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An inteview with JUDY WU: “Creating a collection is like a trip into the unknown”

If you haven’t heard yet about JUDY WU, mind the gap.

Raised in Shanghai, before graduating from Central Saint Martins, the rising talent then developed her techniques for House of Holland among other great Maisons. She’s part of this new “Born in China” / “New Made in China” trend (like SIMONGAO) that you’d better watch carefully as this bunch of creators is changing the fashion rules. An arty interpretation of a strong womanhood we adore.

Let’s chit-chat with JUDY WU.

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There are new designers coming from China, who are definitely changing the game in fashion: do you consider yourself as part of this movement?

It is great to see quite a few Chinese faces at LFW this season. I am always proud of my cultural background which provides me a great source of inspiration and strength, although the brand JUDY WU has always being based in London. Chinese designers are definitely gaining more and more exposure on the international stage. There are many very talented Chinese designers who are working extremely hard to make their voice heard and I am glad to be able to contribute to it.

 

London seems to be the perfect place for rising talents to launch their collections: what’s the secret weapon of London?

London is a very international and multi-cultural city which provides many platforms for talents regardless where you are from. The creative industry here allows young talents to fully express their creativity. The industry and media here are always looking for new ideas instead of only driving the big names. There are also some great art and design schools such as Central Saint Martins, Royal College of Arts, London College of Fashion… etc. Those schools bring up young talents at a very high standard for the creative industry all over the world. London is a magical place!

 

Your collection is both a mix of traditional tailoring, with a twist of fantasy, and in the meantime it’s very wearable by women on a daily basis: how do you manage this tricky balance between style and “ready-to-wear”?

My aim is to create a lifestyle wardrobe for a modern independent woman who also has a free spirit. Having the image of my muse in mind, keep adding or deleting to each of her looks until they reach a balance.

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Where do you find your inspirations?

There are a lot of things that are inspiring to me such as art, music, nature, movies…etc. There is always something new to learn about this world which sometimes makes me feel rather ignorant. Creating a collection is like a trip into the unknown. Learning is the fun part of the journey.

 

Fashion can change the world: do you agree?

Designers are quite sensitive to the world that is around them. They express their thoughts through their work and hope to change the world to if not better then to a prettier place.

 

What are the next steps of your story as a designer?

Focusing on my next collection and telling my story to the world.

judy wu fashion designer

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To Be Parisian is to be “Fuckable”, really???

You’ve probably read some interviews of Caroline de Maigret this week, who’s promoting her new book “How to be a Parisian”. It’s already a best-seller, apparently surfing on this French “je ne sais quoi” that seems to attract American women. According to CdM, to be Parisian involves to look always “fuckable“.   In Style.com, the argument is highly explicit:

“always be fuckable. When standing in line at the bakery on Sunday morning, buying champagne in the middle of the night or even picking the kids up from school. You never know”

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One month today and still a Best Seller in the US thanks to all of you! Thank you all for your amazing support and kind words. Much love from the 4 of us! ❤️❤️❤️@howtobeparisian

View on Instagram

 

We could start by condemning the women’s objectification: we’re not really sure that judging a woman’s style through her capability to get a d*** (to keep the same semantics) is, indeed, relevant. And we’re surprized that not many journalists or bloggers reacted before on that matter. But we do thank Amazon customers’ reviews who did this job.

We could also be very angry against Style.com: why haven’t they called other Parisian women to balance this quote and get a better sense of what a Parisian woman might be (if ever there’s ONE Parisian woman who could summarize the diversity of the French capital…)? We could also ask them if they’re not fed up with a book which takes Joséphine Baker, Marie-Antoinette or Romy Schneider as examples of foreigners who suddenly became supposed-Parisian myths (hum hum)…but no mention of modern icons of femininity or inspiring women. Except if CdM wants to keep all for her and considers herself as the heir of la Parisienne. We could also ask them if they’re not bored to always take the same clichés: do you seriously think that all Parisian listen to jazz at St Germain, drink a glass of Pinot Noir, are free but in love. And on and on…

It’s an intellectual snacking; as a lot of fashion advertising films are at the moment: we can’t recall how many times we’ve seen the same two bridges in Paris displaying the exact same sort of Parisienne without any spark of genius. In this book, no mention about hip hop or street culture: is South Pigalle (SoPi) really where Parisian trends do emerge?

We could be provocative and ambiguous like Karl Lagerfeld faux feminism can be when it comes to women, suddenly declaring that CdM is right in promoting this unique asset of women: her beauty and her charms. But it would be very mediocre, and another attempt to attract publicity by trolling.

Let’s really ask THE question: to be fuckable means to be fucked by someone, right? And this “fuckability” can’t rely on which cream or powder a woman picks, as the book tries to suggest.

The American woman could teach many lessons to this “fuckable Parisian”: when it comes to fusing sex, social status and life choices, we tend to respect more Mindy Kaling or Beyoncé than another style guru. This Parisianism has very strong problems when it comes to creativity; shall we repeat that the last fashion week was mostly saved by…American designers? This non-existing Parisian face no longer interests a lot of consumers…except the publisher of Nutella recipes (yes, for real). We told you it was all about snacking.

On the other hand, Alicia Florrick, the Games of Thrones women, Amy Dune (Rosamund Pike): they all represent a new femininity which inspire us.

Are we angry against CdM? Not at all; her book is like a chocolate bar, you know you indulge yourself with too much calories in too many layers. Style snacking is a business that works, and when it does work, it deserves some interest. But we dream about new feminine books to represent a better idea of Paris beyond the Seine river.

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Americana – London. A journey through Woodzee eyes

America. When you’re a European, obviously French and Londoner, many pictures come to mind. Road signs, hip-hop culture, Obama, McDonalds, California girls, NYC girls.
Energy, flights and jet-lag. A pack of sleepless talks and infatuation for parallel timelines.

The guys at Woodzee had the good idea to send me a gorgeous pair of Bamboo black Sierra, made of wood and eco-friendly process. And those shades quickly became my best allies from Commercial Road, London, to East Village, NYC.

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Shades are not any fashion accessory; they are a sort of protection for the solo traveller. An ally which helps you when you arrive in a bar, and that you try to fuse with the locals. Yes, shades can surprisingly enough be the big difference between tourists who will always look tourists. And guys who are afraid of being associated to them. It’s OK being a foreigner, and in my case a Frenchman in New York. But as time runs fast, it might sound absurd, but a style or an attitude can help in meeting interesting people. Or at least connecting with a local mood or environment.

Some people have a drink to feel better and start chatting. Some others are too scared to leave their hotel room. In my case, if you give me nice sunglasses, I can feel more confident.

If you’ve ever read the Smurfs, there’s this episode when a pretty shy guy puts some marmalade on his nose…and because of this artefact, he wins the Olympic Games. Shades are my marmalade. 

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There’s something cool when you wear cool shades: the world become slightly different; colours change, become more intense. Or at least you perceive what’s more intense than the other buildings or urban elements.

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Putting down your glasses on a table is also a key element of one’s personality. Some guys put them on their head; some others hang them on their shirt. Some others sort them in their boxes. And some guys like me let them live their lives in a Japanese restaurant. You’re intimately attached to what you left behind…and forefront.

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Flying back to London, I had this doubt in my mind; did I really live this American journey? Did I meet this American girl wearing stars and stripes? Did I lose myself in some shady bars?

For sure not. I think I’ve lived a lot in few hours there. And no doubt I had a good filter to protect my steps.

 

Thank you Woodzee for this collaboration! Oh and guys, you can discover their new skateboard collection

 

Places:

– secret rooftop East London

– The Standard, East Village, NYC

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What’s It Like to Work In The Fashion Industry? #BoF500

Imagine interviewing some of the most influential people in fashion. And imagine if they were sitting in your office, for a bit. Sharing thoughts ideas, inspirations, eccentricity.

It’s now done. Fashion at Work, the new i-D film, supports the new #BoF500 rankings; on the platform, you can discover every day a new interview; we can’t wait for Alexandre de Betak one, on October 7.

Whether you like or hate Alexa Chung, Carine Roitfeld, Katie Grand, Renzo Rosso, Binx Walton etc. you can have a look at influential people.

Inspiring.

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55DSL x 686 Snowboarding Collection Launches With ‘Moshpit’ Short Film

Denim, leather: the two elements of rock culture are still highly present in today’s minds. What if action sports roots could meet an imagery from 80s metal culture?

That’s the challenge that 55DSL and 686 figured out, with this brilliant collaboration. 686 exclusive infiDRY® waterproof fabric and 55DSL signature graphics are guaranteed to keep you rocking while on the hill at all times.

55DSL x 686 – Moshpit from 55DSL on Vimeo.

The campaign is shot by director Stephen Agnew, who is responsible for music videos for the likes of Drenge and The Vaccines, with the help of graphic artist Ruff Mercy (know for his projects for Disclosure and Mary J Blige).

As the guys describe:

The 55DSL x 686 ‘Moshpit’ video turns the gaze of ultra-slow motion cameras to a wild, un-hinged circle pit, set to doomy guitar riffs and reverb-laden drums. Shot in a South-London warehouse space, ‘Moshpit’ is an examination of what happens when bodies collide in the midst of the heaviest hardcore punk gigs – every detail from beads of sweat to rippling guitar stings are caught in super high-definition slow motion.

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An interesting move for technical outerwear to explore fashion. We can only approve.

Discover the whole collection on diesel.com/55DSLx686

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Pietà Project, collection #2: [EXISTING… THEN GONE]

Remember this fashion and social good project called Pieta Project? The team has just released a second collection.

Created in Lurigancho prison, the inmates created the craft themselves, as well as the design.

A masterpiece of what fashion can bring in terms of attention to the public; and which raises many interesting questions: aesthetics in prison? Irreverence?

Whatever your position is, it’s definitely worth checking the last collection.

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Reductress: badass magazine for badass women

Imagine a bunch of women who would like to change the  way “women media” are made. Fed up with diet articles, celebration of the same stars, tips to be  “perfect”? Well, you have to read Reductress, a sort of hybrid webzine; as if Reddit had met a DIY group on Pinterest (yes, we wrote that). We had a chance to ask 5 fire questions to their founders. And they rock.

 

Reductress seems pretty cheeky and pretty badass: do you already have some enemies?

We made a point of bringing enemies to the table right from the start. The mistake a lot of people make is trying make enemies along the way en route to success. The sooner you make enemies, the sooner you have the searing motivation of hate to guide you. Some of our enemies include: the patriarchy, harem pants, climate change, carbohydrates, and Josh Groban. Just kidding, we love Josh Groban and the patriarchy.

Do you consider yourself as feminist? How could we guys help feminism? 

We’re feminists with a capital ‘F,’ by which we mean we’re the pretty kind that people like. Just think of a cool woman you know who’s doing cool things for womankind and we’re basically that. Some ways that guys could help feminism would be: giving us more compliments on the street, telling us what we want, and taking care of all those boring jobs in society by being CEOs and politicians so we don’t have to be. Thanks men! XOXOXO

What was your biggest achievement so far with Reductress?

This interview is up there. Also, one time we were eating at a restaurant and Alec Baldwin sat down at the table next to us. True story. Call his agent.

Fashion can change the world: do you agree?

Yes, theoretically if someone “fashioned” a device to resolve poverty, global warming, and corporate greed, then yeah, fashion could change the world. And if you think about it, chambray shirts come pretty close to achieving all of those things. But seriously, all you have to do is look at Beyoncé or Lupita Nyong’o and it’s like, “Fashion is worn by people who are making change in the world.” And if we’re still talking about them, let’s throw Michelle Obama’s arms in there.

Last words?

Visit our website at reductress.com and click on all the advertisements while you’re there. You won’t regret it.

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In the bag of: Quy Nguyen (ELLE Vietnam)

Meeting Quy and a bunch of other encounters in Vietnam made us want to launch this crazy project: meet all the Creatives in Vietnam under 30 and report about the Trend.

Nguyen Danh Quy is one of this rare breed nowadays in Ho Chi Minh City. Well-cultured, well-traveled, professionally ambitious and demanding, yet incredibly cool and humble. After a few years studying in Germany, he was offered a position as Deputy Managing Editor at Elle Vietnam. In a blossoming economy – still partly hit by the worldwide recession, Quy is a learner. Passionate and dedicated to researching, understanding the fashion industry, he also aspires to transmit these pioneering know-how and knowledge to students finding Fashion Marketing Bachelors barely starting to exist since 2012.

Our talks have led to a common lecture at local elite university RMIT for a class of Fashion Market, and more to come. Here are the man’s answers to a couple of questions.

-          When did you decide fashion was your way?

3 years ago when I was staying in Germany, I got an offer to be Deputy Managing Editor of Elle Vietnam magazine. My passion for fashion and luxury industry has grown very much since then, as well as my knowledge of fashion industry. There’re still so many things to learn about the industry, all the creative people, super talented designers etc. and all that keeps me staying in fashion.

-          Which brand impressed you the most and triggered your passion?

I always have the tendency for brands with minimal aesthetics and casual chic such as Jil Sander, COS, Bottega Veneta, Hermès. However, since the last three years, I have been totally in love with everything Phoebe Philo created for Céline. I think I’ve found what I truly love and the beauty I believe in. She has reinvented Cool and all of her designs, including accessories, represent what I envision cool and beautiful are.

-          How do you see the future of fashion design in Vietnam?

I see the determination and great efforts of everyone (from fashion magazine people to designers, creative directors, buyers, retailers) to make local fashion industry be more professional, more active – in general, for better. I also think fashion design in Vietnam has a bright future, if it can be more international and follow certain rules of the industry as other professional fashion industries in the world.

-          What do you bring from your experiences abroad?

Fairness, Professionalism, Open-mindedness – I try to bring different perspectives of aesthetics (Western view vs. Asian view) into my work. Additionally, when I view photographic work, I also try not to forget to look for emotions, something new that those images can evoke.

-          What would you share from Vietnam to the world of fashion to improve it?

​Our readers are very flexible and open to new ideas, ​new ways of seeing, feeling and portraying beauty. They can love a local celebrity and/or a model as much as an international ones. I think, they are all very eager to learn and experience more from the fashion world. Therefore, I hope there’d be more and more luxury brands coming to Vietnam in the time to come.
Now let’s have a peek into Quy’s quite fashionable bag. 
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Color Code, “I LIKE DAT”. Nicola Formichetti’s new Haus of Gaga.

The multi-talented fashion designer Nicola Formichetti has recently launched the Pop Icon Project Tokyo. The aim is to spot Japanese talents and to then try to reach a global audience.

An interesting move; not so many people in Europe or in Americas really know what’s going on in Japan; we have an approximate knowledge, and we can often dive into clichés. And it’s a shame, because amazing artists like Sputniko! reveal breaking works and ideas. There are interesting forums about J-Pop for instance, but it’s not that easy to get to know the codes, rituals.

Formichetti’s attempt is not to create a confidential, subcultural band: it’s to hit big. Following what he’s done with Lady Gaga, the Italian designer (who has a Japanese mother, between) released today on his instagram account the first music video by his new whim: Color Code.

Three energetic cool girls who will probably make us dance in the coming months.

Let’s follow the vibes…

 

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Tess Rees: fun clothing for the fanciful

London has this bubbly energy you can’t defeat. And when it comes to fashion meeting culture, the British capital is massive.

We’ve recently met Tess Rees for a secret project (we swear we’ll share the secret soon :) ) and we’ve discovered a very interesting designer. Student at Central Saint Martins, Tess is a Fine Artist who says that she “creates fun clothing for the fanciful“.

Something we’re very, very keen to buy as we think that fashion can change the world. And that smiling and dreaming should be written in the fashion Bill of Rights.

All pieces are 100% lovingly handmade, unless otherwise stated as vintage and all fabrics are sourced in London. All tops are one size only at the moment, this size fits a Size 10 snugly and a Size 8 loosely. As well as producing handmade clothes, Tess aims to find and sell vintage clothes at affordable prices. About 75% of the vintage pieces are found in Charity shops. So whilst spending your money in our online shop you can have peace of mind in knowing you have made a donation to a worthwhile cause.

How do you create “fun” clothing? Do you need to enter a specific state of mind?

Working creatively everyday makes generating ideas and designs seem like second nature so I wouldn’t say It’s a specific state of mind, it’s more when I think of something I want to wear and can’t find it!
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Where does your inspiration come from?

So so many places, I’m constantly doing research for my Fine Art degree so colour and form are always on my mind and this definitely feeds into my clothing and the vintage I search for. Inspiration also comes from my friends and the people around me, I often take what I love most about their styles and try to create something I love and hopefully they would want to wear too! My Granny is also a major influence, she gave me an Ostrich feather fan and a gold chain mail handbag last Christmas! An enormous stack of Vogue Paris’ sit in the corner of my bedroom that remain as a souvenir of a subscription she gave me years ago and I still look through them occasionally.

 

Your T-shirt can give a super-power to a customer: what is it?

Oooh if I could create a top that doubles as an invisibility cloak I would be one very happy lady.

What’s next for your young brand?

I’m currently working on some content for the  website which will hopefully be launching very soon. Long term plans are to develop a recognisable visual style that will hopefully result in a collection rather than sporadic designs being made here and there!
Thanks Tess! you can follow her on Instagram, buy on her website, fall in love on Twitter, like her on Facebook.
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