Meiyu Song was originally born in China, but grew up in Japan – she’s Korean Chinese. She moved to London in 2012, studied for 6 years in Central Saint Martins and she just graduated from University. She’s an emerging designer to watch out for in 2021.
Sassy & Co recently caught up with Meiyu to discuss her brand and here’s what went down:
How did you get into the fashion industry?
My mum was a fashion designer. So since I was young, I was always interested in fashion and arts. She recommended that I go and study in Central Saint Martins which I think was the best decision I ever made.
What do you like most about being a designer?
I think being a designer means you can express your feeling and conviction not just by words also by work. Often, I found it’s difficult to tell everything by words to other people so I think this is the best way to express who I am.
Also, of course, I’m simply just enjoying the making and designing process. All of my stuff is hand made so the process itself will take a really long time. It could be physically very tiring but mentally feeling good once it’s done.
The downside to being a fashion designer?
Long work hours. I think it will depend on what kind of designer you want to be. Personally, I like designing both textiles and silhouettes by myself. I don’t really like using already existing designs. So I make everything from scratch which will be a long process.
I understand why fast fashion exists but I want to create the trend, be a real designer not just copy other people’s work. So although it’s a long process, I believe it’s worth it. I also believe that each collection’s concept is very important. Of course, fashion is about the visual so I need to make it visually beautiful and interesting but at the same time, if there is no meaning (concept) behind it, it will be so shallow and meaningless. We, designers can use our collection to send other people messages so why not do so?
Another downside will be the people. Honestly speaking not everyone in this industry is nice. It’s a very competitive industry so sometimes you have to deal with mean people. When I was a young teenager I thought “The Devil Wears Prada” was just a film so they over-exaggerated the fashion industry but soon I realised that they really didn’t. Actually, the director was being very generous.
What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?
My whole time in CSM. I saw how much people work. How passionate people are. It’s quite scary to know that it’s so normal to work 3 days without sleep before the deadline. Also, during my BA course (3years) except for a long vacation, I only went out with my friends or family about 5 times? I spent every single minute on my textiles and fashion.
Another thing will be London Fashion Week. I was an intern for APUJAN a few years ago. On the actual show, that was so busy and so many things going on. That was definitely a great experience.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
Alice Wellbeloved. She was my tutor for the short course and foundation course. She works for high-end fashion brands such as Sonia Rykiel. She is a super energetic, lovely, and clever person. At the same time, she is very honest and says things in a very straightforward way. Some people say she is harsh but I absolutely loved it because she is always on point and it’s very easy to understand. Also, I didn’t pay for going to school to make friends with my tutors. What I needed was someone who could push me and make me learn things. I completely trust her; even when I did my Master’s course I used to contact her.
Although she wasn’t my tutor anymore she did give me so many important suggestions, opinions and helped me mentally. I was also her assistant tutor for Central Saint Martins’ summer course. She was a really nice boss as well. I just simply learned so much from her.
Another person will be Derek Lawlor. I did an internship for him. Although, we have totally different styles. I love colours. My collection is always full of colours but he tends to use black and white only.
However, I learned a lot of things from him and he was a very nice and kind boss. Not only did I learn a lot of skills from him, but he also did answer all of the questions I was curious about.
Right before the fashion show, I had to do a bit of overtime working but I was very happy to do it. He is kind of the boss who makes you feel you want to be part of his team and make the collection better and better.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.
DIY skills. Not sure about other schools but CSM is definitely not the place to learn “skills/ techniques”. They make you think. Make you learn by yourself.
In this industry, I learned that nothing is impossible. Just DO it.
Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?
As I mentioned before because my mum was a fashion designer, my family is very supportive. I also have a lovely supportive husband. Without their support, I couldn’t do it.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
Probably, I will do more internships. Unfortunately, most of the UK fashion brands don’t pay intern students but you will learn a lot from them so I think it’s definitely worth trying.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Never give up. Nothing is impossible.
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
I want to work for few high-end fashion brands for a few years first then make my own fashion brands.