As LCFMA17 MA Womenswear catwalk show fast approaches, we speak to MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear graduate Yu Qing Lai who told us about her collection Mind the Gap, which will be appearing at the show on Thursday 16 February (watch it live streamed here).

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MA Womenswear graduate Yu Qing Lai. Photography by Felix Cooper, styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen.

Tell us about your collection?

My collection is called Mind the Gap. It was inspired by the London Underground and all of its workers. It combines menswear with womenswear to represent both bodies. I wanted to create a story for my collection. The story is about the women of the Underground and giving them an identity within their uniforms. I wanted to create a collection that shows the contrast between both genders, but also shows a women’s personality. I wanted to tell the story of women and their life’s after work – creating something they’d wear to bars or clubs that show you they really are.

Where did you study prior to your MA at LCF?

I studied Fashion Design (Menswear and Womenswear) at Beijing Union University. The degree taught me plenty of different techniques and software methods. It also combined business and design together.

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?

  • Time management! You need to stay onto your workload and deadlines.
  • Do your most interesting design or idea! You really need to focus on something when creating an idea so make sure it’s something you find interesting and you like it.
  • Research for your work is very important. Lay out books like photographs or a life journal when researching so you see multiple designs at the same time.

YUQING LAI 2017A/W

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Why did you choose LCF and MA Womenswear?

I wanted to study at LCF because it combines the commercial business element of fashion with design. It’s about creating garments for all people instead of creating just art.

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

The most challenging part of the course was time management. It is very difficult trying to translate an idea to a garment in such a short space of time. Trying to think and create ideas whilst you have deadlines is very challenging.

I’ve really enjoyed the pattern cutting and creating garments. It’s been great watching the clothes coming together and seeing people modelling them. I’ve really enjoyed the craftsmanship you learn on the course too.

What was your favourite thing about studying in London?

I love London! This city has so much history and there’s so much culture available to you at all times. I love sculptures and contemporary art so London is perfect for me. I love going to the Tate and V&A to draw and looking at new ideas. London has something for everyone!

Mood board for collection ideas.

Mood board for collection ideas.

Describe your style in five words… 

Drama, enjoyable, challenge, colourful and functional.

Do you have a muse? If so, who and why?

I don’t have a person I can call a muse, instead normal everyday people. I find life experiences inspirational and the idea of somebody wearing my clothes very inspirational.

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

LCF has really helped me understand the idea and control of garments. I want to use this experience and get an internship somewhere to really build my skills and development my vision. I was also an Art Assistant for three years before I started here, so I want to combine that art experience with fashion and hopefully build a brand. I want to get at least two years industry experience before carrying on with my brand.

Alumni can connect with LCF in the following ways: