Friday, 2 March 2012

Designer of the Month: Meihui Liu, Victim Fashion Street

Reminiscent of a girl’s most playfully adorable childhood dresses, it’s easy to get lost in the dreamy creations of Meihui Liu—Victorian lace, frilly edges, and reconstructed romance. The Taiwan-born designer created Victim Fashion Street in 2000 from her love for vintage and crafty ability to produce hand sewn pieces. After attending fashion school in Paris, Meihui came to London in 2001 and opened her shop on Fashion Street, right off of Brick Lane. Since then, Victim Fashion Street has been on the catwalks of off-schedule London Fashion Week shows, drawing the attention of buyers from New York, Berlin, Hong Kong, Japan, and France. Meihui created two separate customized ranges for high-street retailer TopShop, was selected to participate in the promotion of British fashion in China, and constructed an exhibition inspired by childhood memories of playing dress up. After moving from Fashion Street to the West End, Meihui took a break from the busy fashion industry to have her daughter, Freya. Spending the last two years only catering to her usual clients, Meihui is now back, reinvigorated and ready to continue her commitment to eco-fashion, sustainability, and creative upcycling. After debuting at London Fashion Week’s Estethica, I had the chance to chat with her to find out what direction she’s heading in.

Krystle: It must be great to be back! How was your first time showcasing at London Fashion Week? What did you do to prepare?
Meihui: It was a very good experience. I knew two months before, that I was accepted, so I spent lots of time in my studio preparing. I went through so many of my leftover pieces in my studio and searched for new fabrics that were left over in factories, and vintage items to create lots of one-off pieces and accessories.

Krystle: Did you create a line specifically for autumn/winter?
Meihui: I’ve never gone by seasons for my collections. I know a few designers like that. We don’t let seasons and trends define our designs.

Krystle: How did buyers and press receive you at the event?
Meihui: I had many direct customers looking for items for themselves, not necessarily huge store orders. I had a lot of interest from press. It’s better for press to see my collections at the exhibition than on the catwalk—there they can touch the clothes and learn more about them, instead of seeing them for 15 minutes on the runway.

Krystle: So, where do you go from here? What’s your inspiration moving forward?
Meihui: The fabric I find is my inspiration. I never read fashion magazines, and I don’t let others influence me. Recycled vintage fabric is the part I love. I love its originality. I don’t like to make something that is the same as other people. It’s also really important for me to have things made in the UK, to support local small factories.

Krystle: How does your daughter inspire you? 
Meihui: I always wanted to have a daughter, so before I gave birth, I started to collect pieces and couldn't wait to make things for her. Since she was born, I’ve only made recycled, organic cotton dresses for her and the rest out of simple cloth to wear around the house or to sleep.
Lots of people ask me to make baby collections but I don't have much time, so apart for making dresses for her, I don't think I will make a children’s collection. 

Krystle: How would you describe your latest collections, and what can we expect to see in 2012?
Meihui: My latest collections, apart from some pieces (the dark antique lace crochet dress and vintage scarf, and the vintage union jack dress) have a very strong look. Everything is like fairy tale meets punk and Goth style. And for 2012, I will keep working on my fashion, art and textile fairy tale project. 

Visit Victim Fashion Street's website for more:

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