Johan Ku: Sculptured storytelling clothing
Ranked as one of the top seven collections for his The Two Faces collection in the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Tokyo, we speak to one of fashion’s rising stars, Taipei born Johan Ku.
What are your inspirations when it comes to designing?
I go to art galleries, artists’ studios, even museums to do research as well as visiting yarn factories for material sourcing. For my last two collections, I drew a lot of inspiration from watching films and re-living movies I’d seen. So whilst it might sound surprising, the story-line from a movie can be a useful first step in developing the theme for a new collection.
There seems to be an underlying gothic theme behind your AW13 collection, what inspired this?
The collection is entitled Anna which is the name of the female lead in the 1992 movie Damage. The movie revolves around the desires and sexual tension of a famous politician and his son’s girlfriend. The sexual appeal of the whole collection was based around tight fitting, body hugging pieces that showed off the human form to its best advantage. The collection featured pieces rich in texture that used knits spiced up with leather and other embellishments.
Did being born in Taipei influence your designs?
Correct. I was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1979. I studied graphic design in high school, and both fashion & textile design in college and graduating school. So yes, to that extent, being Taiwanese has influenced my designs.
What is the difference between the fashion scene in China and London?
London is one of the most important fashion cites in the world, obviously. However, China is such a huge market that it is always an honour to do business there and to connect with their international fashion industry.
What designers inspire you; do you have any dream collaborations?
Rei Kawakubo is one of my favourite designers. It would be fantastic if I could do some pieces for Bjork’s new album – she is a singer from Iceland who I have always liked.
What draws you to use different textures when designing?
I have a soft spot for textured surfaces and innovative textiles. It helps me to develop new yarns every season.
Have you had any career highlights so far?
Yes, some. The most significant one was probably winning the Design Vision, Avant-Garde Award for competing in Gen Art in New York in December 2009.
Where do you see your brand going and what are your plans for the future?
Sculpture-like clothing and chunky knitwear is the signature design of my work. So, although such sculpture-like features have to be modified in the right way to suit the season, I would like to keep my signature design at the heart of my brand and keep pushing it forward. I hope it is here to stay.
Photos: Couresy of Johan Ku
To find out more about Johan Ku’s collecyions, visit here.