Meet Wei Yu, our talented Taiwanese contemporary womenswear designer, whose modern and season-less upcycled pieces debuted in our Net-a-Porter’s Net Sustain collection - and will also be hitting wardrobes in our soon-to-be released Refashioned collection.
When not head down studying for his Masters in Fashion Design from ArtEZ University of Arts, in the Netherlands, or being in Dutch Fashion Week and London Fashion Week, you can be sure to find Weiyu beaming with his trademark charming, determined personality. Here we meet the man himself.
Our Karl Dress designed in collaboration with Weiyu Hung for our exclusive collection for Net-a-Porter's NET SUSTAIN
Tell us about the pieces you designed for The R Collective
Designing with The R Collective has been a long, successful journey. My next collection, Refashioned, launches soon. Mum’s the word on this one until it’s launched! But as a small clue - you can expect my signature seasonless dresses and refreshing the square-cutting concept inspired by traditional Asian clothing into the modern design.
When I designed my collection with The R Collective for NET SUSTAIN, it was a big deal. I was humbled to be a part of Net-a-porter's first-ever consciously crafted curation of sustainable fashion. The upcycled Karl Dress is a timeless wardrobe staple - a storm flap on the back effortlessly references classic trench coat designs, and the organic cotton-blend guarantees comfort throughout the seasons.
Why are you interested in sustainable design?
Sustainable fashion is really complex and it’s not just limited to how you source materials but also how one can communicate the story behind the design in order to encourage consumers to adopt a conscious approach to fashion.
It is a pity to see how much waste the fast fashion industry generates. Beautiful materials - deemed as waste - that can be upcycled through efficient design are lying forgotten in the corner. I truly believe it’s the duty of a designer is to ensure our fabric is respectfully utilized. It is my responsibility to use my knowledge and artistry to make them come to life.
Working as a designer, I want to embrace the spirit of sustainability by exploring fashion through humanities and heritage. It brings together creations and social fashion that are embedded with historical impressions and future prospects. I had the opportunity to work with the indigenous populations of China and Taiwan which enabled me to experience the rich connection between traditional craftsmanship and sustainability. To see their love and dedication to the craft being captured by the warmth of their hands onto these fabrics is encapsulating.
I believe that sustainable fashion entails forming emotional bonds with our clothing and I am now even more passionate about establishing myself as a sustainable fashion designer with a specific focus on reviving traditional skills.
Susie Lau in the Karl Dress designed in collaboration with designer Weiyu Hung
Tell us about the women who love your clothes
I design for the women who are unafraid about being themselves and are passionate about achieving their dreams. I want to capture their inner beauty which is why I create timeless and minimalistic silhouettes that further accentuate their personalities. I believe that women of courage and grace can be the light for someone who is going through a challenging time.
All women have their own unique personalities - I want each and every one of them to feel like a better version of themselves when they wear my designs. In the promotion video working with The R Collective and Net A Porter, I see how Susie Lau, Justin Lee and Mint Pattarasaya fit themselves into the Karl Dress - the same dress reflects each of their different personalities by the way they choose to play and accessories.
It’s really exciting to see the ease and smile when they walk on the street and go about their day.
Your own brand WEI YU is full of juxtaposition. What inspires you to create?
I always find inspiration and beauty in my surroundings and daily life. I believe tradition is avant-garde and that local is global. This encourages me to search for the inner connection and relationship with my culture and my local community, I hope to light up the forgotten stories, objects and people in our life.
Designer Weiyu Hung with his Redress Design Award 2018 collection
Looking backward, you’ve been in two cycles of The Redress Design Award - tell us more!
Yes, you can see how passionate I am about sustainable design! I was a finalist in the Redress Design Award 2018 and a semi-finalist of the 2017 cycle. You can say I’m pretty persistent.
I actually come from a small village in Taiwan and it’s hard to access the international fashion scene, and The Redress Design Award really helped to propel me from the fields of Taiwan to the runways of Hong Kong then go to Amsterdam, London and Milan.
I think I’ve really proved that talent comes from all over the world - and I really want to encourage designers out there to have the confidence to try to take on the world, wherever they live!