Behind the scenes with one of the promising new generation fashion artists
Yonghao Xie is one of the 12 masters who graduated in 2022 from the Royal Academy of Fine Art. During London Fashion Week, the emerging Chinese-born, Antwerp-based Fashion Designer debuted his Spring/Summer 2023 collection.
The main inspirations behind his works of art are the current environmental issues. Evoking the dark side of ecological problems is a signature feature for Yonghao Xie . That has been reflected in his latest collections theme which was inspired by electronic waste, nuclear pollutions and the ecological harm caused by war. His aim is to awake the public’s desire to pursue a better living environment.
To successfully determine his message towards society, the aspiring designer used a colour pallet mixture of earthy and vibrant tones, as blue was the strongly dominating one. His garments included thrilling, thought provoking silhouettes, some of which were of a screaming face, flames and dark birds shifting into a shadow.
Beside his note to society, the audience witnessed mesmerizing catwalk of beautiful garments, styled with leather tire bag or headdresses, which are both stamp of the designer. Behind the scenes I had the amazing opportunity to exclusively ask Yonghao Xie more questions on variety of topics including his future path.
As a designer with strong conceptual behind his work, what is the recent concept of your collection?
The name of my latest collection is "Into A Better World". The purpose is to encourage people to pay more attention to various environmental pollution problems and to awaken people's desire to pursue a better living environment. In this theme, electronic waste, nuclear pollution and the serious harm caused by war to the earth's environment are combined. A lot of manual pleating and gathering are used in the design to make the soft and thin fabrics hard. I want my clothes to give the wearer a second skin-like protection, or to be their armour, even if they live in a polluted environment.
Your latest line is unique and signature for you, what are the motives behind these shapes and structures? Your work is usually including a lot of colours, what are you trying to express by them?
I used a lot of hand pleating to combine with draping. Try to create the rhythmof the fabric flowing over the body. This also stems from my many years of living experience in Europe. I am often attracted by the traditional aesthetics in the sculptures on the European streets, and I have transformed my feelings into fashion design through a more contemporary approach. Blue is the main colour in this collection. For me personally, blue isnatural and emotional, representing both a sad, melancholic atmosphere and acolour of hope. That's exactly the feeling I wanted to express in the collection.
Who is your current and future targeted market, and why? What type of feelings and awareness are you trying to provoke in the audience by your incredible art?
I consider my designs to be artistic, contemporary and neutral. I will be influenced by many modern and contemporary works of art, and at the same time combine our current life, environment and social conditions, to think about telling my point of view or a story through the medium of fashion design. I think my brand's target customers are soft, sensitive, but powerful at heart. They love art and contemporary trend culture, and they have great expectations for a better world in the future. I love the current era and environment very much, and I hope it can become better, so as the first release collection of the brand YONGHAO XIE, I take environmental protection as the starting point. If my work can make people start thinking, it is very successful for me already.
You are environment protection advocate, what is your personal approach to a more environment friendly fashion?
In addition to expressing the “environmental protection" point of view through the theme of the series and the structure or colour of the clothing, the selection of fabrics and the quality of clothing are also closely related to environmental friendliness. Most of the fabrics in this collection are from a long-stocked fabric factory, giving them new life through design. In addition, the good quality of clothes is also very important, which allows consumers to wear more and longer, and minimize the replacement of clothes.
As the topic with Greenwashing is rising recently, what do you think is the best solution for brands who mislead their very own consumers?
It can make the process and materials of clothing production more clearly displayed to consumers. At the same time, brands should be more honest about their sustainable development plans and goals. For products that do not achieve green standards, there should be no wrong guidance in packaging and publicity.
What do you believe is the best way for fast fashion brands to improve their sustainability and transparency so they can keep on track with the environment and fashion’s latest demanding.
I think the problem is the quality of the product. It is very necessary to strengthen the control of product materials and quality in the production process.
As you are graduating Royal Academy of Fine Art, Antwerp soon, what is your planned career path in the next 2- 5 years?
I will continue to operate my own brand YONGHAO XIE and diversify the development of the brand.
In times of doubt and worry about the future, young designers and climate activists like Yonghao Xie - bring hope for a better future with their awareness and solution ideas
As London Fashion Week is always busy, we would like to personally thank Younghao Xie for the time spent on answering our questions. You can connect with the brand on Instagram: @yonghaoxie or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographed by Macky Mann | @macky.mann
Article by : Angela Gaote | Fashion Writer | @angela.gaote