Vancouver Fashion Week SS19 - Interview with Designer Xiaoyi Li

All runway images by Simon Lau

Please share a bit about your journey to embrace fashion design as a career. 

I remember that my grandmother made clothing for herself when I was a child. She was good at sewing and pattern even though she was an engineer. She used bright colors and beautiful fabrics to make dresses, which is different than what everyone else wore in that period. She influenced my career choice and parents were very happy I chose this major.

How did you learn your skills? If you studied fashion design where? If you are self-taught how did you hone your skills?

I chose to study at LaSalle College Fashion Design program in 2013 and learnt all my skills from there. After I graduate, I attended few international contests and won  the Art of Fashion contest in San Francisco. That win provided me the opportunity to participate in a Haute Couture master class in Paris. This class was very helpful not only in developing my skills but also in my inspiration.

What comes easiest for you as a designer? What is hardest?

The easiest for me: when I can’t find a coat that I like in boutiques. I can make one by myself.

The hardest: Being a designer who can support herself. The business side of fashion is very hard for me.

Where do you find inspiration for new collections? How important is colour to your design process?

I find inspiration in exhibitions, news, and art books, especially anything with a theme based on SLOW fashion. I hope that I can use my clothing and theme to tell a story more deeply to make people think.

I’m not a colorful woman. Most of my collections are black and white. Instead of color, I’m more focused on cutting, fabric and texture.

Readers would love to know more about the current collection you showed at Vancouver Fashion Week. 

Name of collection: MOI

Inspiration: I was inspired by Maison Martin Margiela spring 1998. He used anti-form patterns and made flat surface clothing for woman, which had a strong effect on woman fashion. When I went to Paris to study, I visited the Martin Margiela exhibition. I found this type of pattern to be very interesting. Nowadays women are getting stronger and are more confidence being themselves, so I used wide shoulders and masculine/feminine tailored jackets to emphasis this. 

Do you have a favourite look in this collection?

Wide shoulder tailored jacket with deconstruction pants.  It is the look on the far left in the photo strip below.

Where can readers purchase your designs?

Right now is available on La Maison Simons website or Simons store in Montreal. Here is a link - 

What's next for you as a designer and your brand? 

I want to expand the number of places that sell my collection including more boutiques in Canada. I will be participating Shanghai Fashion Week next year to help open a market for my collection in China.

What advice do you have for young fashion artists just beginning their journey to become designers?

Be very creative, but also be practical when designing clothing.

Understand what goes into a beautiful garment to create it. 

These images provided by the designer
Links -