Robert Wun

“finding the right balance between freedom and restrain, creativity and reality, patience and precision”

Robert Wun. Now let’s repeat: Robert Wun. We should not stop repeating, as we really might be facing one of the most extraordinary minds of contemporary fashion.

The Hong-Kong born designer sat down with NR to discuss his latest collection, the family memories that inspired it, and, most importantly, his fight for inclusivity. Leading us through a sincere recollection of anecdotes and reflections that shaped his aesthetic and beliefs, the young creator tells us a story of empowerment and attitude.

“Equality, Diversity, Sustainability and Accountability”, It’s a fight against the system what Wun’s aiming for. Nowadays more than ever, we are reminded of the urgent need for change within the institutions, and his creations are an open invitation to it. We might not yet be sure how to feel about Robert’s AW21 journey, but surely heaven has never looked this good.

Your last AW21 collection ‘Armour’ is simply mind-blowing. Tell us more about your inspiration behind it.

Thank you so much! The collection is a tribute to my grandmother whom I lost last year in October. The collection is also a celebration of her and all the women who have inspired and changed my life. Every look is inspired and named after a woman.
I admire powerful strong women because of my grandmother: she shaped my views of feminism, and taught me about love and respect. I have had the pleasure to connect and cross paths with incredible and inspirational women who I’m lucky to call my closest friends and family.

Swallow birds are a key inspiration of the collection. They were my grandmother’s favourite birds back in her village in Hainan Island, China. They also hold significant meaning to our family: according to a poem, young swallows are meant to one day leave their nest, and live their life without their parents. The poem resonates a lot with me, considering I left Hong Kong to pursue my dream in the UK. 

“This season, I am building an army to go to heaven with her.”

The collection is presented at dusk, as that’s how I’ve always imagined heaven’s gates to look like, in a sort of surreal dimension. It is my most personal collection: a self written diary documenting the many memories of my grandmother, my family, and my close friends. I also decided to photograph the collection myself. It felt right to be the one behind the lens – of what I believe to be – the most genuine collection I have ever created.

The idea of womanhood presence in your childhood played a determining role in shaping your aesthetic and designs. What do you see in it?

My work revolves around feminism, it shows my admiration towards strong women. 
During the post civil war, my grandmother moved to Hong Kong on her own. Mending clothes, making plastic flowers and sewing shoes, she raised my father as a single mother, not knowing a word of the native language. 
My mother’s work ethic of work & studying since the young age of 12.. She’s still pursuing a Doctor Degree.

“The idea of womanhood has always been very ingrained in our family, and the interplay between grace and strength is how I portray femininity in my work.”

Your training started a while ago at LCF. How has your practice developed since then?

Becoming a designer and brand owner, the biggest development is gaining responsibilities and business knowledge of the industry. I have grown, season by season: navigating in finding the right balance between freedom and restrain, creativity and reality, patience and precision.. And, ultimately, coming to the knowledge and the understanding of the importance in execution.

What were the biggest cultural challenges you faced in building up your vision?

I would say the biggest cultural challenge is the constant fight against the system. Trying to box me in a diversity category, it’s tokenism culture. As an East Asian designer, identity is constantly the only element they wish to see in my work. I found that dehumanising, it diminishes my vision. My work is not always about my heritage nor it certainly does fit into the western gaze perception.

What do you hope people will take away from your collections?

Hopefully something inspiring and timeless, profound, yet optimistic.

Pleats, pleats and pleats. Your approach to them is revolutionary: what is so special to you about them?

The pleat style and technique is called Sunray-pleating, I see them almost as a powerful pattern of illusion. Like a palm tree leaf, feathers on a bird’s wing, or sun rays through the clouds, I am always inspired and mesmerised with those patterns in nature.

Gaga, Cardi B, Willow Smith, Billy Porter, to name just a few of the celebrities that went for your designs.. How do you feel about such great feedback? Who would you love to see next?

It is such an honour and blessing to be able to dress all these powerful women. Many of them have inspired me since I was young! I would love to dress Naomi Osaka, Frances McDormand, and, of course, Beyoncé.

What do you believe to be the biggest urgency in Fashion right now?
Equality, Diversity, Sustainability and Accountability. How does your personal vision and practice embrace these?

“I have always aimed to normalise sustainability and diversity. I do not believe in marketing these values as a gimmick to sell the brand.”

I think they should be a common practice in all businesses, not just in fashion.

What should we expect from you in the near future?

What’s next for the brand will be a full e-commerce in 2021 and the introduction of new accessories. I am planning a very exciting collection for SS22: we will be working with incredible figures from the industry at expanding the brand’s language beyond gender, size and identity.



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