Friday, 20 April 2012

Another piece of the jigsaw.

Finding the right people to work with is always a difficult thing for me and has been for the last 5 seasons. In that time I have progressed to being wide eyed and naive to wide eyed and less naive. Anyway, the fact is that I cannot grow this brand to where it needs to be without some very special help. I have been searching for a couple of years now but just couldn't get comfortable.
2012, however has seen the appointment of a PR Agency, Fearnhurst PR owned by one of my favourite people Samantha Fearn. This is the first time any of my collections has had PR support. Maybe thats why I'm still a bit of a secret?!
The second piece of the team is also now in place in the shape of Atelier 36, who are a strategic fashion consultancy whose marketing prowess is the reason there is much anticipation and excitement within the brand.
Only 2 more pieces before the puzzle is complete....

Friday, 30 March 2012

Random but important to me things...

So the AW12 season is nearly at a close. For those boutiques who have not confirmed their orders, please do so with haste as we are scheduling our production in the next couple of weeks.
This is, I guess, the most important time for designers. The collections have been presented firstly to press and latterly to the people who lay down money so that our brands can continue towards fulfilling a potential.
Anyway, my mind is always a bit random at this time but I just wanted to express my gratitude to Debra Hepburn and Julian Whitehead at Young British Designers. Debra, especially has been a big advocate of what I have been trying to do and the support she gives me as above and beyond what I thought was possible.
On the face of it an emerging designer/retailer relationship should be quite straightforward. The designer develops designs which they hope that the retailer can sell. The retailer, promotes the designer thinking broadly and laterally. The fashion conscious public buy from the retailer having been sold on the idea of the designers work and all is well. All pieces in this relationship behave with care, understanding and courtesy as they all believe they are in it together. I guess the word for this is symbiosis?
Anyway, having just presented my fifth collection, I can say with all honesty that the only retailer I have had dealings with that have achieved symbiosis is Young British Designers. In a world that is getting tougher by each passing budget you would have thought that co-operation would be adopted as the only strategy.
The long and short of it is that there seems to be a few sites cropping up promoting emerging designers but for me I believe that is actually not going to be good for us as designers. The market is better focused than diluted. Strength allows influence and a valid voice. It is for this and the reasons above that I will always be loyal to YBD and will always be no matter what the future brings.
I just needed to get that out there. Thanks for reading....

Monday, 5 March 2012

Creative-Idle: LFW Diary AW12: Yan To

One of my favourite journalists, got a preview of the collection.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Anatomy of a Design AW12

Those of you who follow my work, know I work extensively with elastics. The elastic pieces are created by weaving elastics onto a dress base and sewing them into position. 

When I started AW12, I was obsessed with the idea that the dress base could be dispensed with altogether and a dress could be made by attaching the elastic strips together. There are of course a number of issues which make this an almost pointless task but sometimes in order to move an idea forward you have to pursue the seemingly pointless.

Anyway. The first issue is shape so I chose to work with my number one mannequin and laid out a rough shape. 

The dress had to be taken off and sewn after positioning a few strips of elastic, in order to maintain integrity of shape and strength.

 The solid ares had to be gridded out.

The design just kind of happened as the dress started to take shape. The original intention was to create a short dress but the elastics were draping so beautifully that it made more sense to carry on.

The chest was especially challenging, to create a 3D structure.

The base of the dress was left with trailing strips of elastic paying homage to the composition of the dress. From laying the first grid to sewing trimming the last thread, the dress took 62 hours to make, or in fashion designer days, 3. 

It is a process which I find absorbing and although time consuming, the results speak for themselves. This design is going to be available to our couture clients only, as it has to be made to fit perfectly. The costs involved are actually a whole lot less than a wedding that's a thought......

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Magic Dress WTF?

The Magic Dress is a name given by my new stockists, Young British Designers, to a style of dress, which has now been developed through 4 seasons. You may think that "magic" is a hell of a claim to make about any piece of clothing consider the following.

What do we want when we put a dress on? It must fit beautifully. It must make us feel great. It must make us look great. I reckon thats a good start.

Okay, so if you have a supermodel figure, you can pretty much get away with anything. For everyone else, there is a thing called bodycon. Personally I think that word has a couple of meanings, one of them not quite so positive but then again sometimes the truth hurts?

So bodycon is all about making you look slimmer or more shapely in a good way. Currently you can achieve it in 3 ways. Firstly there is the compression garments such as the bandage dresses. These are constructed from stretch materials are supposed to squeeze you into a more desirable shape. The truth? Lumps and bumps have to go somewhere. If you squeeze it in..........okay, Newton's second law. Do bandage dresses look better on Elle or Christina. The prosecution rests.

Secondly there are dresses that are supposed to confuse the eye of the beholder in thinking that the wearer is slimmer. Optical illusion? So you can either wear a dress with a contrasting silhouette with our eyes being drawn to the lighter coloured section and make you think that, that is the actual outline of the wearer. Alternatively you could confuse your audience with very clever scientifically tested patterns which make you look thinner. The truth? If you are curvaceous, these dresses can make you look like a poor imitation of Jessica Rabbit and lets face it, apart from Cameron Diaz in The Mask has there ever been a good imitation? I don't think so.

Thirdly there is the control underwear. It does a job but in order to do a good job it needs to have a body coverage in excess of what might be technically called sexy. For women who have separate compartments for there underwear, are the sexy pants in the same draw as the control pants? The Truth? Whats the point in wearing a sexy dress if when you get your object of lust to your boudoir, you've got big control pants on? Okay, take them off first but don't they leave a mark? I guess that's why the phrase' "I'll step into something more comfortable" was invented. Having said that, they should perhaps add...."for the next 30 minutes whilst my squeeze marks go. Alternatively they could of course be creative with the amount of openings......

So when I came to design the "Magic Dress" I did so on the basis of the above truths. It will make you look thinner. It will hide bumps. You can wear your sexiest pants. You don't have to be a size 8. They work on larger sizes. You will look amazing and its a win, win, win.

How do I do this? Ask me nicely....................

Oh and by the way, those very nice people at Young British Designers are giving a "Magic Dress" away as part of Vogue's online fashion week.....and the best part? We are going to make that dress especially for the winner.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Somerset House 19th September 2011

So this season I have decided not to do London and not to do Paris either. London is not a surprise because I have only done London once, for my AW10. Paris was another matter. It was hard decision not to go to Paris. In fact I have a ticket but since I am not exhibiting, there is very little point in going over.
Anyway, I must confess to feeling a bit left out during London. I have just completed what I consider to be my best work to date but its like being all dressed up with nowhere to go. I have taken the opportunity to sample some of the atmosphere of LFW which lead me today to Somerset House. I stood and watched the Mark Fast show on the big screen but I mostly just stood and watched the scale and majesty that is the on-schedule LFW. It was a kind of wake up call, which I need every so often as I tend to work in a bubble.
I think my SS12 is a hell of an achievement and I am proud of it, but today, I realised my place in the scheme of things, fashion and I must push harder to be better. I think people will be surprised by my SS12 for many reasons but I think they will be shocked by what I will present for AW12. You have been warned.....

Friday, 22 July 2011

Deutsche Press


To Yan is a magician, and this one unique. Elastic, shape into all of its importance, is not an obvious necessity in the selection of materials, but To revolt within this concept and really brings it to the front of the fashion industry with a collection heavy construction. Sure, there is a thorough departure from standards, with a growing entitlement. The core of this collection plays with elastic orientation. The material is curved and tightened so that fantastic, bizarre pants arise in different shades of black. But the most flattering pieces in the collection are varying body pliant clothes. However, normal body-hugging dresses accentuate each mass, collection and reduction. To restrict it by the clothes to create a more uniform character. Similarly, allow the continuous dark colors of this collection, Yan To to be adventurous and yet to develop a high portability of its design.
Experimentation is certainly an adequate description of Yan To AW11. The designer is committed to being fascinated by them, in ever greater way, both the processed material, as well as the forms which he seeks to manipulate. During the development of its elastic Techniques To Yan has placed emphasis on glass and stone effects. Astonishingly, the suppleness and elasticity are also distorted textures. However, the most visible in the experiment playfully sophisticated mastery of form. The Jackets take on a quality animal with black leather ruched sleeves, like wearing the skin of an armadillo. Already on the hanger, twist and lean and magically make these sleeves to wear to a comprehensive transformation process of the garment. To create this kind of stimulating such illusions by observation and wearing the clothes is something that Yan To express and expand his collection with the upcoming summer collection, still wants to SS12. To be sure outstanding as a participating designer at the London Press Week was. He was the sole designer of the new "look" for an audience and has created with this model, needles, elastic cords and seasonal absences with a dramatic come goldverkrusteten embodied showing his fearlessness itself. The home of Harrods, who have only just taken over the collection to the range is clear that To Yan is a young designer, which you should keep in mind. His mentality that travels to work in the clothing design process is sure to leave a big plus.
Yan To - somethings