Your work juxtaposes innocence with gritty themes, is this a signature element of your style?
Yes and no. I do think that juxtapositions are an occurring theme in my work but as far as innocence and gritty themes go, no. I think the two themes came up in my graduate collection because of my research. One of the most important images in my research was a photograph of Japanese musician, Shiina Ringo, wearing a wedding gown, while holding a gun to her head with a big grin on her face. I’ve always loved that photo, the mixed messages it sends are wonderfully arresting.

Has your Irish/Chinese heritage and Welsh upbringing played any part in your design influence?
Not necessarily. I think having a mixed upbringing, however, has definitely influenced the way I design. I think being mixed has made me very open minded to different things, so I’m always looking for something that’s a bit a more forward thinking.

Your latest collection evoked a Comme des Garçons style. Has Rei Kawakubo been a significant inspiration to yourself?
Definitely. I think if I had never seen a Comme des Garçons collection I would probably approach design in a totally different manner.

We loved your use of Anime schoolgirl satchels and collars.
A really important element to my collection was the sailor uniforms that Japanese schoolgirls wear. I tried to incorporate parts of it wherever I could, with the short pleated skirts, the stripes and of course the collars. I really wanted my inspiration to be apparent, so the satchels were a natural addition to the overall look. I was very lucky that The Cambridge Satchel Company kindly lent me some of their bags, they were a perfect fit.

Your recent collection was compared to the work of Meadham Kirchhoff. Do you welcome comparisons being drawn between yourself and other designers, or do you think that in doing so young designer's abilities to establish names for themselves is hindered?
I think it’s a natural thing for people to do. It’s a lot easier for people to understand things once you compare them to something they already know. Even the biggest names in fashion are often compared to one another, so it’s a regular habit. To a degree, I suppose it can be a hindrance, but I think it’s quite the compliment. To be compared to such big names when you’re just starting out, it shows that you have the capability and the ideas that are of a similar caliber to already successful design houses.
But I suppose the biggest compliment will be when other peoples’ work is compared to your own!

What are your future plans regarding fashion now that you have completed your degree at Westminster?
Right now, with my collection, I’d like to shoot a lookbook and perhaps a short film…
In the long run I would love to start my own label and be stocked internationally but for the time being, I think I need to gain a bit more experience and become a bit more business savvy. Right now, I’m totally open minded and looking forward to whatever opportunities come my way.

Published on JojoMagazine.com