The global state of affairs is the engine that drives the vision of Yvonne Lin’s body of work. Fashion, like art, is a catalyst for dialogue and exchange of ideas and values. It is fundamentally rooted in our culture in an age of identity politics, multiculturalism, and social transformation. Lin looks deep into the fractures of our society and a creates collections that give truth in storytelling. They spark conversation into the psychology of our being.
I feel there’s so many things happening in this society that are wounding. I wanted to reflect that process in my design, reveal what is broken and confront the problems affecting us.
Lin’s perspective on today’s state of affairs may hold true to all age groups, “I’m not sure if it’s the age or simply our generation having greater awareness, but I feel there’s so many things happening in this society that are wounding. I wanted to reflect that process in my design, reveal what is broken and confront the problems affecting us”. This is reflected in her collection Vulnus Cura, derived from the Latin words Vulnus – to wound and Cura – to cure, care, and heal. “It looks closely at brokenness as a process of mending”, she says, “mending what? one might ask – the cracks in our society and a lost innocence that comes with growing up.”
Lin talks further of this lost innocence and vulnerability, peeling away the masks society uses to shield. “There’s a stigma around adulthood prohibiting one from being vulnerable or revealing it, which potentially hinders recovery. Because of the pressure to appear strong and hide our weaknesses, we evade problems rather than accepting and resolving them. But I believe the reverse is true, and ever necessary. It is courageous to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. I am not saying we have to be weak; but only by accepting what’s flawed, or wounded, can we improve, find reconciliation, and gain resilience. We should allow ourselves to recover.”
The fabrics tell as much of the Vulnus Cura story as the design, using laser cut wool, jersey, and cotton. Seeking a comfortable fabric to the skin, the process may have been otherwise, “I feel like the fabric went through a process of burning and taking on another form, says Lin”.
London based Chinese Canadian, Yvonne Lin holds an MA in design from the Royal College of Art and a BA from Central Saint Martins, London. She had the passion and interest in art at a young age. Fashion is an important art medium to her with a uniqueness not found in other mediums. “It is the most intimate to body. I have always liked that human part about fashion, which
brings everything alive, more than just an object”, she says.
Design always comes from a place that’s personal and intimate from my experiences and the environments I engage in.
As a storyteller, Lin initiates her collection in a multi-disciplinary approach to design, intrigued by shifting tensions between opposites. Her collection Alone Together, she says “might sound oxymoronic at first; but it represents a duality that is certainly omnipresent in life, be it in brief moments or enduring phases”.
She sees the “grey” area in life experience as being loosely attached, not completely separate, and how some things can have an invisible affect even though it’s a past experience. In this collection there are subtle details when you look close. She says, “the trousers, have two legs on each leg, but it looks like a normal trouser from the front. Visibly everything looks normal, but when you flip up the trouser, you will discover some unusual aspects, but they come from the concept, and I hope when one discovers, they will question why, and later further explore the story behind it.” This is when Lin believes she has made an object complete. Textiles used were wool and waxed cotton. “I wanted to capture the idea of weight and wetness when wearing the trousers, as if it feels like one just came out of a swamp.”
The Sleepwalker collection can be viewed as performance art. It explores the dichotomy of consciousness and unconsciousness and focuses on a psychological and emotional perspective. “It’s a natural occurrence that I recognize in life and it became a recurrent theme for my collections”, as she describes her work. In this project, Lin explores the concept of the conscious and unconscious part of the brain during sleepwalking. “The shirt represents the conscious part, which has been distorted and deconstructed, and sleepwear, of jersey and pajama like material, represent the unconscious.”
Lin effectively uses a language of storytelling in these collections. Although there is ‘brokenness’, sadness, opposing tensions, and the unavailing of consciousness during sleepwalking, she projects a positive and minimalist aesthetic. “I think optimism is quite important to me. No matter how much hardship there is it’s important for me to keep it positive and return to a primal state. That is how I see minimalism. It is not simple from the beginning. But a process of filtering.”
In wrapping up our talk, we touched on the lack of purpose and meaning in the industry’s state of affairs and given Lin’s youth she’s spot on with her historic perspective. “I miss the 90’s fashion, where designers like Margiela, Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto and Ann Demeulemeester were making a statement along with fashion. The messages that they spoke of were just so powerful. I find it rare to see that in today’s industry.”
Congratulations, Yvonne Lin! Be a force with your purposeful and courageous design practice, sparking the conversations we need to have. EDGE wishes you continued success.
More on Yvonne Lin – https://www.ylin.co.uk/
- Vulnus Cura – photography: Anna Sting, Model: Rebecca O’Donova, Make-up: Violet Zhang
- Alone Together – photography: Yi Tuo, Models: Julius Rogenhofer, Bella Dewe-Mathew, Make-up: Currisa Cheng
- The Sleepwalker – courtesy of Yvonne Lin