“ALL COMES FROM NOTHING:” COULD THIS STATEMENT BE ANY MORE TRUE? EVEN AS I AM WRITING RIGHT NOW, IT ALL COMES FROM NOTHING. THERE IS A PROCESS: BETTER SAID, A JOURNEY THAT EVERY SUCCESSFUL PERSON HAS TO GO THROUGH, WHETHER YOU ARE A FASHION DESIGNER OR NOT. EVEN THE MOST SUCCESSFUL DESIGNERS STARTED FROM WHERE ELSE BUT NOTHING. FASHION LOVERS OR NOT, WE ALL HAVE HEARD OF COCO CHANEL, CALVIN KLEIN, MARC JACOBS, MICHAEL KORS, AND SO FORTH. THEY DID NOT BECOME HUGE SUCCESSES OVERNIGHT. HAVING HUGE BILLBOARDS AND HAVING YOUR BRAND IN SUCCESSFUL MAGAZINES TAKES HARD WORK. KLEIN STARTED MAKING JEANS FROM HIS APARTMENT AND HE HAS MADE A GLOBAL NAME FOR HIMSELF. IT “ALL COMES FROM NOTHING.” “ALL COMES FROM NOTHING” IS THE ONLY TRUTH; THIS IS WHY I WANTED TO INTERVIEW DESIGNER EVA YIWEI XU, THE FOUNDER OF “ALL COMES FROM NOTHING,” AND WHY I WANTED TO KNOW HOW HER LINE STARTED FROM NOTHING AND HOW IT IS BECOMING SOMETHING IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY.
I was introduced to the “All Comes From Nothing” collection during Nolcha Shows at New York Fashion Week. The key element that I observed on the runway was a creative style that still had the ability to be simple and timeless at the same time. I noticed designer Eva Yiwei Xu‘s collection had an artsy side that left me eager to learn more about “All Comes From Nothing.” I was left wondering to myself, “what was the influence, inspiration, and story behind the All Comes From Nothing brand?” This interview reveals those exact thoughts. But before that, check designer Eva Yiwei Xu 2016 Fall/Winter Collection during NYFW.
Before the interview, of course your Blogger/ Journalist Rachel Ulloa had to take a look at the clothes! Pictures, anyone?
Rachel Ulloa: I found it very interesting that your collection is named “All Comes from Nothing.” How did you come up with that name?
Eva Yiwei Xu: Well that’s actually from one of the ancient Chinese philosophies…it literally means everything comes from nothing. Another reason why I named my collection “All Comes from Nothing” was because I have been in the industry for…not a short time. I had enough resources to start my own business, but when I started I still felt that my collection was nothing and I was a nobody and I needed all the help I can get from the industry, so my collection came from nothing.
Rachel Ulloa: When did you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you wanted to become a fashion designer?
Eva Yiwei Xu: I knew by the age of eight I wanted to become a fashion designer.
Rachel Ulloa: Wow, at the age of eight you knew you wanted to become a fashion designer…that leads me to my next question. Who inspired you to become a fashion designer? Who opened your eyes to fashion? Did your family or even your culture had an influence towards you in wanting to become a fashion designer?
Eva Yiwei Xu: It is pretty weird, actually; my dad is an eye doctor and my mother is a mechanical engineer (chuckle). I don’t know who inspired me but I was watching FTV, Fashion TV, when it first aired in 1996…and I kept on watching its shows every day for 10 hours…which is not good for kids (chuckle). It was my passion, then I told my mom I want to go to the best design college in China and I want to become a fashion designer in the future.
Rachel Ulloa: Are your parents supportive? Correct me if I am wrong, is the Chinese culture very strict when it comes to higher education? Did your family take you seriously when you said you were going to be a fashion designer?
Eva Yiwei Xu: My family is very supportive when it comes to my career. You are correct, the Chinese culture is very strict on education. Especially, my parents that have higher-education degrees and advanced degrees. The college I went to is part of Tsinghua University and that is the best university in China. They had no complaint about that (chuckles). They were more like, even if you went to an academy of art and design it was the best college for art and design. For example, the college I went to was like the (Chinese) equivalent of Yale for art and design. So there were no complaints.
Rachel Ulloa: Did you intern for any well-known fashion designers?
Eva Yiwei Xu: Yes, I have interned with well-known designers. I have interned for Anna Sui. I have interned with Michael Kors, which led to my first job. I also have done a lot of volunteer work in the fashion industry aside from my internships…I helped Charles Warren with his first fashion show. I accumulated a lot of experience while helping those people establish their own business aside from working.
Rachel Ulloa: The fashion industry is very competitive. There are a lot of designers and we are in New York City. What is different about your collection compared with other designers? What makes your collection so special? Why should people take interest in your collection?
Eva Yiwei Xu: Well, I design for women that has creative lifestyle. In New York City I am always surrounded with women with creative professions. For example, artist, designers, creators, bloggers, writers, florists, bakers…they create for a living. They live on their own ideas, their own dreams. For those people I felt often I can’t really see them wearing H&M or Zara…I felt like people with creative lifestyles needed something easy to mix and match with design details. They can wear my line from their own studio to a gallery opening. For example, the jacket you just tried on you can wear working in your studio or writing your blog, then change your high heels and a few accessories and it will be very apparent and presentable to a gallery opening or some other kind of event but it still has design detail.
What is different about my designs is that I feel like people will feel their personalities underneath the design. It’s not about me, it is about women with creative professions. They will feel there is a design for them and they will feel the difference. Also, another part of my design is heavily influenced by contemporary art, and for me, I am a big fan of minimalist art. Also I have a fine arts degree and I am always surrounded by art people. My major clients include art dealers, curators…so those people have a very influential lifestyle. They’re curious about where they’re going, what their auction will look like, what kind of pictures they will take…that is something that is found in my brand identity.
“It’s not about me it is about women with creative professions. They will feel there is a design for them and feel the difference.”
Rachel Ulloa: Describe your brand. For example, the fabrics and colors that you use. Do you like to mix fabrics at all? What fabrics can we see in your 2016 fall/winter collection?
Eva Yiwei Xu: Well I don’t have a specific color story. It’s just back to the personality. I like to use black, white, and grey and a little bit of color. I like using colors that are subtle, not super light. I don’t use neon or hot pink.
I do combinations with fabrics. The fabrics I use for winter is wool because majorly because I like the feeling of wool and I feel that is a very classic material. It never dies, everyone has a wool coat. You must have your favorite wool coat. A wool coat might be the biggest investment for a young person because it can last a lifetime and I feel my design is kind of timeless so I wanted to have a wool coat because the wool coat is timeless. That is my main material for fall/winter, but I also design a collection so I combine other materials, for example, leather and wool…maybe something a little bit high tech; for example, the trench coat in my collection it is not real suede, it is kind of like…a very, very lightweight scuba (material) but has a suede coating. It keeps you warm and you care where throughout the season. For Spring/Summer I use silk and Tencel, which is another advanced material.
This wool and leather coat is an example of how designer Eva Yiwei Xu mixes fabrics. Wool and leather are a perfect combination of two different fabrics. I was very astonished by how this coat is super light and warm. “All comes from nothing.”
Rachel Ulloa: What inspired you for your fall/winter 2016?
Eva Yiwei Xu: I was inspired by minimalist artist Solomon LeWitt’s artwork. All the lines and patterns are from his artwork. Actually I extracted the green color and the beige color from one of his works as well. He is also known as a concept artist, in which he can work with an art concept, and anyone can make art according to that formula. Which is very interesting, I can use that in my designs in very small elements and do a mix and match and create a different style.
Rachel Ulloa: What is your greatest strength as a fashion designer and what is your greatest weakness as fashion designer?
Eva Yiwei Xu: My greatest strength as a fashion designer is that I have a lot of industry experience. A lot of young designers, they haven’t worked in a big company. I worked for Michael Kors and for Ralph Lauren so I am familiar with the construction of a big company. I know there are a lot of things to do in order to put together just one project. It’s not just that a designer designs. There is always work; there is always construction. There is always management. That’s my strength.
My weakness as a fashion designer? I think a weakness for most fashion designers is time management skills (chuckle)…if there is any time management class I would take it. I feel I always work very late at night. I think if I can do better on time management that will be a solution on my daily life.
Rachel Ulloa: Did you ever had a time you wanted to give up on fashion?
Eva Yiwei Xu: No, it never happened to me. I never thought about what else I can do. It never has been hard for me, honestly. I try my best. Of course I have been rejected but I never felt…desperate when it came to my job.
A sleeveless top from “All Comes from Nothing.”
Rachel Ulloa: What makes a good designer?
Eva Yiwei Xu: What makes a good fashion designer…talent is a must. Must have funds otherwise is like a money spending industry and you have to go through a lot to certain level. Social skills are very important too…especially when we are living in a social media world; it’s also important to promote yourself and to have a good team.
And it’s a wrap, my interview with designer Eva Yiwei Xu!
Check out her website: www.allcomesfromnothing.com
Until Next Time Rachel Ulloa Is On The Go!
Special thanks to Bene Rialto, the workspace and marketplace hosting Eva Yiwei Xu and All Comes From Nothing (www.benerialto.com); and to Photo Credit: Images in Photography, and Asa Williams.