“The song feels the infinite in the air, the picture in the earth, the poem in the air and the earth; for its words have meaning that walks and music that soars.” A spotlight on PSEUDO/POEMS, photographed by Marco Giuliano and styled by Anca Macavei.
Can you tell us the story behind PSEUDO/POEMS.
The brand’s lead designer, Mingyan Yang, graduated from Parsons School of Design in 2016 with a speciality in womenswear. That year, she won the UNIQLO Global Competition which gave her the opportunity to work at its HQ in Tokyo as a womenswear designer. Her design identity is characterized by marrying Western ideals of romantic beauty with Eastern standards of functionality, achieving a new form of soft femininity. The original inspiration for PSEUDO/POEMS derives from Rabindranath Tagore’s “Stray Birds” verse no. 204 – “The song feels the infinite in the air, the picture in the earth, the poem in the air and the earth; For its words have meaning that walks and music that soars.” PSEUDO/POEMS composes in garments, and the garments that are worn in turn becomes beautiful poems of the future.
Your brand statement is ”Several unfinished chapters”. Can you tell us more about the inspirations behind your brand and collections.
When we tried to deconstruct the definition of “poem”, we found that poem is actually an all-encompassing and complicated structure. If you want to disassemble it into parts, you will always get more than expected. People could use the word “poem” to describe various art forms such as dance, music, painting or even digital art. Poetry runs through art and history. As an ongoing brand, we hope that everything we create could harmoniously build a whole during the process of creation, then each stage is also called a “chapter” for us. As long as the creation continues, the chapters will remain unfinished.
What about your creative process, how do you start working on a collection?
It usually starts from tiny fragments of any kind of art, such as books, painting, dance, music or even an old photo. We like to make the fragments of these poems and present them in front of the audience through the second artistic rendering with a soft female perspective. Also, skin-friendly fabrics inspire us a lot. We are always attracted by silk, cotton, hemp and various natural materials with texture. Through the careful design process, the characteristics of the fabric would be completely presented to the audience. Lightweight silk fabrics enhance the interaction with the body and skin-friendly feeling. We use layered silk fabrics to intersect with the body. Our design could only be completed and sublimated when people are wearing them on.
An interesting phenomenon is that as the country that invented silk fabric, China has decreased the usage of silk in fashion industry during the modern ages. Most of the Chinese silk products are traditional clothings nowadays. When our designer were studying in New York, she found out that silk fabrics are expensive and unattainable there. So when she returned to China, she decided to use silk as the main fabric. PSEUDO/POEMS wanted to apply silk fabric in modern forms to reveal the vitality that could attract the younger generation with this ancient material.
Do you have a muse or particular type of woman in mind when designing?
She likes flowers, and she likes dreams.
I find your aesthetic to be quite “romantic” and your approach to fashion fairly classical, do you feel there is still room for romanticism in the context of contemporary fashion nowadays?
Fashion is often referred to as a cycle. Various trends and styles are shifting back and forth. Being romantic is actually not a style, but more like an individual characteristic and personality. Everyone has a different definition of romance, some people are outgoing, while others are more restrained. The development of the world has also made the form of romance more and more abundant. PSEUDO/POEMS uses its own way to express romance, just like any youth, elder or child.
Do you recognize your roots in Chinese culture as one of the main influences of your work?
As a Chinese designer who finished education in New York, our designer has a deeper understanding of design and culture from both Western and Eastern world. In fact, the pursuit of truth, beauty and kindness is consistent in both backgrounds. On the one hand, Western education has given us broad perspective and advanced methods to effectively realize our concept. On the other hand, the oriental background has also made our expression more delicate and subtle, which could be observed from many details. Even if PSEUDO/POEMS is trying to build a modern romantic brand, we can still find some clues from Eastern values in our design.
What’s next for PSEUDO/POEMS?
I would recommend the poem Ophelia from Arthur Rimbaud. It is our inspiration for the upcoming collection. PSEUDO/POEMS will be committed to adhering to the modern romantic design style, while incorporating more dramatic elements and bolder colors, and presenting the continued aesthetic to everyone from various angles.
Photography: Marco Giuliano / @marcogiulianoph
Styling & words: Anca Macavei / @ancamacavei
Creative direction: Inga Lavarini / @ilavarini
Assistants: Martina Cambruzzi, Isabel Evangelisti / @martinacambruzzi @isabelevangelisti
Model: Madalina at Brave Models / @maddfodor @bravemodels
All garments: PSEUDO/POEMS / @pseudo_poems
Jewellery: Aligheri / @alighieri_jewellery