Interview With Upcycling Challenge Designer Jessie Liu (San Francisco)

Share about the journey that led you to fashion designer.

My journey was organic, I always had an innate passion for innovative design concepts and artistry from a very early age. In my previous career I worked as an accountant and I definitely stood out amongst my co-workers due to my fashion sensibility. I also had a natural gravitation toward understated but unique luxury clothing. I quickly realized that I needed to follow my passion and I enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts degree program at the Academy of Art University. During my fashion design studies.

I started to explore the concept of designing collections that combined my innovative original graphic print techniques with unique yet simple silhouettes. The signature graphic prints are undoubtedly one of our clients favorite elements of the collection along with our luxe fabrication choices. I believe in the creative realm that it's important to find an endeavor that you love and work diligently to explore your unique capabilities within that field, ultimately enabling you to offer a more personalize experience to your clients.
I know you trained at the Academy of Art University. Talk about the highs and lows of studying fashion design. What did you find easy? What was a challenge?

It was challenging to transition from a traditional career path as an accountant to a creative endeavor that offered less career direction and security. I was successful as an accountant, it definitely wasn't an easy choice but following my passion was very important to me. So, I accepted the risks and ventured out to pursuit my

happiness. I was always dedicated and had good follow-through skills, so I knew with the right education I would be able to accomplish my goal. While at AAU, I soon realized that fashion design is not just a simple as “Barbie dress-up”; but the culmination of ideas, inspirations, technical application, creativeness, and experience, plus a lot of hard work requiring diligence and perseverance. Every piece has its origin, its inspiration, and its journey from the void to style and form. It was an eye-opening experience. I spent a lot of time studying historical references, artist and architectural design. Once inspired by a historical era, an artist or a poem. I would infuse these elements into my own design philosophy. So I am much obliged to these "creatives" from different fields and from different times. Through their collective works, I have obtained a fresh perspective of the world. I have learned the way of creative and intuitive design. I hope to continue to create beautiful pieces for all women to enjoy.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

The​ ​Jessie​ ​Liu​ ​collection​ ​is​ ​designed​ ​for​ ​the​ ​bold​ ​and​ ​modern​ ​woman​ ​that​ ​exudes confidence, ​ ​likes​ ​simple​ ​but​ ​uniquely​ ​designed​ ​silhouettes​ ​and​ ​wants​ ​a​ ​seamless transition​ ​from​ ​her​ ​day​ ​to​ ​night​ ​life​ ​activities. ​ ​The​ ​collection​ ​encompasses​ ​innovative design, ​ ​couture-level​ ​craftsmanship, ​ ​and​ ​exquisite​ ​fabrication​ ​choices​ ​sourced​ ​from​ ​elite fabric​ ​houses. ​ ​​ ​The​ ​design​ ​house​ ​combines​ ​modern​ ​yet​ ​wearable​ ​design​ ​elements.

Every​ ​season, ​ ​our​ ​team​ ​works​ ​diligently​ ​with​ ​our​ ​pattern​ ​makers, ​ ​fit​ ​models, ​ ​production house​ ​and​ ​our​ ​external​ ​brand​ ​consultants​ ​to​ ​produce​ ​a​ ​RTW​ ​collection​ ​that​ ​is​ ​exquisite in​ ​nature​ ​with​ ​quality​ ​at​ ​the​ ​forefront​ ​of​ ​the​ ​design​ ​aesthetic. ​ ​One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​collections most​ ​defining​ ​characteristics​ ​is​ ​the​ ​original​ ​unique​ ​​ ​graphic​ ​prints​ ​and​ ​stylishly​ ​designed patterns​ ​carefully​ ​infused​ ​into​ ​the​ ​collection​ ​and​ ​perfected​ ​with​ ​our​ ​signature​ ​cutting technique. Every season is different from the prior one with me infusing various concepts from external elements that I find intriguing and inspirational.

I am so thrilled to have you a part of the EFWA Upcycling Challenge by Marilyn R Wilson. Have you ever upcycled used garments before? If so, how?

Yes, I participated Discarded to Divine project when I studied in AAU. I made a shift dress from used garments and self-dyed cotton lace as trim. Color palette was inspired by one of Monet's painting. And it was sold in the auction in De Young Museum.

Discarded to Devine is a fashion show and auction that showcases the talents and work of local designers who transform discarded items into one-of-a-kind garments, accessories and home décor creations which are then auctioned off to benefit St. Vincent de Paul Society’s programs.

Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect?

I am going to create a corset top and tutu style skirt with mixed stripe and plaid pattern men's shirts, but in black and white color tone. This will be my first time designing a corset bodice. I am looking forward to this fun challenge and utilizing this platform to bring more awareness to the need for sustainable fashion.

What would you most like the international fashion audience to know about you as a designer and your brand?

Jessie Liu is a San Francisco-based women’s ready-to-wear brand that encompasses fresh design, couture-level craftsmanship, and exquisite fabric choices. While the Jessie Liu brand combines modern aesthetics and wearable design elements, the brand offers affordability without compromising quality. Jessie Liu's most defining characteristics are the uniquely strong graphics and stylishly designed patterns not found anywhere in the market . All pieces were meticulously crafted and manufactured in the United States.

What's next for you as a designer? What are your long term dreams?

My plan is always fashion forward movement. I will continue to design our collection each season for the Jessie Liu women. She is a confident woman who understands the importance of subtle details. Our ideal client has an open mind, seeks adventure, has a love for luxury and enjoys living a well curated lifestyle. She could be seen wearing the Jessie Liu collection to a charity event, PTA meeting or while working in a variety of career options. She has vast understanding of timeless style choices and considers them an investment for her wardrobe closet.

We will seek new ways to service this client by becoming more visible in the coming seasons, attending a variety of trade events across the globe, expanding our retailers along with possibly opening some pop-up boutiques in the near future. The opportunities for the collection are limitless and I am looking forward to them all as the brand grows.

Links - 
VFW S/S 15 collection