Wenqi Wu is a fashion designer. A recent graduate of Parsons The New School for Design, he established his own RTW label, WENQI WU, in July 2014.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I was born in Shanghai. My childhood was guided by traditional Confucian values and the practice of Chinese calligraphy. Today, these elements are visible the way I focus on lines and shapes in my designs. After I moved to New York as a teenager, my visual sensibility was further shaped by the contradictions between Eastern and Western culture.
Last May I graduated from Parsons The New School for Design, where I won many awards, including the Gianfranco Ferre Foundation x Parsons competition award and sponsorships from companies including Saga Furs and IRIS Shoes, both of whom produced my designs. My graduation collection was covered by The Cut and Style.com, among many other media outlets.
During my study at Parsons the New School for Design, I had a glimpse of the industry through internships with Donna Karan Collection and Bibhu Mohapatra.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I am actually in China right now doing market sales season here. Also I have started sketching for Spring/Summer 2016.
How did your interest in art or fashion begin? I guess my mother enlightened my first interest in fashion and art. She used to work in the fur industry, and I can still remember how I used to watch her getting dressed up everyday when I was a child. My mother encouraged me to start studying traditional Chinese calligraphy, and to pursue a degree in fashion design.
#1 fashion don’t? Over accessorizing.
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? My Fall/Winter 2015 Collection was inspired by the advertising posters from the 1920’s Russian Constructivism era, produced by Alexander Rodchenko and Vladimir Mayakovsky. The collection was especially influenced by the use of geometric shapes and lines with dynamic colors. I manipulated the commercial art poster motifs into my unique dialogue of innovative patterns, artfully placed lines and shapes, and detailed fabrics like custom Jacquards, cashmere knits and embroideries. Ultimately the goal of this collection was to create youthful, effortless pieces with a twist of utilitarian chic.
What artists or designers are you interested in right now? Nicholas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton. I am a huge Ghesquiere fan; he always put a modern twist into his designs. I am also a huge Marina Abramovic fan; she always pushes the limit of contemporary art.
What’s your favorite thing about your city? New York is a place that fuses the past with future. It’s noisy and dirty, but you can still find a piece of serenity in the city. It’s also a place for international talents. You can access the most modern ideas and things here.
What are your thoughts about the fashion scene in New York? Right now everything is quiet minimal and normcore, but you can start to see that trend is moving forward to a more individual style. You cannot really define specific trends anymore; people add their own personal twist to what we’ve seen on the runways.
What was the last collection you saw that stuck out to you? Raf Simons for Dior FW2015. Raf Simons really put his own touch on a house with great history. It’s very modern, yet still feels like Dior.
What is your beverage of choice when working in your studio? My choice of drink would be a latte with skim milk.
If you hadn’t become a designer what do you think you’d be doing? I really don’t know, maybe I’d open my own store, either retail or E-commerce.
What are you listening to right now? La Femme – Psycho Tropical Berlin.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? The best reaction was when the collection got featured on WWD as one of the 8 emerging talents.