Where do I begin with Yang Li? Born in Beijing, raised in Perth, Central Saint Martins dropout, former intern of Raf Simons and Gareth Pugh. This impressive 24 year-old designer has proven only after a few seasons that his minimalist designs are what grown women with sophisticated tastes want to wear, myself being one of them.
Li is unabashedly honest about his approach to design. Dismissive of the his alma mater’s (and much of the industry’s) preoccupation with “original design”, Li prefers to think of himself as a DJ/producer, sampling from a variety of sources to make a totally new track. You definitely get that sense when you’re looking at his signature blend of classic tailoring and avant garde shapes. There are familiar techniques and silhouettes, but the result is always modern and impeccably made.
Yang Li’s methodical way of thinking about design and his influences is refreshing, especially in an industry that has long had an inferiority complex about not being thought of as art. Sure, there’s lots of designers out there making garments that are highly artistic, but make no mistake about it: the end goal of fashion is always profit. Li’s devotion to making high quality clothes that are wearable (and will sell) but still pack an element of romanticism is making plenty of influential stockists take notice. Shops like 10 Corso Como, LN-CC, and Dover Street Market all carry his designs. I’m crossing my fingers that soon those of us in the 6ix can see his clothes in person at The Room, or perhaps at 119 Corbo.