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.
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。
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。
Text : Natalie Ho
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