Qian Wu is a designer based in New York, U.S.A. Originally from Changsha, China, she moved to New York to further her studies in the field of design. She has strong values and looks to create fashion designs that bring the future forward and create sexy, strong, yet functional wear. Qian is a strong believer that functional clothing does not have look or be boring. We had the chance to interview her about her philosophy, designs, current and future collections and aspirations for the future. Here's what she had to say...
Solstice: Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? What did you like to do as a child/teenager?
Qian: I was born in Changsha, China and just finished my Master of Fine Art degree at Fashion Institute of Technology. I have different roles such as founder of fashion label MOVCREATOR, fashion designer, influencer/vlogger, etc.
I used to live to one of the most famous mountains in China, Yue Lu mountain, so my parents loved to take me go for a hike almost every week. This gave me a passion for sports - badminton, hiking, and jogging are my favourite sports. In my opinion, a passion for love is stimulated after 30-min of sport. It is something that makes you stronger and more confident, it helped me become who I am today.
As a designer, I made my manifesto statement by encouraging women with rebellious sexy design. The contrast of both feminine and masculine is always part of the inspiration for my designs. I like to combine elegant sexiness and masculine functionality, and hope my design can redefine functional garments in a rebellious, sexy, and chic way.
Solstice: How did you get into fashion design?
Qian: My passion for design came from the social issue - traditionally, sexiness has manifested itself in a way that people tend to blame others, primarily women, for dressing ‘provocatively’. This is the stereotypical scenario that most people tend to believe in. In a world still dominated by men and their perspective, I want to encourage women with my design.
For me, fashion design not only involves thinking about clothing production process and pattern making, but also contains deeper ideas and concepts that designers want to express. It’s a more versatile major. That’s the reason why I’m interested in it. I did my BFA majored in Fashion Design and Engineering which gave me chances to focus more on garment wearability, then I went to Fashion Institute of Technology for Fashion Design, and I think by designing, I can influence people’s understanding of clothes and inspire people’s new understanding of life.
Solstice: How are you finding being a designer? What are the highs and lows?
Qian: Being a fashion designer is never an easy thing. People tend to think that all we do is sketch, throw out some conceptual ideas then all the fancy looks are done. However, after being a fashion designer and really work in this industry, I got to know that you will never have any extra time and energy beyond your collections. Wearing sneakers every day running between different contractors and fabric vendors, standing all day long for draping and adjusting patterns. Those are all the behind scene stories that insiders don’t show that much so you won’t know. You have to accept the truth that it’s like a bubble breaking when you really step into this industry.
Solstice: Describe the process from concept to final realised product? What is your favourite part of the process?
Qian: I personally like to design in a logical way. I always start to form a concept, and then fully research, draping and then fitting. My favourite part among all these process would be the fitting part. I look at my design in a rather anatomical and ergonomic way, the biggest difference between the human body and a mannequin is the movement. Fabric would be created in a variety of silhouettes while the body is moving. Instead of taking fitting pics, I always take fitting videos to make sure the design looks good in motion. By doing this, I can tell each fittings garment tension, and then I try to achieve the most natural and flowing outcomes instead of everything being fixed in a certain place.
Solstice: Describe your clothing designs in one sentence?
Qian: Redefining functional garments in a rebellious, sexy, and chic way.
Solstice: This is a womenswear collection, but do you think you’ll try designing menswear or even gender neutral fashion in the future?
Qian: Yes, already on my way developing several pieces for my next collection. My blue image for MOVCREATOR is to build a community, within it, there is no boundary or definition including genders. Fusion would be the key word.
Solstice: Are you already planning your next collection?
Qian: Yes, my next project will be focusing on the concept- fusion, also aligning with my own design universe. Since I see each of my collections stand for my different design stage with growth, this collection will be more focused on how to make every different items in multiple styling ways with each other or even with my previous collections’ item. Fashion needs re-use and nostalgia. That’s the most attractive thing what I see from fashion.
Solstice: Do you think you’ll try your hand at other types of design? It seems to be something that fashion designers do at some point in their careers.
Qian: Definitely. I have no limits and don't want be defined as one type of designer. As long as it works, I would love to try new things! Being always uninhibited, embracing and tough.
Solstice: You seem to be enjoying your time in New York, but can you see yourself living in another fashion city in the future? Paris, Milan, London maybe?
Qian: I can, actually I’ve been to all of these places in the past few years. Each of them gave my unique impression. Expecting that one day I can live my life somewhere else, more is more, is better.
Solstice: What was the main inspiration behind your new collection?
Qian: My latest collection is called Movement Creates. As I previously said, I love sports, and I was inspired by the KT tape. KT is applied unstretched over manually stretched skin above the injured muscle, which helps with preventing the overstretch of muscle. Then collaboration between Physical Therapist Mr. Bernard Boakye from CYNERGY physical therapy NYC and myself lifted this project to a new level. From our collaboration, I built 5 BASIC LINES which help to support our daily movement, meanwhile the tension of those lines helps to create silhouette of garments. Which not only align with my concept of fashionable functional garments, but the outcomes also represent my design development in an ergonomic way. KT tape not only influenced my physical theory but also became part of my design aesthetic. The beautiful covering on skin in rather vivid colour such as royal blue later became one of my key colour tones for this collection.
Solstice: Your current collection is quite futuristic and simple in design, are you a fan of keeping things simple and not having too much to distract the eye, such as embellishments etc.?
Qian: Definitely! For me, there are 2 kinds of design—one is for Runway and shooting. The first is attractive, as it is much more artsy and conceptual. But the latter one is more focused on the wearing experience, which contains more thoughts of testing, wearing feedback, etc. Meanwhile, when you really touch and wear it, you start to build your relationship with it, because it brings you a lot more than your first impression. I would like to say this feeling is what I pursue all the time in my design career.
Solstice: What kind of fabrics are used in the designs for this collection?
Qian: The looks were made of fabrics such as neoprene, nylon, coated silk, etc. Applied with designed laser-cut patterns which provides breathable elements.
Solstice: Tell us about your favourite piece from this collection?
Qian: The impossible dress. Actually, each of the looks from Movement Creates are combined by 2 sections—the shell and harness. All those harnesses with adjustable construction help with our daily movement and creates a shell shape while we are moving. That dress can be worn easily no matter whether it be for daily wear or functioning as an evening gown for an event.
Solstice: What do you hope you’ll be doing/where do you hope you’ll be working in five years?
Qian: Hopefully I will be running my label meanwhile running my buyer’s shop, in which contains all my favourite emerging designers’ brands and even a little café bar and book corner inside.