Interview with Huang Ting-Yun

Copenhagen Fashion week.

In Designers’ Nest, Copenhagen Fashion week. Photo by MUUSE

Huang Ting-Yun, goes by the name of Bubble and grew up in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She loves architectural lectures, all kinds of material and has recently started her label Huang Ting-Yun. With Cristobal Balenciaga as one of her designer favourites and a complicated love hate feeling for fashion, Bubble’s designs are vividly bold with an simple elegance only she can portray. With an idea of creating a fashion empire and a passion for costume design, this once Advertising major has taken the right turn into fashion design.

Grey look styled by Tuomas Laitinen

Grey look styled by Tuomas Laitinen, Shoot by Chris Vidal Tenomaa

Tell us a little about yourself?

HTYI moved to Taipei when I started my BA in 2002. I studied Advertising for my bachelor but I realised I do not have talent in doing advertising and I wanted to make tangible objects. I have always been very into all kind of materials and clothing (not fashion). So I decided I want to make clothes.

It started from learning the technique of pattern cutting and sewing after I graduated from bachelor. After two years of learning and working as a freelancer, I wanted to come to Europe. But coming to Helsinki was not in my plan in the first place. I was looking at a few different schools until one day I randomly watched a Finnish film, ‘Elina: As If I Wasn’t There’. The purity and simplicity of the movie is fascinating this drove and continues to drive my curiosity about this country. So I decided to move to Helsinki and find out more in 2009.

What style icon would rock your pieces?

HTYI have never thought of this question. I do not have certain type or image of girl in mind when I design. I do not like the idea that fashion designers define certain image of either female or male and people follow. Instead, I like seeing my garments worn by different people with their own interpretations.

But I hope someday I could make an interesting piece for film. Film has always been my biggest passion alongside clothing.

Describe hunagtingyun’s idea of fashion?

HTYMy feeling for fashion is complicated, love and hate.

But clothing design to me is about exploring and communication.

I hope to provide different ideas and options of clothing through my exploration.

And clothes or fashion is the method to communicate the idea.

Favourite designers that you look up to?

HTYWow, too many! But the big two have always been in my mind are Cristobal Balenciaga and Rei Kawakubo. Besides the wonderful and unbelievable clothing they have made. I really respect their ability and ambition to challenge and question, and their consistency. The pure spirit and the strong focus shown in their work is really beyond fashion.

Besides, I have very talented friends I met during my master study. I often wonder how they know so many things that I don’t. I do respect them.
Photo by Jussi Särkilahti

Photo by Jussi Särkilahti, makeup Aino Haakana

What music turns your design lights on?

HTYTo be honest, I always feel a bit embarrassed when people ask me about music. Music seems to be a way to classify people nowadays. And when I say I do not have a certain taste of music, people find it funny and confusing.

Most of the time I enjoy quietness and silence when I am working. But if I need some sound I usually listen to films (without watching). It is very interesting to ‘watch’ film without watching. Or, lately I am into some architectural lectures online. They are lectures for some architectural master students in one of Taiwanese university, and someone uploaded them to youtube. The lecture is mainly about the history and theory of different masters such as Le Corbusier, Bauhaus, frank Lloyd Wright and so on…

When did you decide to create a fashion label?

HTYIt was probably only 2 weeks ago [Huang laughs]. I always dreamed about working in a big company, which I still do. But in fact, I have never worked in any company of more than 10 people. Several places that I did my intern and design assistant job were rather small studios. So I thought after the graduation, I want to work with a bigger team of some established company and with many talented people. However, after showing my graduate collection, I was lucky enough to get some opportunities to continue my own design. So at the moment, I am collaborating with another organisation and also setting up my own studio in Helsinki.

Favourite piece of clothing in your wardrobe?

HTYA tattered Levis jeans from my older brother. My brother has been one of my best and oldest friends since childhood. I was his follower whatever he did, his video games, music, clothes and so on. And he was very into jeans and has collected many of them. I have forgetten when, but someday he just stopped wearing jeans for some reason. So I received few pairs from him around ten years ago. I brought one of them with me when I moved here in Helsinki in 2009. And the jeans have been to many places such as, Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, Copenhagen and Paris with me.

Photo by Jussi Särkilahti



Image 1: Photo by Jussi Särkilahti, makeup Aino Haakana

Image 2: In Designers’ Nest, Copenhagen Fashion week. Photo by MUUSE

How do you create the ideas for your collections?

HTYI do not have certain routine of creating ideas (I wish I had). But I am a person full of curiosity, so in my life, everything starts with questioning. This motivations push me to find the answer or the solution. For example my thesis began with questioning the spatial relationship between body and clothes. And the process involved in many experiments of making material and shaping the garments. And the outcome might become the answer to early questions or merely show the process of my thinking.

List three things you couldn’t live without?

HTYHealth, Family, Imagination

Follow Huang Ting-Yun via her website here.

Edited: Florence Bailey