This week, I got to sit down and have a chat with my talented friend, Cherry Luk. She is an emerging fashion designer and recent graduate from UTS with a Bachelor of Design in Fashion and Textiles.
After showing her collection, TRANS/form, in the UTS Graduate Fashion Show, her work caught national attention which lead to her being selected for the National Graduate Showcase in the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. Following on from this success, she was then also flown to New Zealand to have her designs featured in the Dunedin Emerging Designer Show. Then, in June, her collection was flown off to the world’s fashion capital for a Paris fashion show!
Hi Cherry! Thanks for letting us interview you about your fashion design work.
You were recently featured in the VAMFF National Graduate Showcase. Could you describe your experience on the day?
On the actual day, it was pretty chill because everything was sent off and ready for the show, so we just had to turn up in our nice dresses and turn up to see our show on the catwalk. So I guess all the preparation work beforehand was more tiring than the actual day.
So what was the preparation like?
We travelled down to Melbourne for the day a week before the show to do all the fittings and meet up with the stylists and discuss what kind of styling you want for the makeup and the hair, and also the accessories you want to go with each piece, and the order of the pieces you want on the catwalk.
What was the main concept behind your collection, TRANS/form, and how long did it take you to put the whole collection together?
So for my graduate collection, I actually based it on the transgender identity, and I did it through looking at menswear tailoring, so I had a more feminine approach to menswear tailoring. And I developed my concept in the first half of the year [in 2015]. I’ll say it probably took around 3 months to develop the concept and then I did some draping to develop the shapes in my designs and worked on from there. So the main production parts actually took 4 months in the second semester. Yeah, so the whole process took 8 months altogether.
Wow, that’s so long. Can you tell us a bit about your sketches?
In terms of sketching, for myself, I’m not so much of a sketcher. So what I usually do, I drape on the mannequin a lot, and then I trace the outlines and manipulate the shapes that way rather than sketching it all out. And even for my range drawings, I actually do most of them on the computer. So I take photos of my final products and trace out the outline and put it into Photoshop, and put it onto a person that way.
Do you feel that self-promotion through social media like Instagram and Facebook is important for your work?
I’ll say more of Instagram than Facebook nowadays. Instagram is easier for everyone to access and it’s public, so everyone can see your work. And it’s almost like a public sketchbook, so you can put up your process work and people can comment on it and keep up to date about where you’re up to in your design work. I’ve had people contact me through Instagram direct message about buying my pieces, so I guess it works.
What are your biggest sources of inspiration when it comes to fashion?
My designs, I look at a lot of Japanese designers and I guess just whatever pops into my mind at that time. And actually I developed my collections through just painting on a normal day and seeing what pops into my mind that way, and then developing my colour palettes and shapes through that way. So I wouldn’t say that there’s a specific source of inspiration, I guess just what you see on a normal day.
Do you think that it’s important for school students to learn how to sew?
I wouldn’t push it, I wouldn’t say you have to make it compulsory. But it’s a good skill to start developing in school. You’ll never know whether you like it or not until you try it out. I only found out that I really liked it when I started Textiles in Year 7, and it went on from there. So, I mean, definitely give school students a try early on rather than later.
Cool, I was also curious, what did you think about the Australian Olympic Team’s uniform at the Rio Opening Ceremony?
It’s quite classy, I like the colours. I feel it fits into the whole Rio scene. It’s definitely better than a full green blazer, the stripes add a bit of lightness to it. And you can have it for both women and men, so I guess they chose quite a nice design.
What kinds of collections or projects do you have in mind for the near future?
At the moment, I don’t have anything planned for this year just yet. But I think for my next collection I would like to get an experience in womenswear. So hopefully developing my collection a little bit further and probably expanding into womenswear. But I have expanded my collection since the 6 looks in my graduate collection, so I’ve added another 4 in just for the Paris show. Yeah, so basically I’m just waiting until next year and seeing what pops into my mind.
And how did everything go in Paris?
Yeah, that went pretty well, I’ve got quite a few people contacting me after that and it’s great exposure. And definitely go for the opportunities when they turn up; in the fashion world, nothing’s gonna wait.
Thank you for chatting with us, Cherry! We wish you all the best with your future designs.
Keep up with Cherry and her work via her Instagram, http://instagram.com/cherry_lyy_.
Visit her website at http://cherryluk.com.