers a very fresh approach to the genre of womenswear by sculpting each piece with intention and attention to detail, using bold cuts and strong shapes to contrast with bright colours as a statement of feminine power. Each of his pieces hold a story, not just as an entire look, but rather every shoe, every hat , every blouse, razor cut skirt, every double stitch, all separately tell tales of a mystical futuristic world that leaves its audience so desperately yearning for more. His collections are a sight for sore eyes that makes one seriously lust and ponder over his vast creative capacity. Twin recently caught up with the man behind the grand desirable sculptures to discuss his process, SS20 collection and quarantine routines. 

What was the inspiration behind your SS20 collection?  Does the collection have a title ? 

The SS20 collection is named “ Orchid Mantis “

I continue to draw inspiration from the infamous female warrior Mulan, which I first introduced in the SS19 collection, the collection pays homage to the full spectrum of qualities celebrated about this legendary character who has paved the way for feminists of the modern day. Hua Mulan, her name 花木蘭 meaning flower, wood and orchid.

I decided to further explore the potential of the orchid as an inspiration in the SS20 collection, studying one of my favourite animals , the Orchid Mantis’ on  it forms its shape . a beautiful yet deadly camouflage. I have transformed that petal shape throughout the collection with a technique which allows the seams to reverse and extend out as the shape of flower petals, which is one of the main highlights of the collection.

What’s your design process like ? 

I normally will start with an image or a sketch of rough visuals from my mind, then illustrate the garments to be able to move forward technically, it always starts with the idea into one garment first.

Then afterwards it’s just hours and hours of placing different fabrics and swatches next to that illustration until I feel right. Pushing the range and transforming that first design into a full range of garments and into different looks. Lastly would be the execution in pattern, testing of fabrication and techniques. Once that first piece is physically done, I will get a clearer picture for the rest of the collection.

Your futuristic approach to silhouettes is really quite interesting , what is it that influences this ? Do you have a knack for architecture ?

I am actually more inspired by nature versus artificial architecture, at the end nature is somewhat of an architect too! 

My admiration towards nature will always be the core of my creative process, and I always believe nothing can be more original and timeless when it’s inspired by something so real and far from artificial, and nature offers a kind of beauty that humbles and motivates you, and something as raw and genuine as nature, everyone could interpret it differently.

Do you imagine that this type of eccentric silhouette is where womenswear will be heading in the future?

I like to believe the future of womenswear is a celebration of individuality, where designers can be celebrated by doing what they want and who they are and what they do best. I am always inspired by unapologetic individuals who embrace femininity in a bold and provocative way, never thought of on a mass market scale or creating an influential trend, just trying to pursue what I love and grateful for the audiences, no matter the size who supports it.

What’s your favourite fabric to work with ?

Not any in particular, as different fabrics and materials serve for different ideas and effects so it depends on the design. Although a good sturdy bonded fabric, or crease proof materials are something I always work with, as I tend to create things with a futuristic touch on finishing and sculpted silhouettes.

What’s been the most difficult part of your journey as a young designer? 

I was not fully aware of the business side of fashion at all when I first started, which makes pricing and the production side difficult to navigate, also completely oblivious to the marketing and sales side of the industry. 

Through time I have started to understand the need to learn it as a business, and the importance of asking for help and advice. I eventually got an investor two months after the Joyce launch of my graduate collection,  who helped me set up a proper business support, since then I have learned from every season as I carry on, 4 years ago I decided to become independent to look for better future partners to take this to the new level.

What’s been the most gratifying experience as a young designer?

To be able to have 100% creative control and being afforded the freedom to make mistakes. Also being able to define your own equation to navigate through the industry! I didn’t get a lot of sponsorships or awards as most emerging brands got when they first started, and those titles had become an essential to show the industry you are promising and have an “authorised” future. 

I learned that it is ok to not have a sponsored show and to carry on after being told no, and I’ve also learnt not to invest in expensive showcases which you can’t afford, but just focus on good work and good photography and let them speak for themselves, and I have been doing that ever since. Something we can easily forget as designers nowadays, is to just focus on delivering good designs and well made garments and let them speak for themselves.

I am quite grateful now when I look back that I didn’t get these opportunities, from my graduation to many programs that I also didn’t get selected at the beginning of my career, as they made me more focused on pushing creatively as a designer, and more ready as a business person too on building a solid foundation for longevity.

If you had to choose a woman in the public eye or a movie character who embodies the Robert Wun aesthetic , who would it be ?  

Dream character would be a sci-fiction character by the Wachowskis siblings or Ridley Scott, as Trinity from the matrix and Ripley from Aliens are some characters that have inspired me deeply. Or even if there was a modern day or futuristic interpretation of Mulan that would be great to design for!

I’d also love to dress a Bae Donna, Bjork, Lizzo, Yalitza Aparicio, Kelly Marie Tran, Noomi Rapace, Tilda Swinton, Rooney Mara and Rihanna etc in the future. Women who are authentic and shaping the future.

If you use a movie, a song, or a poem to define your work , what would it be ?

A movie would be Princess Mononoke by Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki

A song would be Taro by Alt J

How’ve you been handling the quarantine? 

Keep sketching and draping and watching movies! It’s hard to stop even at home, especially considering that most business errands have to be put aside now, focusing on the positive note as it could be a brand new start for the SS21 collection in September, with hope that the pandemic will have passed by then.

Is there anything you’re hoping will change in the fashion system post COVID-19?  

Buying better on the consumer side and for the industry to put less pressure on creatives and allow them to design less product orientated collections. Which ultimately means what everyone’s been talking about; slowing down and having less collections=less waste and healthier mentality for the industry.

How / Where can one purchase/order your pieces ?

We will have a brand new distribution of stockists at the end of this year starting from SS21 collection.

Currently you can order directly from us [email protected] and the E-commerce will be live later this year as well on www.robertwun.com

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Art meets Fashion: A Chat with Designer Pauline De Blonay

10.09.2019 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Images shot by Pablo di Prima

Young designers merging the borders between art and fashion are rare birds waiting to be found and are indeed not easy to find. 

Pauline De Blonay, a recent runner up of the prestigious L’Oreal Pro Young Talent Award, and a Central Saint Martins graduate, seems to be one of them. The Swiss-born designer had been dreaming of going to London’s infamous hub of creativity since the age of fourteen years old, yet her way into fashion wasn’t a regular one, like you would expect. 

“Initially I thought I would study Fine Art and started by doing a foundation year in Jewellery design, however when I realized that I wanted to work on a bigger scale and to combine fashion, fine art and jewellery, I applied for the BA in Fashion Design in order to work this way,” she says. 

Art had and has been influencing her work since she was a little kid, paintings in particular, as her art tutor would make her and her peers replicate paintings that they loved, and hers included a lot of harlequins from Picasso and some dreamy spaces and characters from Edward Hopper. With time she kept on being inspired by painters, such as Modigliani and Egon Schiele. 

This multi-faceted approach towards visual thinking is what intrigued her and pushed her towards working with different combinations of various different techniques and materials, from jewellery to painting. 

“It was important to me to combine every skill or knowledge I possess in order to realize the looks I design,” she says. “It was essential for me to be in control of every detail of the collection I wanted to create, such as the metalwork, which took me a while to figure out my own way of casting metal in my own flat, the prints for the garments and accessories, the shoes, the make up, etc,”

And indeed it is polyhedric approach of hers to design which makes her clothing so intriguing and interesting. 

Her first collection, showcased during Central Saint Martin’s final year fashion show, was an exploration of her identity and the notions of masculine and feminine. She wanted to create a duel between masculine and feminine images and merge them together. A suit and a cast of her breasts, feathers locked in metal, dresses that you can mould that look powerful and strong but which are fragile at the same time because you can change their shape. In addition to that she created many portraits of the people who surround her and included them as patterns to some of her dresses. 

“My idea was that I was extending myself onto other people’s body by giving them casted parts of my body in metal and all these drawing of people that are important for me are represented too. They are an important part of my identity,” she explains. In a sense, it was a way for her of reuniting all of her relationships, by featuring on her garments. It was like a rendez-vous of the people that she deeply cares about.

Yet, after being the runner up to the L’Oreal Pro Young Talent Award, which brought her attention and visibility, what has the future in store for her? Will London still be the center of her world?

“I spent five years of my life evolving in the creative heart of London, being at CSM,” she says. “I have made the most amazing and creative friends who inspire me every day. Being in London and especially at Central Saint Martins, supported by amazing tutors gave me the strength and possibility to create and concretise a collection which represents me at best. I needed that time in London to evolve the way I did to get all the tools necessary to make my first collection happen.”

For now, an itinerant move to another city isn’t in the works, yet, wherever she’ll be, be it in London or another international city, she has in store of extending her collection and keep on making magical garments. 

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How to build an independent fashion brand

23.05.2018 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

This weekend sees The Bridge Co. host ‘How to build an independent fashion brand?’ A series of events designed to enable young creatives in fashion to work savvily and negotiate the intimidating business of fashion.

With speakers from Harvey Nichols, i-D, SHOWstudio as well portfolio reviews and speed mentoring, this is a dream opportunity to get free, helpful advice from industry experts.

The Bridge Co. is well versed at launching new designers onto the international stage, with clients that include Roberta Einer, Teatum Jones, HAVVA, Oshadi, CMMN SWDN, Ergon Mykonos, and Katrine Hanna, to name a few.

For any London-based emerging designers, this is an essential Saturday activity. Find out more here.

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