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Exclusive interview with Ryan Lo

We caught up with the Hong Kong-born designer ahead of London Fashion Week

Sufiyeh Hadian-Clarke
Sufiyeh Hadian-Clarke,

Ryan Lo was born in Hong Kong and spent many of his formative years in London, where he studied at the London College of Fashion. Romantic fantasy is the consistent theme in his work and he draws inspiration from current pop culture and from childhood memories. He takes an unconventional approach to design, for which he has even taught himself to knit from a YouTube tutorial.

Since launching his label he has created clothes that are a feast for the eyes and has developed a colourful level of sophistication. With his rule-breaking maximalist sensibilities he sends an unexpectedly modern wardrobe down the runway. We caught up with the designer to find out more.

What was your first foray into the fashion industry?
There have been so many interesting moments in life, but looking back, a Frenchman called Charles Anastase spoiled me a lot when I interned for him at 18. We became close friends and he taught me so much; I even modelled for him in a show along with Stella Maxwell. That’s nearly a decade ago.

How has your heritage impacted your designs?
As a colony, Hong Kong influenced me so much - the idea of East meets West in a cultural melting pot. It made me see other cultures as a secondary layer. Things get twisted and sometimes the references are a bit off or wrong but that makes life far more interesting. It’s like Chinatown or katsu curry - seeing things from an Asian perspective and then making them my own.

What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I love putting things together. That magic moment when everything starts to click and you and your team realise you have done something amazing. I usually laugh very hysterically if the looks are really good.

What are your LFW plans?
Get it done. And do it well.

How does London differ from other cities to you?
The people. My collaborators such as Victoria Young, Sam McKnight, Stephen Jones, Isamaya Ffrench are all British. The people here are super-lovely. I’ve met so many wonderful people who have supported me for years and years, such as Susie Lau who does all my press releases, and people like Lulu Kennedy.

Where do you like to go while you are in London?
Dover Street Market is pretty special, and the pink room at Sketch London is my dream place. I love the Hayward Gallery – some years ago it had a Tracey Emin exhibition which I still remember.

What other designers do you most admire and why?
Lagerfeld’s Chanel and the original Sonia Rykiel. I like the idea that different women can go to the same brand for different items or occasions, from useful sweaters to cocktail slip dresses, and the aesthetic is still very strong.

What do you think the future holds for the fashion industry?
The idea of good taste and bad taste has gone. There are no rules any more and nothing is ugly. Everyone who is rich enough will be welcome and accepted to the club. Money and numbers will start to become the only rule. And the rise of new markets like Russia, China and the Middle East will influence the taste and culture in fashion too.

Tell us more about your SS18 collection
Black, white, weddings, church, death and rebirth. It was my interpretation of British culture.

What’s next for your label?
On to the next one.



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