“Dreams are the carriers of creativity”
For many, fashion allows creative expression through clothes. For Odella Yue, it is a vehicle to narrate the story of her futuristic dream world.
Inspired by childhood memories of vintage sci-fi films and 1970s arcade games, Odella Yue’s collection explores her fantasy universe through the narrative of the ‘Galaxy Racer Club’. Each member of the club is depicted by a futuristic look in her collection.
The creative energy this Winchester School of Art fashion graduate has fuelled into her collection is striking. Exploding with loud colours, tactile textures and bold silhouettes; the work of Odella Yue exudes her passion for exploring the wonders the future of fashion beholds.
Odella, how would you describe your final collection the ‘Galaxy Racer Club’ to us?
My collection is incredibly fun, with an eye catching colour palette, eclectic mix of textures and 170m of binding! I used oversized silhouettes to exaggerate body shape such as the shoulders, sleeves and coats. The loose shapes of some garments portray a sense of masculinity, while tailored pieces reflect the fragility of the feminine form.
My signature outfit is the ‘Galaxy Racer’ coat completed with a red helmet. The oversized coat is made of a textured silver fabric, waterproof satin, sequins and print detail on the back. The print is inspired by psychedelic and modern pop art, also featured on the jackets and bags.
What influenced the design of your collection?
The past times of my childhood have been my main influence. My collection is a nostalgic explosion Studio 54, science fiction and the colourful arcade games of the 1970s were a large part of my childhood in China. I remember the thrill of playing these games after dark with my friends. Since then I have been a fan of games and the fantasy world. I love the idea that everything is possible in a made-up world. The social constrictions affecting the definition of beauty in present day do not exist. Beauty can be what you want it to be.
The work of Thierry Mugler and Gareth Pugh also inspired me. Their designs go beyond simply clothing the model’s body. They protect and decorate it in armour. Their garments complement the figure’s natural shape while creating an artificial exterior that powerfully enhances the human form.
What did you seek to achieve by creating your collection?
My collection expresses my creativity without limitations. Fashion is such a powerful tool to communicate with people. I want present my craziest ideas and fantasies to my audience, to provide them with something unique and unexpected.
How did you gather ideas for your collection before you began the design process?
By visiting and absorbing as many places as I could, such as local go karting arenas and arcades. I sought atmospheres filled with neon lights, striking colour combinations and 8-bit music. I loved how the go karting racers span down the long racing track in their jumpsuits and helmets. This particularly captured my attention and was a great starting point for me.
From this “starting point” how did you develop your collection?
I created the ideal fantasy world where adventurous spirit is presented through freakish beauty.
Dreams are the carriers of creativity; they allow people to escape from reality into a desirable imaginary world.
So I constructed a dream-like narrative for my collection: one day, a girl who loves motorbikes and racing, discovers she has the ability to travel in space. She uses this power to roam the universe. During her adventure she meets aliens from different cultures. They decide to form a racer club and explore the galaxy together. It is rather childish but then again dreams and fantasies are not only for children!
Did you want to take people back to their childhood through your collection?
I wanted to remind people of their childhood memories and specifically how they felt as children. My collection allows people to reminisce about their youthful, carefree past and channel this energy to be passionate about their present lives.
How do people react to your work, and how do their reactions make you feel?
During Graduate Fashion Week 2015 , many models took ‘selfies’ backstage wearing my garments and helmets. One guest told me that my collection made her want to dance! There is nothing more fun than creating something that makes people happy. I am thrilled my collection gave people this response.
What did you find the most challenging when designing your final collection?
Finding the right fabric proved to be a huge challenge. My collection is all about colour, shape and texture, so it was very hard to find the best materials for the garments. I had to travel to three different cities and order fabric from overseas.
Once you had attained this unusual fabric, how did you find working with it?
The bold silhouettes were important to create the loud, fun aesthetic of my collection. The right choice of fabric was crucial to achieve this. I experimented with different fabric weights to see which held their shape best.
I also tried several techniques to strengthen the material such as embroidery, binding, lining and heat treatment.
What advice would you give to someone who is about to begin designing their final collection?
Originality is essential. You need to have a clear vision and know how to clearly express this vision to your audience. Do not worry about making something strange or different. Being a fashion designer is not about blending in, it is about being unique and creating new things.
However, the biggest lesson I learnt during my last year at WSA was always finish everything early!
Where was your collection showcased?
My collection was presented at GFW2015 at the WSA stand and it was included in the WSA degree show at London Barge House in July. WSA did a great job at contacting the press for students. This gave us a valuable opportunity to talk to people from the industry. I sold my space racer coat to my tutor, and a friend of mine from overseas bought one of the dresses.
Are there any specific trends out there that you are paying particular attention to?
Technologically innovative fashion fascinates to me, especially high-tech materials and fabrics with practical features. It gives designers greater freedom to create and the possibility to challenge current design limitations.
How do you keep informed about emerging trends?
Growing up in two different countries gave me a better understanding of global fashion. Styles and trends vary in different countries, which is why it’s important to follow bloggers and artists all around the world. I also like attending comic conventions and culture fairs in both China and the UK. It gives me the opportunity to meet new people with similar tastes. I am also very active on tumblr, it is a great platform to meet with new people and promote your work.
Where can people find you on tumblr?
My tumblr is odellayue.tumblr.com
What do you hope to achieve work wise in the next few years?
I will be starting my masters at Kingston University in London next year which I’m excited about it. The boundary between fashion, game, science and film has begun to dissolve in recent years. In the future, through my own brand, I want to explore how to combine them to create a new outlook on fashion.