Yan Fong is a fashion designer, lecturer and winner of international fashion awards including FFFashion. After graduating Yan lived in Pairs and has travelled extensively among the top fashion capitals like London, New York, Paris, los Angeles and Hong Kong. She’s worked with high fashion houses such as Anna Sui and Topshop and aspires to spread her message to us through the fashion world. Yan tells us how she broke into the fashion industry with her unique designs and one of her ambitions is to express her thoughts on anti-fur to us through noticeable fashion statements.
FSF: How did you gain the skills that made you the Fashion Designer you are today?
Yan: To be a successful designer you have to have a strong design philosophy that lasts a long time and apply it on its best form, either from a concept presentation to product development and to the end product. We need to train ourselves to have a wide array of skills from concept development like drawing design sketches and CAD pattern, selecting a nice fabric that move and drape well, to sample development such as pattern making and sewing, ensuring that the products looks great in the runway and become hot items in department stores.
FSF: Describe your journey as a fashion designer
Yan: I graduated with a Fashion and Textile Design Bachelor Degree in Hong Kong Polytechnic University (ITC) and studied a Fashion and Art Major in New York Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). These are the doors which helped me access the fashion industry. After graduating I lived in Paris and I took freelance design jobs to support my living, this fashion capital planted the seed of tasteful eyes and elegant taste with its delighting sense of high fashion. Throughout the years I was able to learn from different fashion houses and global brands such as LVMH group, Arcadia Group etc and travel extensively among the top capitals like London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Hong Kong for inspiration, fashion shooting and production. Design leads an important role in my life journey and this is where the passion comes from everyday.
FSF: What does your job entail?
Yan: I work on a wide scoop of design nature and activities, that’s why a morning cappuccino is essential! At the beginning of each collection we will start with creating an idea and producing design concepts, then selecting nice materials and fabrics in the colours that we like to imagine that shapes each look. We will work with the tailor and sewer to make our first fitting samples and when all the samples are ready we will work with the photographer and stylist for an in-house fashion shoot and when the lookbook is ready, we start planning and developing ranges and pricing. After the runway and fashion shows we will meet with buyers for orders and so on. Meanwhile we will send out lookbook to fashion magazine editor and receive more enquiries and interviews.
I am also a fashion design and marketing guest lecturer on various subjects such as design collection, CAD print and pattern etc. My students are from different professions such as banking and retailing and they have a great passion on developing fashion design as their next career. Some of my students had been promoted to top fashion institutes such as CSM and LSF and I have students who have won international fashion awards such as FFFashion
FSF: To date what is your most noticeable project?
Yan: It is hard to say which project is the most noticeable one, if I had to pick one it would be the project I worked on with the leading welfare organization, Born Free USA, the runway show used high fashion to spread the message of anti-fur. We have to make a noticeable fashion statement. I often take projects related to animal welfare and sustainable fashion.
FSF: What’s the hardest thing about being a fashion designer and what are some of the obstacles you’ve encountered along the way?
Yan: The hardest part is to balance the creative mind with a commercial decision; it needs to be in the same weight of importance. Behind every unique design piece, we need to give them a price, a price that we feel comfortable to sell it and the way we sell it and also how to market it. As the design world is one of the most competitive industries only the strongest and smartest can be survivors as a product with commercial value is very important. Additionally, gaining support from people who are willing to invest their money and their time on your profession and your product is a big gain along the path.
FSF: What do you love about being a fashion designer?
Yan: I just love what I am doing to create the design that spreads the message for a better world visually. The influence behind my winning anti-fur fashion FFFashion competition entry was immediate and impressive, the press and media were excited to know the story behind the seam and this gave me the opportunity to speak for my design philosophy and also the statement as an anti-fur designer. It’s having a motivating spirit that keeps me moving forward and focusing on what I can and will be in the future.
FSF: What’s the best advice you would give to beginners and amateurs?
Yan: Start developing these skills at a young age. Be prepared to devote hours of time to perfecting your designs and pay attention to detail. Working out that fashion is your passion, defining your goal in this industry and how you achieve can do well for our world, otherwise, purchasing endless frames will just become the slave of fashionista with no contribution to the healing of the world.
Source: First Step Fashion