A chat with designer Tomy Huang
Recently, we had the pleasure of sitting down with talented fashion designer Tomy Huang to chat about his work and what inspires him. After seeing his amazing collection from the 2016 FIDM debut show, we were eager to speak to him.
Where do you get most of your inspiration for your designs?
Everything! Sometimes I might be walking on the street and I’ll see something that inspires me, and sometimes inspiration comes to me when I’m be sitting in studio actively planning my designs. My past two collections were actually inspired by architecture and origami.
Where do you see yourself in about in 10 years?
As of now, my closest goal is putting on my fashion show next year. That is what I am focused on and am looking to. In the long run, I would be open to starting my own business. Not a mass chain or anything, I just want to be able to continue designing things I love. I also hope to be continuously involved in educating people in fashion - I currently teach some students from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) pattern making in my studio right here. In fact, I just finished a class!
What is fashion to you?
To me, fashion is art. It is designing unique pieces that speak to who you are. And personally, I love couture and high fashion. However, with fast fashion being so popular now, I feel we are losing sight of the element of creativity that makes fashion so beautiful. Fast fashion is convenient and boasts decent quality, but actual fashion and ideation gets lost in the scramble to follow trends. Everything is profit driven, and the focus is on money rather than art. And as brands end up following the latest trends in order to pander to the public, fashion becomes very similar. To me, fashion is not just trends that come and go but individualized pieces you put your heart into creating.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
It is hard to pinpoint just one event as I’m very happy with everything I’ve done thus far. However, my 2016 FIDM Debut show was definitely very memorable. I moved from China and applied to the FIDM advanced program just so I could have the chance to participate in the show. I applied to take part in the annual debut, and out of hundreds of applicants eventually 11 of us were selected. We had 9 months to make 12 pieces and it was a whirlwind of having many pieces moving at once, but I think I managed to create a thoughtful, well crafted collection.
What is your favourite (self-designed) piece and why?
This one! This dress was from my recent Fall 2017 collection that is inspired by origami. I made my own lace fabric for the entire collection, and I like this dress the most as the construction of it was very interesting and intricate. It is a piece of work I can really be proud of.
What is the most difficult about the design process?
Definitely finding inspiration and then having to transfer that inspiration into a tangible piece. You always want to be original, and sometimes that isn’t easy. The construction is relatively straightforward and I am confident in my pattern making skills, but the ideation of the concept and design itself is what is most challenging.
How do you define success in your career?
Just being able to do what I want and what makes me happy. I love fashion, and I hope to be able to always pursue this passion of mine. My ultimate dream, however, is to create a fashion theme park. It would be a beautiful place with exhibits of designs, fabrics, and textures that everyone from around the globe can enjoy. I want an inspiration room where people can see, feel, and even taste items to draw inspiration for their work. Of course, this is unprecedented and very ambitious, so I would need about maybe 50 years to make this idea come to life. (laughs)
What is one thing you wish you could change about the fashion industry?
Hmm, that's a tough one! I think it would be more of an emphasis on pattern making. Construction of a design is so important in fashion, and with the emergence of fast fashion sometimes the fit of garments is compromised. The making of a garment should always be careful, detailed, and the fit should be just right.
Want to know more about Tomy Huang? Check out his website