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An Interview with Menswear Designer Yi-Ling of 1×1 Studio

June 13, 2019

Fashion | by Ross Pollard

Candid’s Ross Pollard sits down for an exclusive interview with Yi-Ling of 1×1 Studio.

Regular readers will know my affinity for the Pacific paradise that is Taiwan, and on my trips there I’ve fallen in love with many things – the weather, the food, and of course the fashion.

1×1 Studio and its designer Yi-Ling are representative of the growing reputation of the island’s garment industry. Having left Kaohsiung for London, Yi-Ling has established 1×1 Studio as one of the labels that are starting to establish modern menswear that’s both wearable and fashion forward.

The mixture of styles, textiles and colours is something of a trademark for the label as are its sustainability credentials. Eighty per cent of the collection is from sustainable fabrics including those made from sweetcorn and recycled bottles. Yes, I did say sweetcorn!

The other aspect of the collection is that it’s designed to compost within five years if buried in soil, giving itself back to the earth.

I caught up with Yi-Ling to ask her a few questions about her work.

Congratulations on the stunning Ones To Watch show in February; how were the couple of weeks after?

Finishing one season means the next one is knocking on the door already. I start doing some research for the next collection straight after and can’t wait to experiment with new ideas of knitting techniques.

This is the most enjoyable stage of design process, as well as travelling to different countries to get some inspirations [sic].

Li-Ying 1x1 Studio Candid Magazine

You hosted a presentation at London Fashion Week Men’s; tell us about the collection.

We ‘break’ the way of how knitwear is normally worn. This season will bring out fresh colour for spring/summer, using almost 80% sustainable materials.

We are applying sweetcorn yarns, paper yarn and recycled bottle fabric for the collection.

Also, this collection consists of very light knitwear with 3D textures, which is perfect for the season.h

What attracts you to Men’s Week?

I think the boundaries between menswear and womenswear are dissipating, but I definitely began from a menswear perspective, which I focus on in terms of details and design.

With such a short time between two significant show deadlines what is your advice for hitting target dates?

Always try your best, be confident in what you do, and be honest with yourself.

More and more men are buying clothes; what do you think is the driver for change and do you think it can rival the position of womenswear in the future?

Both men’s and womenswear need to be driven to show people’s identity. We should encourage people to be comfortable in who they are regardless of the gender of your clothing.

Androgyny has been a growing trend; do you think that it’s here to stay or will it peak soon?

I don’t think there are too many boundaries between menswear and womenswear, but I definitely began from a menswear perspective, which I still focus on.

Sustainability is a hot topic right now; how easy do you find it to source materials?

It’s not too hard to be sustainable, or at least mindful of it. Once you start, it sort of snowballs and people help you find even more avenues towards sustainability.

I have been lucky enough to meet so many other sustainably-focused creatives in the fashion industry who appreciate what I’m doing and fuel me to do even more.

Settle an argument for me with a friend in Taiwan; which is better 7-Eleven or Family Mart?

[Laughs] It really depends on what I am going to grab from there and which store is closer to me. I really like 7-Eleven’s belling sounds and the eco colours of brand images from Family Mart.

Has the internet age made it possible to start out as a global business or do you still have to tackle the world region by region?

The internet has made a massive difference in our lives, good and bad, but personally, I prefer to meet clients in person and establish a real relationship

If I gave you a time machine, who would you go back in time and collect Bill & Ted-style to be a model on your runway?

David Beckham

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