Underneath the delicate silhouettes are wistful reminders of a world crawling with bell-shaped skirts and square-cut waistcoats. As nostalgic as her collection may be, behind each piece is a woman who holds a high regard for tradition and is able to carry herself without feeling vulnerable to the opinions of others. Compassionate, yet inquisitive in nature, each woman who sees herself enclothed in Renli’s preserved aesthetic instinctively knows that there is no divide between past and present; that one cannot grow without knowledge of the other.
Could you briefly introduce how your brand came about, as well as what led to the creation of Renli Su?
I always knew that I wanted to start my own label. At first, I spent a couple of years getting to know my design style and exploring different directions. I have always had an eye for detail and when I moved to London I was amazed by antique clothing of the Victorian era and their lifetime of stories to tell. I decided to combine my love of this poetic era, and modernise it for our everyday.
Yes, a great deal of influence from the past can be seen in your work; taking a closer look at the choice of fabrics and stitching patterns applied.
I always use old craftsman’s techniques on cotton, linen, wool and silk in combination with new innovative fabrics and techniques. I think it’s important to keep this balance with in my collections. Now each of my collection carries with it a story of an important event in time, often inspired by strong female characters, writers or some mythical dreamy element of our history.
Looking at your collection this season, a wave of nostalgia could be felt no doubt. With such a vast understanding of different eras; could you tell us more about how you garnered this acute obsession with life in the past?
For me Spring Summer 2020 unfolds a journey in search of Happiness, the story tells of two children Mytyl and Tyltyl, and their journey to find the blue bird. I am drawn to historical references as they are a great starting point for me to be able to gather inspiration, I have always been fascinated with history it allows me to escape into different narratives in time. I find this very romantic.
I’m particularly drawn to the Victorian Era, it’s very inspiring for me. There are a lot of objects from this period that are extremely intricate and have the most incredible details. In my spare time, I have many secret spots in London which I explore to gain inspiration for my work.
With that being said, there is quite a talk about how luxury brands and fast fashion conglomerates alike are pushing for a sustainable future in fashion. Is there any interest for you to take steps in pushing for a sustainable process from the point of creation till it reaches the stores?
I think at the moment there is a significant shift with in the fashion industry towards a slower approach to buying fashion. I think that people are looking for pieces that are timeless and have longevity. The Renli Su signature looks are very identifiable and we have a very loyal client base, I try to make sure that each season I introduce more and more natural fabrics and that each collection builds upon the next.
In a sense, it really is about finding the right momentum; personal responsibility carries a significant role in abiding by the agenda you’ve set for yourself, wouldn’t you agree?
Yes, we are at a really good point of time in our brand right now. We are gaining more and more of an international following and I love seeing how my brand evolves each season. I have a small team in London and a small team in China which means I get the best of both world’s and this allows us to keep pushing our design processes and explore new techniques.
I think many brands have their DNA but are too easily strayed with big fashion trends. Individuality is important to me and my customers.
One last thing before we leave you. With all the potential challenges ahead for brands, new and old alike, are there any daily routines practiced that help keep you focused on what’s next your eponymous label?
I think that the most challenging part is juggling the management and the creative aspects of the job. We live in a sea of fashion brands but for me it’s about consistency, if I can make sure I always have a clear direction and a unique DNA for my brand then I have a loyal following of customers. I think many brands have their DNA but are too easily strayed with big fashion trends. Individuality is important to me and my customers.
In terms of daily routines, I like to observe other creatives whether it be a sound engineer or a stylist on set. I like seeing how they work and what keeps them driven and motivated. For me this is very inspiring as it makes me view my practice and how to develop it in a very objective way.