Shanghai-raised designer running her own label in London tells Denise Marray she admires Westwood and Hepburn for their independent streak, and credits the London School of Fashion for making her a 'pattern engineer'
Shanghai-raised Jenny Sun, of London-based label By Sun, talks about being inspired by British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and actress Katharine Hepburn.
What made you want to work in fashion? "Both of my parents were involved in business, and I really sought to learn from that. However, my inclination veered towards creating rather than the logistics of business itself.
"My mother encouraged my creative side and would give me old clothes to repurpose. I spent high school turning old clothes into something new and interesting. Fashion just seemed like a natural career path for me."
Why did you choose Hollywood star Katharine Hepburn as muse for your autumn-winter 2016 collection? "She was the first woman to wear trousers in Hollywood, at a time when they were widely regarded as being 'unladylike'. This showed her spirit of independence and ability to stand apart from the crowd. The '40s era has inspired the whole collection. In that decade the shapes were quite classic. You can see that girls' school uniforms of the era have influenced my designs. We have tried to balance the masculine silhouette with feminine textiles."
Which designer do you most admire? "Vivienne Westwood. To this day her clothes are characteristically Westwood and she remains committed to her unique style, which is admirable for a brand that has been running for decades. Just as important is her sense of charity and her continual campaigning for the environment."
Your garments are beautifully made with great attention to detail. What motivates you to be so passionate? "Learning how to make and design a pattern was an important element of my fashion design technology course at London College of Fashion. It's like learning to be a pattern engineer. I think clothes should feel wonderful on the body. So, for example, I pay a lot of attention to really fine, luxury linings."