Nice To Meet You Teasy and Friszi!
Earlier this month we got the opportunity to meet Teasy (to the right) and new collection collaborator, Friszi (to the left). We were able to interview the two and find out more, about this collection and also what it's like to be a young designer and creative.
The collection Is called ‘Nice to meet you’, could you explain to us what this collection is about?
“Nice to Meet You” is a collaborative collection designed by Teasy Shiruo Sun and Friszi Tianyang Jin. The collection is based on this narrative that we created, of a child finding his/her true self:
A child has been living in a comfortable glass house since their birth, until a bunny enters their life. The bunny’s appearance enthrals the child’s curiosity and encourages them to step out of their comfort zone, and eventually leads the child to find their true selves in nature.
“Nice to Meet You” thus could be a cheerful greeting from the child to his/her true self. However, it may also be the child’s greeting to anything new appearing in his/her life such as the bunny and the world outside the glass house. As children’s wear designers, we want to educate children value through our designs and we think that “finding the true self” is something each individual needs to go through since their childhoods.
What’s different about this collection to ‘Ah La’?
“Ah La” is more personal and informative. It is inspired by my childhood memories with my grandfather and is about traveling, playing and learning. It is heavily based on research and is deeply rooted in Shanghainese culture. Different from “Ah La”, “Nice To Meet You” is much more about fantasy and is more of freedom— the collection is based on an original story, created by my collaborator Friszi and I, through our own imaginations. There was no rule to follow when we were creating the collection— we just followed our hearts and sketched out whatever inspirations flashed upon our mind.
If you were to describe this collection in only three words what would they be?
Ingenuity, lively, natural
Playful, natural, fantasy.
Being a young designer, what have you learnt so far and how has this affected your practice within design?
Be prepared when things don’t go the way as expected. Always have a plan B. So many accidents might happen during design process even when it comes to the last minute. When something wrong happens, stay calm and positive and push yourself to think in unusual ways that might work things out. Sometimes thinking outside the box might even cause better results.
It’s very different when you experience how the industry and the market work in terms of design. You always need to make a balance between what the market wants you to do, and your own instinct and design philosophy. On the other side, it is also very exciting when you meet people in the industry who share the same aesthetics and thoughts on design with you. Those people really influence you and inspire you to keep working on what you originally have in your mind.
What influences you when creating new narratives/ideas?
Traveling and the little things in my life. I take a lot of photos along my trips —they might look normal at the moment but I always find them inspiring when I look back at them. Everything happens in my trips influences my design thinking and I don’t usually realize it until I start sketching out ideas and creating textile samples. I was traveling in the Lake District, England in October, 2018 and I got to visit Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top in Cumbria. Everything there was poetic and picturesque and I was amazed by the beauty of nature. In the story of “Nice To Meet You”, the child finally find their true selves in the nature. And all I thought about “nature” when I was designing were the landscapes that inspired me at Hill Top. Therefore, I transformed my memories of Hill Top to the garment through textile design and all the photos I took during my trip became great first-hand research.
I also find little things that I appreciate in my life inspiring— there is a pair of Vivienne Westwood skeleton earrings I own that I really love. They are finished with hinged and movable joints which means every single part of the skeleton body is movable. One day, I kept looking at them and playing the earrings in my hands. They were so fun and made me think about marionette— why don’t I apply this play concept to my designs— eventually the earrings inspired me and made me create the knit bunny puppet that is attached to a jacket in the collection, which also has movable arms and legs and can be controlled with attached knit cords. Inspirations to me are so spontaneous and can be found everywhere.
The nature is always a big theme in my head. It’s what keeps me realizing who I am as an individual. The nature is the essence, but what makes the work more unique is always a combination of several subtle elements like combinations of colours, prints, fibres which definitely add more fun to life.
You’re personality is very fun and we first saw this in the first collection you created, what made you think about creating interactive fashion that kids could actually play with?
Children’s wear to me is all about happiness and fun and these are what make it distinct from fashion in other categories. I remember when I was a child, my favourite piece of clothing was a picture knitting cardigan that had 3D knit toys on the surface. The knit toys were interactive and all the whimsical details on the garment allowed me to imagine and make up different stories in my head. When I design for kids, I think a lot about what I used to love as a little child and interacting is a really good way for children to learn things and to have fun at the same time. As a children’s wear designer, I would love see how I can interpret interactive fashion in my own ways and make it unique.
What inspired you to work in the Children’s fashion industry?
I love working with kids! Also, growing up in my life, I realized everything I learned as a little child has shaped who I am today. As I found out the importance of childhood, I think it will be powerful to combine children’s fashion and education together and to make fashion beyond its literal meaning. To me, the possibilities of changing a child’s life through fashion is beautiful.
My little brother is the very initial reason that makes me want to do childrenswear, but as I approach more in childrenswear, I found much more interests and energies and enthusiasm compare to the rest of the fashion world. Childrenswear is open to more playfulness while it sometimes is more complex than womenswear in terms of the choices of fabrics and trims.
This year, will we be expecting more exciting things to come?
Yes! I have always been obsessed with the mood in 30S Shanghai and “the Shanghai nostalgia” is something rooted in me that I am really proud of. I really want to create an interactive collection that performs as a time machine and brings the wearers back to the 1930s Shanghai living environment and allows them to discover the charm of those years. I have had this idea for a long time but am still waiting for the best time to let it come.
What would your advice be to young creatives?
Be proactive. Show your designs to everyone, learn what they like about them and what they don’t like about. Seek for the opportunities and reach out to the people you don’t know. You never know what’s gonna happen.
If you had only one goal that you’d like to accomplish this year, what would it be?
Live in the moment.
I really seek to build a way that allows natural dye to be more applicable in commercial childrenswear design.
Find out more about the collection here at: https://www.nicetomeetu.net/lookbook