From the pulsating pavements of the New (York) World to the rues remouantes of the Old, get your Google on, this is an R-Rated tale of avant-garde, coming of couture age and unbridled potential; the kind that would never constrict one creator’s designs or personal style due to nationality.
A unique pioneer in the fashion industry, with an aesthetic as twisted and intriguing as a detective show. Clothing createuse extraordinaire Yun Qu (韵屈 in Chinese) is enthralled by the TV genre for its suspense and mystery at every turn, a sense of anticipation that even drove her to the name of her very own brand: Videmus Omnia (i.e. “we see all”).
Let us now truly dive into the deep dark pool of suspenseful fashion and speak with the haute couture designer who graces the city streets from the New World to the Old with her avant-garde designs.
High Temper Time to get up close and personal with Qu. On the creation and evolution of her brand.
Bio, Height,…: The Fashion Credentials
Laiter: Who, What, Where, When, Why?
Qu: My name is Yun Qu and I am the founder and creative director of Videmus Omnia. I’ve always had a different approach to fashion. I studied classical music from the age of five, before chasing my dreams as a fashion designer. I gradually developed a unique and unconventional style and was unsatisfied with the current fashion industry in New York, where the majority of brands are trend-oriented and lack variety, innovation, and creativity. This drove me to launch my own brand in October 2016.
Laiter: What sparked the passion for fashion?
Qu: Music. I always wore fancy and unique dresses during my piano recitals, and my mom loved fashion. It inspired me to start dressing differently to express myself.
When I started my own rock band in high school, I dressed as rebellious as I could. I would wear whatever I wanted to be different. I never wanted to be a designer, I wanted to be a musician. When I finally had to face reality and chose a career (like most Asian parents, mine didn’t want me to study music), I decided to study design. After a few years of school in Italy, I realized that music and fashion are so similar and require so much creativity. I developed my own way of designing clothes, using music as inspiration.
Where Mystery Meets Fashionable Monogamy
Laiter: How did the name for your brand come to be?
Qu: I am very into mysterious stories. The brand name, Videmus Omnia was inspired by a secret group I saw on a detective show. It means “We See Everything.” I have a vision that the future fashion industry will be supported and catered for millions of small fashion workshops, studios, and companies. This mysterious name will open many opportunities to experiment and innovate.
Laiter: What does fashion mean to you and how do you wish for your consumers to interpret fashion based on your designs?
Qu: I use fashion to express myself and create wearable art. I combine traditional haute couture along with my own unique techniques to finish each garment. I want my customers to dress boldly and differently to express themselves.
Laiter: From where do you draw inspiration?
Qu: Besides music, I draw inspiration from everywhere. I want to create something that people can’t see anywhere else. In a complete collection, I usually have multiple inspirations. Sometimes it’s based on emotion, sometimes it’s sound or light. I can merge all of my inspirations to make just one garment in a collection, or I use just one. But overall, I have a coherent look and design.
Multiple Languages Lead To Multiplied Opportunities
Laiter: How do you feel as a Chinese designer in the U.S. Opportunity, stigma?
Qu: I came to the United States when I was young, and I don’t have too many Chinese designer friends so I can’t really speak for them. I noticed that I have more opportunities to collaborate with people around the world because of my life experience and music background, and not because I’m Chinese. When I came to New York, I didn’t have a hard time fitting in.
Laiter: How do you feel that your brand story and ethics work with Temper Magazine’s “The R-Rated Issue”?
Qu: I don’t really like to touch on politics or religion. I usually do lots of experimenting with new techniques or materials, but I am against mass production, pollution, and material waste. Those are rated R in my book. I think that the fast fashion industry has ruined fashion and brought so much waste to the world.
Laiter: What are your feelings on the evolution of fashion and what this entails for the Chinese designer industry?
Qu: I think fashion evolved significantly during the 20th century. We saw so many different styles. Many designers in Europe and Japan had started to invent new materials and conducting unique fashion experiments. However, post-2000, the fashion industry became quite chaotic. Everybody wants to be a designer, everybody who has money wants to open a design studio. The fashion industry is oversaturated. It is not hard to start a brand, but it will be very hard to make a profit and sustain the company itself as an independent brand these days.
For the Chinese designer industry, there are pros and cons. China is a major market for fashion. More and more people care about what brands they wear and how they spend their money. I think because of our culture, we care about how we look and how we present ourselves. We can also distinguish the difference between good and poor quality.
It’s beneficial to young Chinese designers that Chinese factories are able to produce premium quality clothing.
From Tacky To New Tags
Laiter: Do you believe the Made in China tag can change? Is fashion too rigid in China or even in New York City? Is there even room to grow?
Qu: The Made in China label has already changed. I think that many Chinese people have already made important contributions to the fashion industry. There are premium quality clothes being produced in China, many skilled pattern- and sample-makers are from China and there are factories around the world being opened by Chinese.
Fashion is also rapidly changing across mainland China; many fashion students are returning from abroad to bring what they know to the domestic market.
Nonetheless, fashion is still very rigid in China, even in New York. I believe the industry will change in the future due to young designers, Chinese or not.
Laiter: Although we are in a country with freedom of speech, do you still feel like you are limited in what you want to create?
Qu: I am able to create whatever I want for now. As a designer who is based outside of China, I do have a fear that the Chinese government would discourage their people from opening companies overseas.
Laiter: How do you feel about mixing religion and fashion?
Qu: I don’t really believe in religion. I am liberal and believe that aliens exist or even created us. I just think designers are able to mix whatever they want as long as they believe in what they are trying to do.
Favorite fashion quote?
“I don’t do fashion, I AM fashion.”
— Coco Chanel
Fashion IS a religion.
FEATURED IMAGE: DESIGN BY VIDEMUS OMNIA— MODELED BY JIAJU SHEN OF THE EITHER, 2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WRITTEN BY JESSICA LAITER FOR TEMPER MAGAZINE, “THE R-RATED ISSUE”
EDITED BY ELSBETH VAN PARIDON FOR TEMPER MAGAZINE
THE CONTENT AND IMAGERY IN THIS FEATURE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN TEMPER MAGAZINE’S “THE R-RATED ISSUE”, NO. 3, 2019. ANY FORM OF REPRODUCTION WITHOUT PRIOR CONSENT IS PROHIBITED.
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Laiter went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese Studies and Communications Rhetoric at The University of Pittsburgh and a Master's Degree in Translation at NYU. Immediately after college, she moved to New York City and since then has worked in a number of different industries such as branding, manufacturing, fashion, public relations and real estate. China always acting as the common denominator.
Inspired by her career, Laiter launched a website called Chinese Graffiti, on which she features emerging Chinese designers, talks about the intersection of tradition and modernity in China, as well as the evolution of society and business culture. As time went on, she sought out like-minded businesses individuals who were interested in a similar market, which is how she became involved with Temper Magazine.
The China market is creating a whirlwind around the glob and it’s only just getting started.
The world can be a small place with a dash of mutual understanding and Laiter loves to be the storyteller who helps to bridge that gap.
Latest posts by Jessica Laiter (see all)
- Close-Up: The New Made In China Resolution — Videmus Omnia - October 14, 2019
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- A Fast And Furious 360 Turn: How Technology Fuels The Fashion Industry - August 19, 2019