Singapore. City-state, sweaty sultriness, home to an increasing number of foreign company headquarters (most fleeing Hong Kong due to the ever-eerily-darkening Mainland shadows slowly but steadily gathering over its tall buildings there) and the place the following designer calls home.
Temper Magazine presents a quick one-on-one with poised Shanghai-based Singaporean Fresh Fashion Tasty Ylin Lu of YUMUMU who is currently on the cusp of unveiling her first eponymous collection.
YUMUMU has been described as “Japan-inspired Singapore fashion”. The brand’s neutral palettes show off impeccable skills through the treatment of the fabric: Folded, pleated, asymmetrically draped and seamlessly stitched. This may sound complicated, but in fact shows off a garment that excels in a calm simplicity. Now, let’s see what the serene Lu has to say about her new line!
1. She who dares and wears Ylin Lu design.
Lu: “The Ylin Lu muse is a contemporary art enthusiast with an intense taste for nostalgia and an energetic curiosity for the future. I think she is the perfect embodiment of the urbanite we can all relate to: Inspired, paradoxical, but resolutely modern. Why did I choose to “do” fashion professionally, one might ask? Because it’s all about capturing that one moment in time; it constantly keeps you chasing after it. I find that aspect absolutely fascinating.” [Ever-evolving, fashion should be indeed. I obviously very much like the “chasing” bit.]
2. Sustainable, summer, silhouette.
Lu: “Truth be told, I’m not overly concerned with using sustainable fabrics when it comes to my designs. I think a good design that has been carefully thought out/about and is sold in limited quantities will not be considered wastage; hence the damage to the environment remains minimal. I don’t prefer a particular silhouette but I definitely don’t make clothes that are unflattering. I’m also a firm believer of ready-to-wear, clothes that evolve with our everyday lives and reflect the generation of their time. I’m certainly not interested in fashion that’s better situated in a museum. [True. Yet ironically, if you’re really lucky, one day your designs will end up in a museum.] I’m a summer girl at heart, having grown up in a tropical place where it’s summer all year long. However, when it comes to fashion, I think Spring/Fall have got to be my favorites as you can still play with layering and varying styles without the need to be too concerned about the climate; it’s neither too hot in spring nor too cold in fall!”
Lu: “I keep a whole folder of images/music/text that I find interesting. My assistant and I will then start looking at fabrics and see how they can fit into some of the stories I’ve started to build in my head. Working with a small team keeps the whole process really fluid and organic. Every now and then I even get visions of different color schemes before I go to bed.” [She’s not kidding. Or dropping any letters in the alphabet. I’m obviously kidding — Dutch humor.]
Lu: “Whatever material culture we have in Singapore has always been represented in a very literal way and I must admit I strongly dislike that. I think every product is a reflection of the designer’s background and therefore my design undeniably says a lot about what I’ve experienced or seen in life thus far, but I certainly don’t overthink this when I design. Living in China has made me understand more of the traditional East Asian aesthetic that I in fact wasn’t exposed to in Singapore and I think that will gradually affect my design. In a good way!” [Singapore is indeed one of those confusing/intriguing places when it comes to the concept of national, let alone cultural, “identity” and the likes.]
5. The future.
Lu: “We’re setting up our online store in Singapore for our existing line YUMUMU in July and would be taking part in a tradeshow in New York this September for YLIN LU!” [From a city-state to the States. And so we have lift-off.]
If there’s one thing one can attribute to Lu it is that, very much like her clothing, she gets to the point. A quality I personally appreciate in both people and accessories. Whether it’s her use of perforated fabric or a stitching of studs, each piece (and perhaps paradoxically so) manages to exude a feeling of calm determination with severely yet securely cut lines. Contrasting to her birthplace of Singapore, I see no confusion here, only a confirmation of the designer’s creative beliefs and inspirations. Truly modern, indeed.
PS: Follow Lu on Instagram @ylinlu !