Editorial images by Peng Yue
Today I want to offer you another rising talent, this time from the fashion design program at The Art Institute of Vancouver. Yuetong Wu (in the evening's program as Angel Wu) joined classmates in April to present her collection in Atelier 2015 - a mix of fashion, food and film that showcased not only the work of their fashion grads, but the school's culinary and film students as well.
The intimate on-site runway show held in the atrium of the school's Renfrew Street campus was perfect as every seat was a front row seat. You could literally reach out and and touch the garments if you were so bold. Of course none of us did.
As the portfolios were not available that night - I made notes on each collection - quality of the tailoring, interesting ideas, overall impression, etc. Then head instructor Shainin Hudda sent me a list of those with great fashion illustrations to add to the selection process for solo articles. Yuetong Wu's name quickly rose to the top.
This collection is definitely aimed at a youthful market. The three looks I saw were evening wear with each dress offering a different style possibility. The first had a bubble skirt with sheer dark overlay, the second a feathery textured skirt and the third offered three dimensional appliques. In the illustration for the first look (below right) you see a gold skirt which would have been an interesting counterpoint to the black/white palette seen on the runway, but there is no doubt that in the current market, black/white is a more popular choice for evening wear.
Without further ado, welcome to this interesting Q and A with rising designer Yuetong Wu. I know you'll enjoy it as much as I did.
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Where were you born, where did you grow up?
I was born in mainland China in a city called Shenyang and lived there till I was 14. Then we immigrated to Canada and settled in Calgary. In 2011 I moved to Vancouver - a beautiful city I always dreamed to live in - to study fashion design which I always had passion for.
What you like when you were young?
I always liked to paint and draw. I liked music and learned to play the key board. I think my talent for art comes from my father who is an excellent sketcher.
What were your interests in High School?
Art class was always my favorite class. My work would often be put up on school walls, and my projects were often kept by teacher as future class samples.
Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion?
Since I can remember, I have always had my own taste in what to wear. I would decide myself what matches with what. Kids around me always saw me as inspiration and they liked to follow me on how to dress up and do my hair. As I grew up, friends and family would come to me for advice when they were shopping and I helped them make decisions. They always thought I have a great taste in fashion.
Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was you family supportive?
After graduating from high school, I wanted to do something that related to art, but my parents didn't support me. They are old fashioned Chinese and thought steady regular work would suit me the most. Art is not easy a career. So I listened to them, did an administrative program and started working. But while working in an administrative office at RBC Dominion Securities, I felt miserable the whole time. I did not know why, but saw no future. That's when I decided I should quit my job and do something I'm really passions about. My parents were supportive then because they did see how lost and unhappy I was. Fashion is art, but more useful.
Why did you choose to study at the Art Institute of Vancouver?
Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you, what was easy for you, are they any high, low or funny moments you can share?
History was hard. Everything else was easy! When you have an interest in what you do, you will enjoy everything that is comes with it. I found I had a talent for designing, pattern making , sewing. I liked staying in school after classes with others. We would work on our projects together, look after each other, give each other advice and help each other when need..
What was the inspiration for your grad collection? Share anything you'd like readers to know?
I remember when graduated from high school and was attending special events. I was always trying to find a pretty, different, beautiful dress, but I never could find the perfect one. I believe that's what a lot of the girls feel like. So I wanted to design dresses that would make a girl feel beautiful and special; an eye catching dress so she would stand out at the event. I wanted them to look like a princess, a fairy - to help them feel confident.
Describe your collection.
My collection offers high end evening dresses for girls/woman under the age of 35
What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?
The three evening wear dresses I created were fashioned from silk, organza, faux fur and embellished with crystals. I used fabric manipulation to enhance the design and create an aura of elegance.
Do you have a favourite look?
What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?
Where do you go from here?
Time for heading out into the real world. I am now working in the medical industry, but am hoping to work full-time in the fashion industry shortly.
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Check out my Atelier 2015 show coverage on Metro Living Zine - just click HERE