Hua Mulan. Flower, wood, orchid. Modern age fearless femininity, hold the broad shoulders, and feminism. R E S P E C T, it’s R O B E R T. Wun.
Growing up in a women-led household in Hong Kong, Founder and Creative Director of his eponymous London-based label Robert Wun, the designer in point was taught from a very young age to celebrate women and their wickedness while embracing his culture and heritage.
To the point and unafraid, Wun reimagines the meaning behind “feminism” — the type that exudes authority and power without being portrayed as fragile or feeling the need to be backed up by more masculine elements.
Launching his brand in 2014 to offer his unique perspective of East Asian heritage, Wun is no stranger to the discriminatory stereotypes skipping around fashion land, and maintains that it is his mission to dismantle racism prevalent in the industry.
Architecture. Artificial. Attitude.
Through his avant-garde and bold creations the designer aims to challenge what is regarded as the “standard of beauty”. Displaying sculptural silhouettes masterfully rendered with a sense of elegance, Wun’s label projects a forward approach with a modern spin on architectural construction adorned with a futuristic attitude in material. #Miyakevibes
Trying to escape this vortex of stereotypes, he offers a young and fresh take on womenswear, shoes and accessories interpreted through stand-out tailoring. The designs pull heavy inspiration from native Hong Kong traditions, science fiction, and the world of nature by channeling an ultramodern aesthetic.
His heimat has influenced the designer in terms of work ethic and the unlimited amount of inspirations the city has to offer. From the streets of gold fish along one of the busiest streets in Mong Kok, to the multicultural influence on food and architecture — the balance between the natural and the artificial is always the core inspiration of any body of Wun work. This balance is something that he believes is a timeless language for global communication.
Moreover, through this balance, the designer attempts to reinvent the fashion industry by challenging the beauty, identity and sexual standards set by and in society.
Flower. Wood. Orchid.
Wun considers the orchid to be a significant part of his story telling journey as well as his brand’s identity. First introduced in his SS19 collection, the manifested orchid pays homage to the legendary character Mulan who is known to have paved the way for feminists of a modern era. He also choose to work around the orchid silhouette because of its powerful, feminine and graceful shape and the poetic meaning behind its bloom.
Mulan in Wun’s vision paved the way for feminists of the modern age. Inspired by the poetic meanings of the Chinese characters — Hua Mulan’s name in Mandarin (花木蘭) means flower, wood and orchid — he opted for the orchid motif as one embodying power, femininity and elegance.
The flower has continued to grow and weave itself throughout his collections following its first ever SS19 bloom.
Wu wants to reject stereotypes typical of an East Asian culture inspired collection (think dragons, chopsticks, silk qipaos, or Chinese character tattoos), and take on a more indirect development in shapes, colors and forms. In the hopes that this method will allow for a more personal direction and more depth to talk about his culture and heritage in a new way.
Sass. Sculpture. Silhouette.
Sculptural silhouettes masterfully rendered with a sense of elegance, that is. Wun presents a new kind of womenswear that doesn’t need masculine elements to present authority, nor fragility to emphasize the femininity of his clothes.
For SS21, the man once again showcased his love for nature, but this time around in a new, bold way.
This season, Wun’s his inspiration took a shift. The collection consisted of 20 looks, 14 of which inspired by lilies. Several looks involved straps manipulated into the shape of lily petals, whereas other silhouettes were sculpted using a folding technique to emphasize the shape of the lily petal, or got their peplum on — Google is your friends, all ye laymen.
The way in which the petals fall and cling against the body could be interpreted as chain mail. Turning the delicate into a depiction of strength. Speaking of feline power dressing.
Fast fact: The remaining six looks were inspired by birds, used pleats (please) to convey a sense of wing action. This collection i the unadulterated meetup of mental imagination and material manipulation.
Wun’s rejection of stereotyping has also led to a unique perspective on how to channel his East Asian heritage through fashion. As a Hong Kong designer based in London, Wun is no stranger to the discriminatory stereotypes imposed on him and his brand.
Though it is an issue larger than simply one collection or designer, Wun’s silent protest through his collections has made him one to watch especially in recent years.
Picture. Perfect. Puzzled.
Since launching the label seven years ago, there have definitely been a few conversations and meetings that were particularly memorable, leaving the creator puzzled by a few rather insensitive comments and remarks. In one interview with Asian Tatler, Wun recalls:
“Although London is extremely diverse, and also known for celebrating different cultural and identities, there is a trend that only supports designers of color that are willing to talk about their heritage. One time, an editor even told me to start creating collections based on my culture just to ride on that wave and attract more attention, as they found it difficult to sell a designer of color if they are not talking about their struggle or their ethnic background.”
Hoping to further expand his empire from to London to Hong Kong and every stop along the New Silk Road, Wun wants to support young and budding designers and help them tell their own stories by offering opportunities to expand their landscape.
In his emotional bid against racial slash gender stigmatism and social stereotypes, Wun uses fearless fashion to convey his beliefs.
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FEATURED IMAGE: Robert Wun via PAPERBLOG
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