We talk to Vancouver based designer Melissa Yin ahead of her Vancouver Fashion Week showcase.
MM: Can you introduce yourself and your brand?
Melissa: Melissa Yin is a leather-based women’s ready to wear brand. I'm originally from China and moved to Canada a few years ago. I studied Fashion at LaSalle College in Vancouver from 2015-2017, and then started my brand right after I graduated.
MM: How did you come to be a fashion designer? Did you always want to be a fashion designer?
Melissa: Fashion Design was my childhood dream career. My mom used to be a dressmaker. In China, in the early 80’s, my Mom made me an incredible school bag that was so fashionable-it was made of tons of scrap leftover fabric. Since then, I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer.
MM: Why did you decide to start your own brand?
Melissa: I ended up in a business career and every morning I found I could never find the right clothing to wear. Due to these experiences, I decided to be a designer specifically to design clothing for businesswomen. Fashion has always been my passion, and now to have my own brand means that I can supply the best clothing to my clients.
MM: What are the most important considerations when designing with leather?
Melissa: Leather supplies!
MM: What drives you to design with leather in particular?
Melissa: In the 70’s and 80’s, leather was so popular, there was such a diverse set of styles. I find that incredibly inspiring. Now I explore and develop leather, adopting vintage styles to current trends.
MM: What are you feeling inspired by at the moment? Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?
Melissa: To be a niche designer is not easy. Fabric innovation is the most challenging part. I read science articles about new developments, which inspires me. I travel often, meet different people, and look at what they are wearing.
MM: As a leather artisan, you must always be on the look out for new versions of this material to incorporate into your designs. Can you tell us about any in particular?
Melissa: Lamb stretch leather is the brand's main material because it has the benefits of combined leather and fabric. Our mission is to dye it to the desired colour, and make it durable.
MM: What part of the design process do you enjoy most?
Melissa: I love machine sewing. Matching every single seam perfectly. Accuracy is key.
MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W 18 collection NINE TO FIVE?
Melissa: The 70’s! Pop red colour, flared pants, and grease leather. The flattering designs give today’s busy woman confidence going from day to night. The elegant lines are perfect for the office while the leather brings an evening feel for after work. Zipper details add an edgy feel whilst also being functional.
MM: Can you describe the colour palette of your F/W 18 collection?
Melissa: It’s a palette of striking contrasts; Red, Black, and Ivory.
We cannot wait to see the collection on the Vancouver Fashion Week runway. Thank you Melissa for taking time to talk to Micro Macro about your leather-based brand.
Photos by Arun Nevader/Getty Images for Global Fashion Collective.