‘Menswear is all about moving forward; the direction in which I am heading in’
Fashion design graduate Johnson Deng from Kingston University London has created a final collection with a distinct client in mind; a man who inspires from the career he’s pursuing to the clothes he wears.
In line with the adventurous spirit of his target market, Deng projects his futuristic visions across time and space. The theme of long-distance travel resounds within the space-inspired garments as well as with Deng’s aspirations for the future: success in his home land China.
Indeed Johnson Deng has ambition and a plan for the future of fashion. Mapping a long-term destination for menswear, he has no intention of reliving the past: the direction is forwards.
So Johnson, in a sentence what was your intention for this collection?
My intention was for my final collection to be remarkable and memorable as a creative endeavour.
What was your collection inspired by?
The collection was inspired by space travel, including the movie Interstellar (2014). I travelled from East Asia to Western Europe, and it sparked my interest in long distance travel.
You are a menswear designer, but do you have a distinct target audience?
Men are travellers throughout their lives, through space and time. They travel in space between different environments (from a small state to an international city, for example) and they are on an individual journey through time during the natural aging process. With this in mind, I design for men who actively engage in travel; men who like to explore the world and record exciting things.
What is your main focus within your design practice?
My final collection has a strong focus on outerwear. I have experimented with ideas of packaging; in the future I envision people to “package” themselves into spaceships and travel into outer space. I expanded these ideas by designing a golden oversize jacket with dozens of 3D pockets. It has inflated air bags inside to increase the size of the garment. This gives the jacket a layered quality and a sense of protection. Menswear is often flat, so I wanted to exaggerate the shapes and silhouettes of the clothes.
Menswear is often flat, so I wanted to exaggerate the shapes and silhouettes of the clothes.
What have you learnt whilst creating this collection?
I’ve learnt a lot during my time at university and whilst creating this collection. I’ve experimented and changed my plans. I’ve pushed the boundaries whilst manipulating shapes.
I started off this collection using fabrics that were too thin. I went to the factory in China, modified the original fabric to make it heavier, mixed several fabrics together and achieved the effect I wanted.
The experience has not only taught me about the challenge of catching the audience’s eye and then holding their attention, but also fundamental skills like planning and using my time effectively.
Are you satisfied with your final collection?
Yes, I think so. I have achieved the look I wanted, using new techniques like fusing fabrics together, which have created a satisfying end result.
What kind of response have you received for your work?
Some buyers from London were interested in two particular looks. Someone also asked to buy one of the pieces as soon as the Graduate Fashion Week show finished.
Disorder Magazine is putting together a photo shoot using my collection.
A modelling agency also wants to use two of my looks, so it’s still getting attention! I’m also sending my lookbook to magazines in China to get more publicity there.
How do you envision your future in fashion?
I want to continue designing with a stronger focus on research around each theme of a collection, which is space in this case. Menswear is all about moving forward; the direction in which I am heading. This collection is just the beginning of my design career.
I’m open to live and work in different countries. China would be a great place to work; I’d like to return to my native country. I’m also trying to push my designs in the London market.
Ultimately I want my own fashion label. Since my graduate fashion show and GFW 2015, my scope of inspiration is broadening and I have started designing new pieces.
Finally, if you weren’t designing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t a fashion designer, I would want to study fine art. I studied a little fine art about three years ago and I draw connections between my artwork and my garments. Fashion designing is all about expressing yourself and I like to show my personality through my work.