Starting the journey with designing at a very young age, Stephanie Yiu now studies fashion design at Ryerson University and showcases her work at many local fashion events. Yiu pursues her designs in bridal and eveningwear collections inspired by the world around her. In her designs, she plays with satins, lace, and sheer chiffons by incorporating her feminine and cheerful personality.
Yiu aims to move from a local to a more large-scale market and launch her own label, S.B.L by Stephanie in the future.
CanCulture: How did you get into fashion design?
Yiu: It’s hard to say exactly when I was into fashion because it felt like a very gradual process. I had always drawn dresses and designed different clothing styles at a very young age. Eventually, I began incorporating this into my school projects and it became evident that I should pursue this as a career.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from many different aspects of everyday life. I like to stop at various points of my day and just step back and admire my surroundings. It could be the natural beauty of the environment, the scenery, the landscape, the people, or stopping in front of a store and appreciating the textural designs in current trends. I then hone in on some of these things, for instance the environment, and focus on designs that revolve around this concept. In particular, I was able to design a series of dresses from plastic bags with the idea of creating environmentally friendly dresses in mind.
What do you enjoy the most about designing?
I enjoy looking at something I’ve created, something that came from my imagination that has now become a reality. I think this is the most satisfying and fulfilling part of designing.
What is the most challenging part about being a designer?
I think being a designer is a very independent job that requires a lot of responsibility and management. It requires balancing everything on your own, from promotions via social media to sewing and designing, and coordinating model selection and rehearsals. As a designer, you are ultimately calling the shots when it comes to how you want your collection on the runway to look, so you have to learn to communicate effectively to your models your vision and keep a keen eye for the kind of models you think will bring out your artistry best.
Do your pieces reflect your personal style?
Definitely, I think every designer has their own personal influence in the designs they create and with me, I have a more feminine and cheerful personality, which definitely reflects in the floral, dreamy, whimsical, light muted colour designs I create.
What fabrics do you like the most to work with? What are the most difficult to work with for you?
I’m all about surface texture; my designs have a simple silhouette, but I like to add a lot of textures and surface embellishments in order to accent something simple into something unique. In particular, I prefer eveningwear fabrics such as satins, lace, sheer chiffons that are light with delicate coloration or mysterious and dark. I feel that these bring a prestigious hint to my designs, which can be ameliorated with some surface additions. However, a huge downside to my preferential fabrics is that they are also the most difficult to work with because these fabrics are so delicate that meticulous care must be given in design and production. I find that many common techniques used in creating a dress using other fabrics cannot be as easily translated when working with these fabrics, and requires one to think of alternative methods in order to achieve similar results.
Is there anyone who helps you with putting the pieces together?
While I work mostly independently on my collections, I get a lot of help from my family when it comes to a very detailed dress. I am grateful that they are willing to invest their own time helping me assemble the more tedious pieces.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement thus far would be having my designs featured on CTV news in London, Ontario for the CAISA Fashion Show in March 2015. I am actively involved in many fashion shows, whether affiliated with Ryerson’s Fashion Design or locally, and to me, this was a point that culminated in recognition of my active participation in these events.
What are your plans for the future?
In the foreseeable future, I would like to work under the guidance of talented designers in the bridal or eveningwear field, gradually moving from a local to a more large-scale market. In the long term, I would like to someday launch my own label during fashion week.