DI DU is not afraid to disrupt our comfort zone. From her creative process to societal perspectives, the designer wants to push to improve. Newspapers, wires, face masks, reflective lights. Her collections undeniably scream a message of power and liberation. DI DU’s vision is contagious and her visuals ask for more. Read her words on feminine power, vintage-futurism and cultural disruption.
Hi DI DU, I love your work. How did your fashion journey take off?
Hi COEVAL, Thank you so much! I would say my fashion journey started by studying in Antwerp. I had the most freedom of my life here which stimulated my work. Seeing inspiration from my daily life became a conditioned reflex.
Your collections are full of references and statements. Newspapers, wires, face masks, reflective lights. It seems you’re making a statement and trying to break free from something. What are the boundaries you want to push?
That’s very true! My last collection was named by “If Wishes Were Horses”, which is an installation of Camille Henrot. I wanted to express my thoughts on cultural censorship over the media. A horse is the image of freedom and only wishes could not make the things change. If young generations want all their rights, we need to do something to break through and disrupt the situation.
Your signature heel is pretty iconic. I love how you called it the ‘shoe weapon’ in one of your Instagram posts. What was the inspiration behind this design?
I’ve always had a passion for heels. I found my inspiration one day when I passed by a construction site. I saw an electric drill laying on the ground and I was thinking, um, this could be a heel! I feel it was already in my mind, the drill was a trigger which brought the whole image to life. The heel is like a curved drill, wanting to drill a hole through limits. This desire to push reflects the spirit of my collection.
Part of your avant-garde designs is a focus on feminine power. What is feminine power to you and how do you aim to support female empowerment?
For me, the female body itself has the most power. In my designs, I just want to show it all; the beauty, the curves of our bodies. I think girls should be confident of themselves. Confidence is the recourse of power.
You draw inspiration from contemporary female artists. Can you give an example and how it influenced your work?
I actually found this out afterwards. It’s not that I went digging into female artists only for the sake of it being female artists. I think there is a connection between my vision and theirs. When I look back at each project, it was always inspired by a female artist but each of them had different statements.
In your creative process, how do you find ways to get out of your comfort zone and to what sources of inspiration are you moving back to?
I like to try out different things and to work on my weak points. I think that’s how I step out of my comfort zone, always trying to put some new spice in it and push my abilities. At the same time, it’s important to me to stay true to myself and my own language. In this way, even though I change some elements, the spirit stays.
Does your Chinese heritage play a part in your creative work?
Yes definitely. It’s not superficially visible in any specific elements etc. but it’s rooted inside of me and affects my thoughts and choices. I lived between two cultures and experienced the difference between them offering me a special view of both Western and Eastern culture.
If you could pick one person to fully dress in DI DU, who would it be?
Only one haha?! My first muse was Sita Bellan, she wore my jumpsuit once at an event. She totally rocked it. Plus I would love to see Bella Hadid wearing a full look DI DU.
Your work and image show futuristic references. If you could design your own world, what would it look like?
I always loved the scene from the movie “ 2001 A Space Odyssey” when the astronaut is walking through the tunnel. If I could design a space, I want to create a vintage-futuristic spaceship-looking room. I call it vintage-futuristic because I’m fascinated by the early years when people started to imagine scientific future worlds. To me, it’s more interesting than contemporary visions, maybe because we are already living in their future worlds comparatively.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
I would say more interesting work. I still have a lot of inspiration and ideas are coming up. I would also like to try to do something besides fashion, like film, art, etc.
courtesy DI DU
interview ANIEK STROEKEN
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