Is originality possible in fashion? Is it a relevant concept for designers today? That is one of the central themes in an interview between fashion journal Vestoj’s U.S. editor Alice Hines and Yirantian Guo, designer of womenswear label Yirantian; Alve Lagercrantz, co-designer of womenswear label Sirloin; Yushan Li, co-designer at menswear label Pronounce; Mao Usami, co-designer of womenswear label Sirloin; and Jun Zhou, co-designer at menswear label Pronounce. A few key excerpts are as follows …
Mao Usami: I think [authenticity] is fading, or merging, or collapsing. Because high-street brands started to get the capacity to copy instantly what’s happening at Paris Fashion Week, while high-end brands still take three months for production. And now Gucci and Vetements are starting to borrow from high-street fashions. It’s a never-ending game, like cats chasing each other. For an emerging label, it makes it difficult to define your brand: is it high end, low end, mainstream, subculture? Everything is merged.
Yirantian Guo: I think a lot about how there isn’t original clothing. A turtleneck already exists. So what a designer does is represent it using original details, or a seasonal concept, adapting the element to make it her own. That’s the originality. For example, you use buttons and colours and fabrics which fit your brand, and make the item suitable for your target group.
Jun Zhou: In my opinion, I think images, the story, is more important than the product today. Everyone can design a good product, but not a good image. If the brand has a good image, if its meaning travels, that’s why I want to buy the products. It’s what distinguishes it. Louis Vuitton has a good shirt. Dolce & Gabbana does too. So why do you buy one and not the other?