⟨ Misc ⟩

Dedicate to water and its changing states

Renli Su SS18

Words / Jas Tse
Translation / Iris Heung

「如果有人因為穿了我的衣服,而無法好好享用一頓飯,或不能追巴士,那就不是一個好設計了。」她說出時便讓我想起,在她過往的設計裡,最常看到模特兒腳上穿著的,就是布鞋、涼鞋、又或芭蕾舞款式的平底鞋,而有次是赤腳的。

她想做出讓人穿著自在的服裝,希望人們可以隨意地穿著她的衣服去做任何他們喜歡的事情。Renli Su是一位生於中國,現居英國的服裝設計師。在幼年時期與青春期裡,她用了大部分時間在繪畫、學習色彩理論和油畫上,然而長大後便想把這些東西用在別的領域上。

她也把自己對服裝歷史的興趣融入到設計當中,那些她不曾經歷而非常憧憬的時代,在創作過程中大概會出現「能跟那個時代靠近了一點」的情感吧,這種「連繫」是否也支撐著部分自己繼續創作呢?「絕對是啊。我喜歡在創作過程中,能與歷史靠近的感覺,對歷史大事件有了更多了解,然而我最感興趣的,是那些微小日常與人物故事。所以我喜歡在設計時,代入到人的身上去尋找共感,無論是現在還是過去的人。衣服能營造一種身歷其境的體驗,無需言語地。」

每天能因為不同穿著,而成了不同的角色,或你想成為的人,只在那一天。

翻著2018春夏系列的照片,看到裡面有一套嫩橘紅色的衣裙,皺褶布料在不規則的形態下,讓人想到了羚羊峽谷。「大自然的確深深地影響我的設計,那些有機的形狀、顏色與圖案都是我想在設計裡呈現的元素。自然界的多樣性充滿趣味,沒有規則卻又有天然的和諧。這個系列的橘色和粉紅其實來自我們做資料搜集時,偶爾看到的海洋生物。譬如蛤蜊殼內就有這種美得難以言喻的鮮豔桃子色。在深邃的海洋裡居然隱藏著有如日落般的溫暖色彩。」她之前就已談到,回看自己的設計,發現有個重複出現的主題,就是「水」。這個春夏系列,是在闡述水與其多變的狀態,也好比人的狀態。衣衫是從身體延伸開來,去觸碰世界的連繫,從中看見一個人的意識與狀態,而讓人能自在展現,像水一樣在不同的環境中,也能以各種樣貌存在,應該就是設計衣服對Renli的意義。

“If someone can’t eat a nice meal, can’t run for their bus, I feel my design isn’t good.” Su’s words reminded me of the shoes the models wear in most of her product shots — plimsoles, sandals, ballet flats, or even just go barefoot.

Su wants to make comfortable clothes, clothes that can make people feel completely at ease anytime, anywhere. The London-based designer was born in China; during her childhood and youth, she spent most of her time on drawing, learning about color theory and oil paintings. After she’s grown up, she just so wanted to apply he r knowledge to other fields.

Su also incorporated her interest in fashion history into her design. Adding elements of the eras that she fancies into her design is perhaps a way that allows her to get closer to that certain era. Can such “connection” serve as a motivation that drives her to keep creating new works? Su said, “Of course, I like to feel closer to history during my design process. By so we could learn much more about the big events of history. But my deep interest lies in the little moments, the daily life, the personal stories. I like to design with a feeling of empathy for other humans, no matter whether today or in the past. I like that the immersive experience of clothing, that gives me the chance to tell a story without words.”

Wearing different clothes can give you a different personality that can last as long as you are still in that particular outfit.

In her 2018 spring/summer collection, the asymmetrical light tangerine color dress in crepe fabric carries a clear resemblance to the Antelope Canyon. This observation seemingly aligns with Su’s explanation of her works saying, “Nature influences my designs very much! I love getting inspired by organic shapes, colours, and patterns and try to link them with the story I want to tell. To me the beauty of nature lies in its variety and playfulness. There are no rules, yet everything has a natural harmony. The tangerine and pink colours in the SS18 collection were inspired by sea creatures that we found during our water related research. Specifically the insides of clams have these incredibly vibrant tones of orange, peach, and pink. I liked the idea of something hidden in the deep blue sea can have the warmth of a sunset.” She once mentioned “water” is a recurring theme that she found in her previous works. In her spring/summer collection, apart from exploring the concept of water and its ever-changing state, it also deals with the state of human beings. Clothing is an extension of human body that connects one with the outside world, it is as well a medium through which a person expresses their different faces. Water turns into different states according to the surrounding condition, Su also gives clothing the ability to help manifest people’s different states of mind. This is perhaps the rationale behind her design.