Interview on "Meet The Creatives"- Tsang Fan Yu

Feature / Meet The Creatives

 

Design as Self Discovery - Tsang Fan Yu

 

Design rookie Tsang Fan-yu shares his unusual path from social work to fashion.

 

Tsang Fang-yu has just finished the first year of his higher diploma course in fashion and textiles at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University but he already won a major award at the Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest (YDC) back in January.  This means he entered the contest as soon as he enrolled in the course, before he had started any formal training.  It seems as if he’s determined to make up for lost time.

 

Fan-yu started to become interested in clothes while in secondary school but failed to get into a fashion school.  Also the pressure to study something “practical” led him to pursue a degree in social work.  Being a dutiful son he kept his promise with his mum to finish his degree but upon getting his social worker’s license, he decided that he really wanted to pursue a career in fashion design so eventually enrolled in the higher diploma course.

 

He said, “however my degree also helps me with design because in social work we often talk about the importance of knowing yourself.  A designer should definitely try to dig deep and understand yourself more if you want to do well.”

 

So far, it seems his maturity and self awareness are helping him make a head start.  Knowing that he has had no artistic training, Fan-yu tries to use an illustration style that expresses his ideas in a simple way.  He is also willing to take advice and help from his girlfriend Natari, a fashion design graduate herself.  He confesses that he cannot yet handle colours very well, but is more comfortable working on form and fabric.

 

Japanese culture plays a huge influence on Fan-yu’s designs.  He’s fascinated with both popular and traditional Japanese cultures such as anime, the samurais and wabisabi, a buddhist beauty aesthetic that was also the concept behind his YDC collection. “With wabisabi, you’re exploring the meaning of things.  They may look minimalist but there are thoughts that go behind them and all the details have meaning.”

 

For his wabisabi-inspired menswear collection, Fan-yu designed a pair of trendy white sneakers to go with the outfits, which landed him the big prize. He won the Best Accessories Design Award and the reward was the commercialisation of this design by i.t apparels Limited.  The sneakers - 5cm x YDC Best Accessories Design Award will be launched on May 20 at selective 5cm shops in Hong Kong.

 

“Both my outfits and shoes were meant to be functional.  I wanted to present an image of a modern Japanese boy so I used stretchy materials to makes these sandals/sneakers.” For someone who only started working on his first ever collection a year ago, the opportunity to see his design in a real shop was, needless to say, a huge boost and a dream come true.  He said he finally felt like a fashion designer knowing that his design can be bought in a shop.

 

It comes as no surprise that Fan-yu’s favourite designer is Yohji Yamamoto.  “Having read his autobiography ‘My Dear Bomb’, I’m so impressed by how he pours his soul into his clothes and follows his heart and vision,” he said.  Seeing how the maestro built his career step by step also encourages Fan-yu in his own quest to find a place of his own in the fashion world.

 

With one more year left on his studies, Fan-yu hopes to eventually set up his own brand but in the meantime, he’s trying to enter into more competitions to gain more experience and visit overseas fashion weeks to broaden his horizon.  He also has not forgotten his “roots”, as he will be writing a column for a social work website set up by his friends to share his experience and extraordinary career switch.

 

 

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專題報導/創意背後

 

發現自己-曾繁宇

 

設計新秀曾繁宇從社工跳進時尚的大觀園。

 

曾繁宇才剛剛完成了香港理工大學服裝及紡織學高級文憑的第一年,不過他在今年一月就已快人一步在香港青年時裝設計家創作表演賽(YDC)中摘下了一個大獎;即是他在還沒有受過任何正規訓練時便已提交表格參加比賽,似乎決心要彌補失去的時間。

 

曾繁宇在中三、中四開始便對衣服感到興趣,但升大學時卻未能考進任何時裝院校。加上家人希望他選擇比較實際的科目,以致他最終選讀社工。期間他有過掙扎,但最後仍兌現了對母親的承諾,完成學位並成為註冊社工。不過他最後覺得真的想投身時裝界,便入讀了這個高級文憑課程。

 

他說:「但我的社工學位對於設計也有幫助的。例如我們會強調了解自己的重要性,同樣地設計師也要深入了解自己,才能做到最好。」

 

能看清楚自己的長處與不足,他的設計也開始得不錯。由於沒有藝術基礎,曾繁宇會嘗試以簡單的繪圖風格來表達自己的意念。他也樂於接受本身是時裝設計系畢業的女友Natari的意見和幫助。他承認對於色彩仍未能處理得太好,所以更著重衣服的線條和布料。

 

曾繁宇深受日本文化影響,不論是傳統或是流行文化,如動漫、武士道和侘寂,他也同樣著迷。他的YDC得獎系列便是從侘寂中取得靈感,這是源自日本佛教的美感概念。 「侘寂是探索事物的意義。表面上看來簡約的,其實背後有很多思想,所有的細節都是有意思的。」

 

為了配襯這個男裝系列,曾繁宇設計了一對緊貼潮流的白色運動鞋,也因此贏得了「最佳時尚飾物獎」,贊助商i.t apparels Limited將這個設計投產。運動鞋將於5月20日起在指定5cm店發售。

 

「我的衣服和鞋都著重功能性。我想展示一個現代的日本男孩形象,所以用上了具彈性的潛水衣料造這對像日本涼鞋的波鞋。」曾繁宇在一年前才著手設計人生的第一個系列,到了現在他的設計便能在時裝店中出售,這對他來說是「不可思議、夢寐以求」。他說知道自己的設計在店裡賣,才終於覺得自己算是一個時裝設計師。

 

不難想像曾繁宇最欣賞的設計師是山本耀司。他說。「我看了他的自傳My Dear Bomb,很佩服他能將自己的靈魂傾注入衣服之內,隨心隨性地做設計。」眼看大師如何一步一步建立事業,令他對自己的轉折路途也有所領悟,希望自己也能最終在時裝世界中佔一位置。

 

曾繁宇尚有一年時間來完成整個課程,期間他希望參加更多設計比賽汲取經驗,也計劃參觀海外時裝週擴闊視野,然而最終他當然也希望能建立自己的品牌。與此同時,他並沒有忘記自己的「根」,就是在朋友開設的社工網站中分享由社工轉戰時裝的經歷。

 

Text : Natalie Ho

 

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