LCF MA17 continues with a Graduate Spotlight interview featuring MA Fashion Media Production graduate Yanzhu Yuan, a Beijing native who explored candy and how society is often unaware of the damage it does to our health.

She will be showcasing her work along other postgraduate Media and Communication students at our Found in Translation exhibition at House of Vans in February.

Tell us about your Final Major Project and what you created? 

The film is based on candy. I got the topic from sugars found in London’s afternoon tea, cookies, cakes, ketchup and so forth. People on average consume nearly 6 times more sugar than the recommended amount stated by the World Health Organisation in 2015. Not many people even notice the negative effects of sugar on the human brain. Sugar is addictive just like caffeine or alcohol. Ironically, sugar and beverage giants enjoy a benign public image from their creative commercial advertising. Thinking about the severity of consequences that sugar causes motivated me to explore this topic.

The film is a surreal dream about sugar that brings the audiences into a neon-lit and porn-aesthetic psychedelic journey. The film uses multiple dream structure elements, making the dream-like wheels that one links with another dream. The candy dream lets the audience experience a dramatic visual journey and then alert the audiences of consuming too much sugar.

What does Fashion Media mean to you? 

I always want to link fashion and media together and create new forms of communication in the fashion industry. Fashion film is a way of doing that for me. Fashion media is more than that though. I am also interested in high-tech fashion. In the future, I would love to try a new approach and make fashion more like a media and media more fashionable.

Where did you study prior to London College of Fashion?

I studied BA Digital Media Arts in Communication University of China. It is a leading university in TV and media industry in China. My major is practiced-based course of creating digital media content and I am especially interested in making short films.

What would be your top three tips for prospective students? 

  • First, motivate yourself! I did a lot of projects, more than the course request us to do. I find strong self-motivation is the best teacher.
  • Secondly, collaboration is a must for making films. Film is group work to me. You are unlikely to make an outstanding film by yourself, so I suggest collaborating with as many people as possible and make your own crew. It would be ideal if you and your crew members have worked together several times and know each other well.
  • Thirdly, stick with what you are doing or what you are really interested in. I feel stressful every time I make a film because I have a whole crew to coordinate and a lot of things to think about. I would feel sad when the outcome didn’t reach my expectation. However, I am still sticking to it and I can feel my improvement from every working commission or film practice.

Why did you choose LCF and MA Fashion Media Production?

The first reason is I wanted to experience London. This city is such an artistic and dynamic place in the world and now I feel I made the right choice coming here. I considered applying to MA Fashion Photography but I’m personally more fond of making moving images. I think MA Fashion Media Production allows us to practice a wider area of fashion, we can submit all forms of media like film, magazine, installation and so forth.

What did you enjoy most about the course, and what did you find most challenging? 

I enjoyed exploring every project throughout my course. For example, I found my deep interest in dreams and surrealism. My fashion films are generally based on surrealistic dreams. In the future, I will probably be researching this topic further in my field. I am so grateful that my tutors helped me expand my ideas on every project instead of limiting me to think from their perspective. I was able to completely devote myself to every project because of this, which I found really interesting.

The challenging part was my English. I felt like it took me twice as long to read a book or journal as oppose to writing. That’s why I suggest for non-English speaker, it would be much easier if a solid English foundation is laid.

What is your favourite thing about studying in London? 

Collaborate with so many talented people! London is so magical that students are much easier to get to know or even work with masters or experienced people in their field. Every location is so unique that you just can’t stop making short films in London.

Have you undertaken any work experience or placements whilst at LCF?

Yes, I undertook several internships including making a series of films for Luxury Week London for MenStyleFashion.com. And later I undertook several commercial commissions to make short films for several Chinese companies.

Describe your work in five words…

Surrealistic, dreamy, dramatic, dark-romance and optimistic.

Who is your biggest inspiration or muse?

Christopher Nolan, Satoshi Kon and Wong Kar-Wai.

What are your future plans and how do you think the course has helped you realise this?

My future plan is to create fashion films on a global scale. I am going back to China now but I will still fly back to UK to make fashion films in Europe or even USA in the future. As the world has become smaller and the cultural exchange has become increasingly frequent, I would like to make fashion film internationally. The course gave me a global perspective. I experienced so many different cultures from Western to Europe that are now part of me. I feel this course has helped me enter the fashion industry!

LCF moving to Stratford: What do you think about the university moving east?

I am now living in east London and I can’t agree more with LCF moving to east because of its dynamic free atmosphere and maverick life style.