As part of the LCFMA16 Graduate Spotlight series, LCF News spoke to Yiru Sui ahead of the MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear catwalk show on Thursday 18 February, where her collection will be featured. Yiru discusses how Zen, the school of Mahayana Buddhism and Geometry, the branch of mathematics, served as the main inspiration for her work. She also tells us why she chose to study postgraduate at LCF.

MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear designer Yiru Sui will be showcasing her collection at next weeks live streamed LCFMA16 Womenswear Catwalk. Photography by Felix Cooper and styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen.

MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear designer Yiru Sui will be showcasing her collection at this weeks live streamed LCFMA16 Womenswear Catwalk show. Photography by Felix Cooper and styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen.

Tell us about your final collection?

For my collection, I decided to combine two completely different ideas in order to create something that would be exciting and unique. The two main inspirations that I combined are zen, the Buddhist practice that originated in China during the Tang dynasty and geometry, the branch of mathematics concerned with questions of shape and size. Essentially, I wanted to create pieces that channelled the formality of mathematics but also the peaceful nature that is often associated with zen. In order to this, I created a clean look by using natural materials and the colour white. In addition to this, by deconstructing the traditional structures of the pieces, I was able to create numerous silhouettes.

Where did you study prior to your MA at LCF?

Before coming to LCF, I studied Fashion Design, Menswear and Womenswear in Shanghai for my undergraduate.

Reflecting back on your MA, and thinking of any prospective students thinking about starting an MA, what would be your top three tips/bits of advice to them?

Firstly, I would say, never give up and believe in your aesthetic. I think that everybody should have their own style and try to develop that by trusting themselves and by not letting the judgement of other people impact their work. Secondly, I would say that you should always work hard and try to have a positive attitude.

Why did you choose LCF and MA Fashion Womenswear?

I realised after completing my BA, that I really enjoyed studying fashion design so I wanted to continue and expand my knowledge but at the same time, I wanted to have a different experience of studying fashion design so I decided to apply to study abroad. I knew that LCF was one of the top fashion colleges in the world and the teaching standard was high so I decided it was best for me. Also, my friends who had studied at LCF spoke highly of it so that made me confident that I had made the right decision.

What have you found the most enjoyable and interesting parts of your course? And what have you found the most challenging?

When the course first started, I was challenged by the decision making process. Deciding what to do for my final collection was very important to me so I had to think long and hard about it. I wanted to do something completely unique so that meant doing a lot of research which was hard work but also an enjoyable process.

Choosing the right fabric was a little bit difficult as I had to choose from about 20 samples. Sometimes I was convinced that the fabrics I chose were going to work so I’d order them but when I came to use them, I realised they were not right. For example the wood I used is not a traditional material used for making clothes so it was difficult to work with. I collaborated with a company that makes furniture, to source the correct type of wood and they made paper-thin pieces of wood for me but it was still quite complicated because I had to figure out how to sew the wood on to the fabrics. In fact, it was so difficult that it took me five tries until it worked.

What was your favourite thing about studying in London?

The most amazing thing about studying in London is the access we have to great museums and galleries. In Shanghai, we have several galleries and museums but not as good as here. Also studying in London gives me the opportunity to travel around Europe.

Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF? Where and how did you secure this work experience or placement?

In London, before studying at LCF, I assisted J.Js.Lee before London Fashion week.

Describe your work in five words…

Leo, Zen, Sculpture, Clean shape, Pure

Who or what inspires you?

I am really inspired by Alexander McQueen, he is my favourite designer and when I first entered this industry around 6 years ago, I took a lot of my inspiration from his work.

What are your future plans and how do you think the course will help you to realise these plans?

To start my career off, I would love to work as a fashion designer for a good brand or as a fashion buyer and once I get experience and funding, I would like to start my own brand.