For Kerhao Yin, fashion illustration and fashion design go hand in hand. Recently graduated from the MA Womenswear at Central Saint Martins, the half Burmese, half Taiwanese designer refined his technique at Chloé and Vanessa Bruno in Paris and is now embarking on the exciting journey of a namesake label with a striking AW 11/12 collection that translates his tendency for volume and colour. Kerhao’s illustrations have been published in ELLE and Harper’s Bazaar, and he has an upcoming project in the works for the new Danish publication Teapaper.
Dazed Digital: How would you describe your design style?
Kerhao Yin: Effortless yet bold, young and playful. Colour, texture and intricate detailing are a strong basis for my designs. Painting is another important side to my creative process, so I believe that aspect influences my designs.
DD: How have Chloé’s and Vanessa Bruno’s more classic feminine aesthetic influenced your A/W 2011 collection?
Kerhao Yin: It doesn’t influence me directly in terms of the obvious aesthetic. My own style is more graphic and younger but I am glad that I had both the Chloe and Vanessa Bruno experience because the femininity is such a big part of the two brands. They put a lot of effort into making sure the clothes are easy to wear, so it helped me to think a lot about the practicality and the simplicity of my designs. That, I believe, is where the modernity lies.
DD: Are your sketches different from your illustrations?
Kerhao Yin: Yes and no. Sketches are more spontaneous; a way of recording my initial thoughts, so they are normally created quickly with very limited media. I usually don't overwork the sketches. Illustrations on the other hand, are a series of drawings with which I can build a narrative and further explore my ideas and techniques in detail. But both my sketches and illustrations are created by hand, so the quality of line and technique, especially the use of colour, can be seen in both.
DD: Do they draw from the same inspirations?
Kerhao Yin: They normally do. A lot of what I see and experience in daily life filters through into my designs and illustration. I am drawn to the idea of extreme behaviour of youth, especially of those struggling, from social documentary photography from the early 20th century to Ken Loach, Larry Clark Films to the work of Dash Snow. What I try to achieve in my work is understanding and examining my deeper thoughts and experiences and conveying these into my garments. It is more that sense of aura and belonging that I wish to express but then put the concept in a womenswear collection, as a type of femininity that is stripped down, honest and above all real. That was the idea for my MA collection. Without any specific gender in mind, I started looking for old sportswear jackets, windbreakers and ski suits to play with. The vintage Adidas stripes and colour-block elements in the collection are the results of playing around and research. Then I tried to break these industrial sportswear elements up with couture fabrics like Boucle and Duchess Satin. I think the clean textural sportswear idea really defines my aesthetic.
DD: What are your plans for next season?
Kerhao Yin: I would love to go ahead with a new collection for the next season as there are so many ideas to explore and so many stories I want to tell. I hope to have a fixed decision within the next couple of months. As a young designer in London financial implications are a reality that holds one back, but I am optimistic!