Only 4 years ago Min Wu moved to London as a fashion design student - first at Central Saint Martins then an MA at London College of Fashion, where she learnt crucial lessons in life from the art of listening to how to make decisions and trust herself. After an internship at Giles Deacon then at Kirsty Ward, the young designer made up her mind and founded her eponymous brand. Early this year, she presented her Fall/Winter collection at Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week to press and buyers’ appraisals. Entitled “Atmosphere and Automation”, the collection is a follow up of her MA graduation collection of dreamy colors and sculpted shapes. Wearing her own creations and a Kirsty Ward necklace, she tells us in a cafe in London’s West End, “I feel it was destiny. I am really happy about the situation now. It is still difficult, but I never regret it.”
Recently named “one to watch” designer by Fashion Scout, Ms. Wu tells Playing Fashion how she establishes herself as an emerging designer miles away from home with the physical and psychological support of family, friends and colleagues to live out her destiny.
I’M NOT ONLY INTERESTED IN FASHION
I always like fine art when I was young. I started learning painting and drawing, when I was 12. When I was in high school in China, I was thinking what I should be doing for the rest of my life, which would be the best for me to do, which is something I am good at, which I would also enjoy for the rest of my life. I applied to study fashion and set design. When I entered university, after 4 years of study and even when I first came here, I still feel a lot of passion for fashion.
SOMETIMES I WANT TO BE A DOCTOR OR LAWYER
(Jokes and laughs) My neighbors are all lawyers and bankers. They have a stable income, nice flats, and regular life. They go to work at 10 and finish work at 6. They don’t think about work after 6. Since I am working for myself, it is easy to mess up regular life. Now, I try to get everything done during working hours. I think that is something when you start doing yourself, you need to learn: you are not a student anymore.
I wanted to follow up from the color and shape of my graduation collection to make it more wearable. I developed the material, fabrics, and 3D element. It’s not just I have something to say with my new work, so I need to use 3D print. I wanted to make it more functional and flexible, so I found this method to do it.
ONE THING I HAVE LEARNT
is: to find the right person to do the right thing for you, a person who you can trust, who is good at the job, then, just let them do it, because it is difficult to find a person who really understands you and what you are talking about. For this 3D printing job, I drew the 3D sketches and made this model to make sure my printer understood the shape and twists, because this element is 3 way twisted. Somehow it worked quite well. We only fixed the 3D file once, then, it’s done.
MY MUM AND MY GRANDMOTHER ARE REALLY GOOD LISTENERS
When I am really confused about something, I always talk to them, they always give me good advice. My mum is also a businesswoman. She always gives me advice on business strategy, future plans or how to deal with people. That is really really helpful. She also supports me by trusting me. That is the most important thing.
I REALLY APPRECIATE MY FRIENDS HERE
like Momo Wang, especially since doing this is not really easy, it is not just about physically supporting you or introducing you to someone or presenting you to buyers. Momo and I are a generation of young Chinese designers based here. What we do is psychologically support each other, give each other positive energy and share information.
I AM NOT THE KIND OF PERSON
who wants to concentrate on just one thing. I might have some future collaborative project coming up, though I can’t tell you explicitly right now.
Photography by Anya Holdstock; styling by Aartthie Mahakuperan; hair by David Noble; make-up by Adele Sanderson; model: Alice Cornish / Elite London.
Opening Image: top and skirt by Marni; sandals by Topshop. All pieces throughout the story - Min Wu; sunglasses by COS.