Our LCFMA18 MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear catwalk show is on Friday 5 January, and our Graduate Spotlight series continues with MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear grad Ming Lai Lee from Hong Kong. Her collection will appear at the show and here we discussed her work, inspirations and her time at LCF.

Tell us about your final collection…

My final project explores the realm of perfection and imperfection by studying handmade and high technology textiles, which express the illusion of beauty. The idea came from researching the dilemma in fashion about the social body and individual body. I wanted to explore ‘transforming identity’, to express the dynamic of beauty without considering the body. In my practice, I want to capture and extract something which has not been considered as beauty through the design process. I used line drawing and textile making, felt, to form a garment.

Talk us through any specific techniques you used

Felt is the main textile technique in my collection, to embrace the unique beauty of the oldest known textile technique in human culture. It also embraces the unique aesthetics of hand craft.

What influenced your final collection?

I was influenced by Francis Bacon’s work, Self-Portrait 1969. He demonstrated decoding the form of the object to reduce the recognition of the object in our mind, in order to increase the accessibility based on emotional interaction. Through this idea, my collection gained a sense of distortion and blurry aesthetic when analysing the research and experimentation. Perhaps, this sense of blurriness is because we have registered with what we know to be perfect form.

Describe your work in 3 words…

Illusion, perfect, imperfect

What would be your top tips to new students…

Time management is the most important thing because during the whole process, there are different challenges in all stages. You will need to allow yourself to balance everything, so planning in advance is one of the keys.

Visiting art galleries and museums, and experiencing masterpieces in front of you is also important. Apart from understanding the concept behind the work, experiencing the impact cannot be described in words.

What made you chose LCF and London…

The course at LCF emphasises the balance between technical skill and creativity. I prefer my designs to be wearable and connect with people, so LCF was the option for me. I also enjoy researching in London, especially looking for related art work or art exhibitions – it helps your research and understanding of the art movement. The most interesting thing is exploring artists who use different approaches to express a similar language through their art work.

What were the highlights and challenges of your course…

The highlight was the Collaborative Unit. Through the collaboration with other experts, we can further expand our investigation into different areas. It’s just like a skills exchange.

The biggest challenge was the ability to deal with problems through managing the whole process, from design idea, time management, collaboration to making a product.

Have you been on a work placement or internship…

I have work experience before studying for my MA. I worked for a high-end womenswear brand and a knitwear company.

My biggest inspirations and muses are…

I do not have a muse. But I tend to look for something unrecognised in between two aspects.

What are your plans for life after your MA…

I was aiming to set up the basic structure of my own label during the course.  Now I want to have a job in London to gain more working experience, and I might test my own label in the market at the same time. I would like to combine what I have learnt from my work experience and the knowledge from LCF to continue my journey.

LCF is moving east. What do you think about the move…

I am looking forward with a positive attitude to this new campus. I think it will increase more opportunities for students to embrace their work, and the collaboration opportunities between different students from different courses.