Friday 8 February 2013

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW| Ones To Watch designer Patrick Li

Having completed his MA at the Royal College of Art last year, and working under the guidance of Hussein Chalayan, and Viktor & Rolf since then, Patrick Li's transition from graduate to designer behind an established-label is well underway. We were quick to spotlight Li's talents with our annual Graduate Showcase, and now the young designer is recipient of our acclaimed 'One-to-Watch' title, receiving support in the Fashion Scout funded showcase alongside fellow 'Ones-to-Watch' Yeashin and Yulia Kondranina. We spoke with Li ahead of his OTW show to talk his "precision aesthetic", and what to expect from the forthcoming showcase.

Your previous season's work was a synthesis of contrasts- the linear contributing to a fundamentally feminine silhouette, and your selection of colour- is working with these contrasts something we can expect to see this forthcoming season?
Yes, I am working with geometric shapes and linear silhouettes this forthcoming season. There are quite a lot of contrasting materials and graphic elements, these are the essence of the brand and something I would like to explore more. 

Talk us through your points of reference for Autumn/ Winter; is there a particular girl or body in mind, or is your design process connected to more abstract roots, as in a particular art or even object?
I started this collection by looking through the visual references from a V&A exhibition 'Shadow Catchers'. I enjoyed that exhibition a lot, especially the work of Gary-Fabian Miller. The singular lighting objects are so impeccable, yet sensual simultaneously. I used the lighting coming through darkness as the initial colours and mood for the collection. I have also looked at architectures and interiors designed by Zaha Hadid's. I find that the organic and bold structure and lines of the buildings very intriguing. I then started to develop the collection from there. I don't have a particular girl in mind when designing this collection, perhaps the references I gathered are abstract but eventually I got to translate the ideas into wearable garments. 

In our previous interview you said that sampling fabrics and details in keeping with your graphic aesthetic was your biggest challenge. Have you met any other challenges leading up to your One to Watch showcase?
Time is always an issue, there wasn't much time between SS13 and AW13. There are lots of time consuming things to do apart from making the collection. ie, answering emails, running errands... I need some angel interns! 

What do you feel you can take from your Fashion Scout experience, and where the One to Watch platform will take 'Patrick Li' the brand?
Fashion Scout is an important platform for new designers like myself, I had my first taste of the real industry and the business with Fashion Scout, I received a first order for my debut SS13 thanks to the support and exposure from the Fashion Scout. Ones to Watch will definitely give more exposure to 'Patrick Li', press is crucial.  

Interview by Sara McAlpine, edited by Cass Gowing
Photos of Patrick's S/S13 collection