Eileen Chan Interview

Durante la rassegna Hong Kong: Constant Change, mostra multimediale sulla creatività che ha coinvolto circa 60 progetti realizzati da vari designers giapponesi, ho avuto la possibilità di fare due chiacchere […]

Schermata 2014-06-03 a 22.08.30
Durante la rassegna Hong Kong: Constant Change, mostra multimediale sulla creatività che ha coinvolto circa 60 progetti realizzati da vari designers giapponesi, ho avuto la possibilità di fare due chiacchere con Eileen Chan, designer e fondatrice di The Yesterday Skin.
Vi lascio scoprire questo bellissimo progetto attraverso le sue parole!

F – How started your passion for clothes and vintage?
Eileen – I liked vintage long time ago since I was a teenager. Vintage clothing was still not that popular at that time, but when I got to know about it, I simply enjoyed digging for treasures inside the vintage stores.
Vintage also shares an emotional value to me, and this is what attracts me most. Every vintage piece has its own story behind, they are all unique treasures from history. People who appreciate vintage will never see them as second hand items only. Maybe that’s what you wore when you’re a child, or you wore them during one of those memorable moments in life. The emotional value of vintage can be even greater than that. They represent a certain age or period of time, a certain past, or the effort its creator put in while making them.
In addition, in a rational way, along with the transformation of society and technology, the fashion industry is focusing more and more on the efficiency of making new products. Machinery is the ideal solution but it lacks a human touch. Vintage clothing makes up for that sense of human touch. The clothing of the past shares fewer common elements; if you pay more attention, it’s not hard to find details with a strong sense of ‘human touch’, such as delicately designed collars, pleating, hand-stitched hems and belt loops etc.
F – Can you tell us how the project came about The Yesterday Skin and what is your philosophy? “Let me be your second skin.”
Eileen – The Yesterdayskin is a very personal project. When I first started, it’s based on the point to share and record, not much attention was paid on commercial concern. Most pieces from the first collection were actually collected when I was traveling, from flea markets or vintage stores from around the world. Realizing each of them has its own character, but I personally couldn’t carry them all, it would be a shame to just leave them wasted inside my wardrobe. Therefore I started to have the idea of starting a brand.
The brand name itself was also come up at the time. Clothing is like the second skin of human, and the materials of my work were from the past, so “The Yesterdayskin” is actually a very straight forward name.
I never wanted to create collections by season, as I don’t think that I have to design to chase the seasonal trend. I wouldn’t limit the style of clothing, details changed on the piece were done under the consideration of the style of the piece itself. Therefore, instead of naming the collections properly by season, I label them as “Wardrobes”. The pieces may come from different decades, but they all create a perfect harmony forming as an integrated collection. It feels so personal like showing my own wardrobe at home.
F – How is the search of the clothes, turn yourself to local markets or are the result of long journeys? Each dress contains in itself also a small souvenir of your trip?
Eileen – As I mentioned, the pieces are collected in different journeys, from flea markets or vintage stores from around the world. I sometimes get dresses from local vintage stores in Hong Kong as well, but the city itself is not really the best place for vintage hunting… What a shame.
F – What are the common elements of your three collections: Wardrobe 01, 02, 03 and what are the trends that can be seen above all in your latest collection?
Eileen – One common element among the collections could be, I am trying to execute vintage in a modern way. With my background and knowledge of being a fashion designer, I know the tricks to make vintage clothing modern and easier to carry. For example I can change the cutting and remove out-dated details, or add trimmings and hand painted patterns on it. Along with my new styling and art direction, all the pieces may not look so retro like most people understand about vintage. They can then get back to the recent market and more people can share these long forgotten treasures again.
F – How did the idea to open an ‘on-line store? Would you like to open even a physical one? If so, where it would open?
Eileen – The Yesterdayskin is a rather small scale independent brand. And its case is a little bit different from other mass produced fashion labels: We can only produce one only for every single style. Therefore, I’d prefer to sell them through my own online platform so I can reach customers from different places with the limited stock, rather than keeping them all in one physical store and I can only reach customers from one place.
F – next goal?
Eileen – I want to keep exploring the possibilities of The Yesterdayskin, and keep meeting/ working with inspiring people. And I have started a little branding studio with my partner this year, hopefully this can help us to explore further. I feel very glad that The Yesterdayskin could have chances to take part in a wide range of creative projects, like making installations for my collection launch, creating artworks for exhibitions, or joining design events in different countries (not fashion oriented ones, e.g. DMY Berlin, and the Milan design week I just did with HKDC)… This may not be something that a normal Hong Kong fashion designer would do. I enjoyed pushing the boundaries and having new tries other than making clothes only, I wish I could keep this way and explore more in the future.

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