Vancouver based fashion designer
MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?
Our designs are heavily based on shapes and proportions. The underlying message is to empower our customers through a heuristic process. As for myself, I was drawn into the world of fashion at a young age. The vibrant Japanese streetwear culture was my starting point. Once I finished my degree in Business, I attended fashion school and involved myself in various couture and tailoring ateliers to expand my horizons and fulfil my dream.
MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?
I have always been an enthusiast of art and fashion. You can interpret artwork freely as there is no fixed answer to clarify the meaning. Art and fashion, to me, are very personal and imaginative. I see fashion as an alternative method to display my visions and emotions because I can tailor fashion into an expression of my own. At the same time, the audience can interpret my work based on their own imagination and experience.
MM: Can you describe your creative process?
I begin my creative process by researching and brainstorming, this stage usually takes the longest time. Once I have a clear vision about the collection, I begin to sketch out the ideas and silhouettes. I would say the most creative moment is the fitting sessions. I directly cut and drape fabrics on the models. At the end, it all comes down to modifying and tailoring the garments to create an illusion of my own.
MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?
I can find inspiration literally anywhere; from an art piece from the 14th century in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to a trash can on Pender Street. Working with my team, and the scenarios that happen in my personal life, are very inspiring too.
MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?
I ask myself a lot of questions when I begin creating a collection. The most often asked questions are: what’s the story behind the collection? and how does this relate to me and the people who inspire me?
MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?
I had the amazing opportunity to work with Rimpy Sahota, a local designer, for my first ever internship. She taught me the knowledge of business of fashion. I learned a lot by observing her approach to marketing and the way she operates her brand.
MM: How do you find working as a designer in Canada? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?
It is not easy on a personal level, but it has been an amazing journey. My designs reflect my ideas and experiences with different cultural backgrounds; my works and I are basically one.
MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?
I am constantly motivated to create something new and innovative, that’s probably my favourite part of being a designer. Seeing the positive impacts my designs bring to my consumers is very fulfilling as well. My goal of pushing fashion forward drives me to create every single day.
MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W19 collection which was showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?
Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist, inspired me to integrate menswear and tailoring elements into womenswear. Personal life experiences also played a huge part in the collection as well.
Thank you for giving us an insight into your brand Ryan Li.
Check out Ryan Li at: Atelieryanli.com