Flonaked debuts CyberPunk series co-designed by YWIES students

Yang Yang
After a crossover CyberPunk project debuted at AW 2023 Shanghai Fashion Week, a student from YWIES Shanghai Gubei interviews the founder of Flonaked.
Yang Yang

Designs by Shanghai fashion students were added to the latest CyberPunk series by Flonaked, an independent designer brand, which then debuted the garments during the recent AW 2023 Shanghai Fashion Week.

The collaboration was a way for students from the Yew Wah International Education School Shanghai Gubei to gain a glimpse of how the mechanics of the fashion industry works.

Themed "CyberGarden," the crossover collection added to the series some color elements including blue, purple and green, an element of electric blue and a mauve that Asians tend to like.

YWIES Shanghai Gubei focuses on offering students a good art education, which they define as teaching students to "be observant of the most ordinary and come out with the extraordinary." Teachers offer possibilities and the students choose what to become. Not only are skills taught, but also the mindset needed by artists and designers.

Chris Xia, an 11th-grade student majoring in fashion design at YWIES Shanghai Gubei and one of the student designers taking part in the project, interviewed Wendy Zhang, founder of Flonaked, about career planning in design industry.

Flonaked debuts CyberPunk series co-designed by YWIES students

Wendy Zhang, founder of Flonaked

Q: Do you have any advice for the younger generation on establishing their own brand?

A: From the beginning, I have always loved doing fashion design. When I was at Central Saint Martins, our teacher's advice for us was, 'This industry is tough, the competition is intense, if you don't like fashion design very much, you shouldn't pursue the industry.'

I really like fashion design. I set small goals at each stage. At the beginning, it wasn't that I aimed to achieve a high level, but rather that I loved this industry. Gradually I walked in the direction I liked at the beginning of my career in the industry and achieved the feats I expected. So my advice is to set small goals for yourself. When you look back, you will find out you've reached a great height.

Q: Do you have any advice for me if I want to get into a prestigious school like Parsons?

A: I think the most important thing is to find your own uniqueness. If you find something that you are very interested in, do your best within your abilities and let the teacher see your uniqueness. In this process, of getting into Parsons and other top-tier international institutions, you also need to use these platforms to intern at very good companies. Now that I have been running my brand for seven or eight years, I think this is the most basic criterion for me, to consider whether or not to hire a student. Because your work is one aspect, but your social experience and whether your product is practical and has some commercial attributes is another.

Q: How do you seek inspiration for your designs?

A: When I was an intern at (Alexander) McQueen, they gave me a very good textbook-level way of finding inspiration. In their small London studio, they have a study room of about 5 square meters, and none of the books in the room is related to fashion. They're about religion, culture, and architecture, among other subjects. In such an environment, our creativity developed greatly. So I don't think that you can only find inspiration from a specific field.

Q: Will China-chic be the trend of the next 10 years?

A: China-chic is a huge trend. For example, I went to the UK when I was 16 and later I went to New York. But actually, I grew up in Shenzhen and received all my education in China at the beginning. A lot of my designs which contain China-chic are actually not deliberate. Every design of mine is based on my own aesthetics. Your cultural genes will not change.

Q: What is your opinion on balancing independence as a designer with the need for commercialization?

A: I think if you wanted to start a brand like Uniqlo or Zara now, it would be difficult to compete against the big corporations, because they have more money and better channels than you. If you want to stand out in the industry, you may need to rely on your own creativity and commercialization. It's possible that on one hand, you can succeed by doing it yourself, while on the other hand, if the big corporations like what you're doing they may buy you out or invest in you. So my suggestion is that at the beginning, you don't have to force yourself to commercialize, you can unleash your creativity and do some design work. Our fellow designers are often recognized by the industry because they are noticeably creative. So commercialization is not something that you need to have today and just telling you to commercialize doesn't mean you can actually do it. You need to learn your lessons from the market.

Parsons School of Design, The New School is a private art and design college located in New York City, United States. It was founded in 1896 and is named after its founding director, Frank Alvah Parsons. Parsons is widely considered as one of the most prestigious art and design schools in the world. The school has a strong reputation for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to design education, with a focus on preparing students for real-world applications and entrepreneurship. Over the years, Parsons has produced many successful and influential designers, including Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Alexander Wang just to name a few.

Flonaked debuts CyberPunk series co-designed by YWIES students
Flonaked debuts CyberPunk series co-designed by YWIES students

Yew Wah International Education School Shanghai Gubei and Parsons School of Design have announced an exclusive partnership to offer a unique design education program this summer. The program will be offered through a combination of online and offline teaching, with a curriculum that stays true to Parsons' professional course design. As part of the program, students will receive online instruction from Parsons professors and offline guidance from Yew Wah's design mentors.

Every morning students will receive real-time classroom instruction from Parsons professors, covering essential design knowledge and techniques to gain hands-on experience of Parsons' professional design education. In the afternoon, students will be able to use the professional art classrooms and facilities at the Yew Wah Gubei campus to complete their design projects with guidance from Yew Wah's design mentors. David Leung, a world-renowned fashion designer and director of Fashion Design of YWIES, is one of the mentors.

The 2023 Parsons Summer Pre-College program will offer three subjects: fashion design, illustration and graphic design. The condensed two-week program over the summer break will provide students an opportunity to efficiently learn design fundamentals and entry-level knowledge.

Those interested in art and design could join in the YWIES Open Day to have a campus tour and learn more about the summer program on June 24.

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