London-based designer Apu Jan, originally from Taiwan, is certainly one to watch this season, as he is set to show his third collection at London Fashion Week next month.
The promising young designer founded his label only recently, after graduating from the Royal College of Art with MA Fashion Womenswear. Having specialised in knitwear, Jan’s designs are immediately distinguishable and have gained positive recognition both in the Asian and European worlds of fashion.
With pioneering Asian designers among the likes of Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake, the prominent Eastern influence on the Western design world is by no means a new phenomenon. Yet Jan’s recent work has bought a novel, abstract take on the design world.
His success to date lies in his unique, contemporary take on the traditionally clean cut Asian silhouette. He reinterprets these classic elements with faultlessly executed, distinctive knitting techniques, punctuated by flashes of print and splashes of colour.
Apu Jan constructs his pieces by blending elements of history and fantasy; taking inspiration from both the real and the surreal. Following his highly successful debut season, Jan unveiled his second collection ‘The Signal’ in London last year for SS14. The collection embodies simple oriental influence built upon by modern, relevant creativity.
‘The Signal’ itself refers directly to the signals perpetually infiltrating our daily lives; both in terms of electronic and natural signals. Whether a mobile phone, or the frequency of a bee’s wings, Jan explores the invisible resonance of such features through the intricacy of his floral prints. Similarly, the multifaceted complexity of life’s signalling is unmistakable in his complex knit patterns, with delicately embroidered extra fine silk and cotton yarn.
These forceful signals of inanimate or living objects appear in his SS14 collection in the form of three-dimensional shapes and a striking colour spectrum of red tones set off by a jet black base.
With sophisticated graphics that are fashioned to fit like a glove, it’s hardly surprising Jan’s designs have featured in prominent UK media including Vogue.com, Wallpaper Magazine and Hello!
His careful marriage of innovative structured oriental elements with a casual twist makes Apu Jan’s collection a daring, yet truly ready to wear brand.
Words: Lizi Woolgar