Leonard Wong is a Chinese designer based in Tokyo, Japan, where he produces his collections. He studied at the Bunka fashion college and graduated in 2013. In 2012 he was awarded the ‘up and coming designer grand prix’ in Tokyo, he got the Ministry of Culture award and the Air France award in 2013. Two more awards followed in 2013, the Bunka Fashion College Design Award and Bunka Fukusou Gakuin. His designs placed him among the finalists for the Italian Vogue young fashion designer award and have been used for the upcoming movie ”Ghost in the Shell”.
#1: What triggered you into becoming a fashion designer?
Since I was a child, I seemed to be naturally drawn to fashion.
Although there were many triggers, the one that struck me into action was simply a conversation with a friend who asked me what I wanted to do in my life. I had previously thought about this, although it seemed rather far fetched since I have never even stitched a hole in a sock before, I told him that I wanted to become a fashion designer. To which he replied “Just do it”. That is how it all started.
#2: Tell me about your process of sketching a design.
More than a process, it’s just something that leaps into mind. No matter how crazy the design is, I just find a way to make it feasibly possible.
#3:Which was the hardest moment of your career so far?
The most challenging part I suppose is starting a new company and the production of the second line. Of course, creating a team needs close attention and hard work since they will be part of the foundation of the second line, so a lot of energy needs to be put into it.
#4:Your designs have very specific structural forms and follow a dark aesthetic. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Inspiration is in everyday life. A game, a movie, the situation that you are currently in , when you are facing difficulties, but mostly the interaction with people. Any notion or emotion that i have unconsciously transforms into a design.
#5: What is the most thrilling part in the construction of an idea/collection?
When the design that manifested in my mind takes shape before my eyes, maintaining balance with the surreal chicness through using the broken down building blocks of tradition, to build something that is unbound by time or category.
#6:Your collections seem rather coherent. Sometimes it seems like you are trying to tell a story. Is this true?
In a way, my couture line is a biography. The idea of the line CAPTIVITY stemmed from an unrequited fondness of a girl. She seemed unreachable, as if she was in a cage. At the same time, I felt I was in a cage. RELEASES was produced after graduation, there no longer was any obligation to abide by the rules of designing. OVER THROW TRADITION was breaking down all the pre-determined rules and going against the main stream. TRANSCENDING SPACE TIME was expressing how some designs travel through time, never fading in fashion timelessly existing in it’s own universe. This is what I aim for.
#7: Your style as a designer is very particular. How would you define your personal style?
I try to seduce, and to captivate people with the sleek and razor sharp shapes, enhancing the beauty of the body.
#8: Some of your designs are not exactly “wearable”. At least not for most people. Do you consider yourself more of an artist?
In the first line I definitely expressed my artistic side which was unharnessed expressionism. But for my second line (real clothes), the designer side is in the steering wheel with the artist in the passengers seat.
#9:What items from your collection will you be wearing yourself?
I wear one of my leather jackets, though at the moment most of my designs are for women. I plan to release LW Mens sometime in the near future.
#10: What are you currently working on?
I’m in the final touch of this year’s second line, whilst working on the Couture line.
Interview by Nelly Skoufatoglou