Book nerds, rejoice. In a humorous but charming expression, London-based Steven Tai brought the image of the stereotypical nerd buried in her books to life at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. Substantial stacks of fabric carved up the body like awkward armour, suggesting unawareness of one’s body or clothes, but which were softened through his use of pastels and cuts that evoked the lightness in single sheets of paper. The Canadian revealed his spring/summer 2013 collection at Mercedes-Benz Berlin Fashion Week, where Dazed Group's fashion director Cathy Edwards selected Tai to be part of Mercedes-Benz FASHION BROADCASTING, a unique showcase on Dazed Digital of emerging fashion, filmmaking and culture. Here, the studious Central Saint Martins-trained designer speaks about his experience.
I love how the craft of bookbinding, with its precise craftsmanship and hand sewing, reminds me of the craft of clothes making
Dazed Digital: Both your graduate and latest collection stem from your love for books – tell us more about why they influence you?
Steven Tai: My parents are both avid readers, and being the only child, I was quick to follow suit as it provided much of my entertainment. I related so much to Belle from Beauty and the Beast when I was a kid and I was fascinated with her ability to read and turn the page with one hand. I love how the craft of bookbinding, with its precise craftsmanship and hand sewing, reminds me of the craft of clothes making.
DD: What propelled you to start your own label?
Steven Tai: I never thought about starting my own label so early, but winning the Chloé award at the Hyères festival in June really encouraged me to explore that possibility. And when Mercedes-Benz asked me to participate at MBFWB, it allowed me to create an extended collection based on my work at Hyères, which got me thinking about the market and the client.
DD: What are you currently fascinated by?
Steven Tai: Love, irony and nature.
DD: How do you feel about being part of the Mercedes-Benz FASHION BROADCASTING project? What was the experience like?
Steven Tai: It was a lot of fun. Meeting the Dazed team in Berlin was great. I remember when they arrived and I was fitting four models who came at their wrong call times, it was all still super relaxed and enjoyable. I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to work with the best teams as I have learned a lot from their professionalism. Berlin is such a great place to showcase as a new designer as it has a growing and yet already strong fashion scene.
DD: How important is it to you which city you show in?
Steven Tai: Every city's fashion week is almost a brand itself. There is an identity and characteristics related to each city and its important to find a place that represents your work.
Click HERE for more info on the Mercedez Benz FASHION BROADCASTING project
Photos by Alexandra Waespi