Intrinsic Bonds: An Interview with Renli Su
“[I want to create] garments that retain physical traces of their past in order to form an intrinsic bond with the weaver”
Back when I was in London I had the great privilege of sitting down with designer Renli Su in her home to discuss her upcoming SS15 design process and inspiration. Named one of the “Ones to Watch” by Fashion Scouts Renli Su has continued to prove that fashion can be both ethical, beautiful, and empowering.
Just looking at her fabric choices I knew immediately great attention was paid to selecting, curating, and ultimately creating each piece. Renli told me that she placed a high importance on choosing fabrics that were organic both in their texture but also in their potential draping. Yaks wool from Tibet, ramie thread from China, and Irish linen are just a few of the fabrics you will see in her collections. It is evident that Renli spends a lot of time and care in hand selecting her fabrics through what must be a very laborious process. But, she confided in me, the real praise goes to the craftsmen and women who are doing the block printing in India and the weavers who use handlooms to ensure each textile maintains its’ natural feeling. Renli’s attention to the organic process certainly shows well.
Setting her apart from other designers is her insistence on being authentic. Everything from the fabric to the designs scream of detail at every step of the process. When creating her SS15 looks she mentioned her inspiration came from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” Renli was drawn to the concept that women have both a feminine side while also possessing a strong sense of self. Other designers have tried to separate these two concepts but Renli masterfully incorporates the two to create a collection that is both flowing in femininity yet maintains a structured like appeal.
Renli successfully shows that design does not have to abandon traditional modes in order to keep up with the modern pulse. She goes further pointing out that sometimes a throw back to a different era shouldn’t just be held in the design phase. The choice of fabrics and printing techniques deepen this sense in letting the wearer feel connected to a by-gone era while maintaining the modern flexibility we have come to demand from today’s fashions.
I for one cannot wait to get my hands on one of her pieces and look forward to seeing what the future hold for Renli.
For more information about Renli please visit her website at: http://www.renlisu.com/
Photographs taken from renlisu.com Little Women SS15 Collection