Her work is rather a personal diary than a brand. Yeha Leung is a New York based designer who fights for freedom in every sense of the word. Her fascination started with Jean Paul Gaultier’s bustier featured on Madonna’s blonde ambition tour and the tail of this moment is still visible in her work today. Dressing icons like Rihanna and FKA Twigs with her avant-garde and lingerie inspired designs, she fuels the evolution of today’s powerful woman.
Your work communicates a juxtaposition of force and delicacy, innocence and darkness. What is the story you want to tell with this contrast?
In a way, I want my designs to reflect who we are as people, complex beings. My work is more like a personal diary rather than a brand. It is my safe space where I can express my best and my worst. I like to experiment with new ideas, often created by mixing uncommon materials together. Color is part of this too, I like to play with people's perceptions of preconceived notions.
Is this contrast in your work rooted in your personal life growing up? How did you discover your fascinations?
It all started with a fascination of Jean Paul Gaultier work featured on Madonna's blonde ambition tour. I was a child and curious of why regular people did not wear these beautiful styles in real life. I guess years later, to this day, I still ask myself the same question.
Throughout your creative process, what sources of inspiration do you find yourself coming back to?
I would have to say women. Powerful women that I have met or long to meet. My work and inspiration can come from anywhere, but in essence I always reference back to confident women.
We can’t argue that you are paying a big contribution to today’s representation of women using social platforms to do so. What is your vision in regards to female empowerment and what are the responses you get from either men or women?
My vision, freedom for all, in all aspects. The power to act, speak, think and dress as one wants without hindrance or restraint from others. In terms of response, it has been very positive, but I don't let people's commentary interfere with my vision.
With a digital reality taking over ground, we are entering a duality in the way we live our lives. There are many mixed opinions on how we are becoming more isolated but on the other hand we have new ways to express ourselves. What is your take on this?
I think society is going through a big transitional period with technology. The idea of online avatars, identity, gender norms and more are being put to the test. I look up to a future where we can use it wisely for the benefit of understanding each other.
Working with big names like FKA twigs and Rihanna your vision is shared to a larger audience. How did these collaborations take off?
I reached out to FKA twigs personally. I did some clothing for her first tour and a couple of her videos, but most importantly, it was my first time collaborating with a dancer. I see her as a moving canvas, it is always a delight to work with her. With Rihanna, I was reached out by one of my favorite stylist Anna Trevelyan whom she did the styling for the “Work” video.
What can we expect from you in 2019?
More experiments, clothing releases and collaborations.
courtesy YEHA LEUNG
interview ANIEK STROEKEN
More to read