One of London's hottest emerging menswear designers, Peir Wu joins Capsule Paris as part of London Showcase - our spotlight on British fashion. A relative newcomer on the scene, we got to know Peir recently, and talked about her influences and the upcoming AW16 collection.
(C) You grew up in Singapore and now living in London. How do those 2 cities influence your work?
I left for London 10 years ago, and while I appreciate Singapore for its efficiency and entrepreneurial spirit, it can also breed a conformist culture that values pragmatism over creativity. London, on the other hand, is home to many interesting and off the wall characters with whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with. However, I often wonder if it possesses the infrastructure to sustain creativity in the long term. That said, both cities have been vital to my personal growth and I’ve learnt to appreciate and embrace the strengths of both cultures, and strive to channel them through my life and work.
(C) What else is a major influence on how you approach design?
I’m obsessed with Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei. and have been reading a lot of his old interviews lately. Although his favorite materials include concrete, glass and steel, he exercises a fluid style and believes that architecture must first be informed by locality and purpose in order to fit in with its surroundings. I respect that his buildings have withstood the test of time in multiple ways - functionally, contextually, stylistically, even politically, but it’s his thought process and way of problem solving that I find truly inspirational.
(C) Tell us about AW16 — what are you working on? What’s inspiring the collection?
I’m really excited about the AW16 collection because this AW16 sees us establishing a core collection for the brand. It’s like a new beginning of sorts because even though AW16 shares the same themes of elegance and functionality that influenced my earlier collections, this will be the first time I put many of the ideas I’ve developed through the seasons with those close to me into one collection to present a complete and essential wardrobe
(C) You used to work for Raf Simons. What is one thing you learned from him that continues to influence you?
I worked for Raf Simons at an interesting time in the brand’s evolution. Raf was evolving the brand’s aesthetic and though it was a small team, it was very dynamic. There was a great degree of trust and open-mindedness, as well honesty and open communication, so there were all these ideas being thrown around about what worked and what didn’t. And because we placed importance in our collective goal, we set aside our egos and managed to produce work we could all be proud of. Till today I try to incorporate the same ideals in my own practice and strive to creatively collaborate outside of a silo, as I believe it helps me create forward-thinking work.
(C) What will be a key item in the collection? Please describe.
My personal favourite piece is the bomber jacket made of what i describe as a “technical linen”, it’s a triacetate woven slubby semi-sheer tech fabric that comes in an unusual melange smoky blue, as well as a plain matte black. We’ve developed a really beautiful and understated finishing - mounting it on cotton, and working it almost like a double cloth. It’s a mid-weight three season bomber jacket which can be used as a layering piece - worn on its own in spring, summer, or autumn, or with a down jacket or wool overcoat for winter. It is representative of our way of remaking a classic garment for a modern man’s wardrobe.
(C) Please tell us about your fabrications — what will you be using for AW16?
So I recently discovered 3 different technical fabrics that I can’t wait to share with our customers. The first is a sweat-wicking technical stretch fabric, which wears and feels amazing. The second, a water-resistant, wind proof Japanese nylon cotton mix with an almost taffeta semi-sheen hand-feel, and lastly, a water-resistant and breathable Japanese nylon with a matte crinkle finish. I think these 3 technical fabrics have helped shape the travel wardrobe into a complete, standalone series
(C) What is so appealing to you about minimalism?
I think perhaps ‘Essentialism’ better captures the essence of what I channel through my work. The main idea I’ve been exploring in the past couple of seasons is about trying to decipher the absolute essentials in a modern man’s wardrobe. A large part of the collection, what I call the “Travel Series”, is a study in practicality, functional clothes made for traveling, spontaneity and moving around constantly. I have been working on paring down the collection further, not aesthetics wise, but continuing to make the clothes even lighter, easier to style, well-constructed and perfect the way the cuts are in order for the clothes to move well on different body types.
(C) Do you keep a specific person or type of person in mind when you’re designing ?
If anything, this collection reflects a lot more of who I am as a person and my own— as well as my clients—lifestyles: active types, thinkers, travelers.