Kong Yue is one of the notable fashion designers who emerged from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. His vibrant and statuesque creations are produced with the help of highly sustainable practices, which the designer developed himself, without compromising the desired aesthetic.

As a freshly graduated fashion student, what do you want to bring to the world as a creator?

Currently, I am busy with the creative work of my graduation collection. I really love nature, so sustainable development is an indispensable and important prerequisite in my creative process. Therefore, I have developed many highly sustainable craftsmanship techniques to integrate into my design aesthetics, which is the uniqueness and advantage of my design.

What sources of inspiration have had the most significant impact during your studies?

For example, the extensive use of the zero-waste wool wet-felt technology process fundamentally meets the needs for sustainable production. Moreover, I pursue maximum eco-friendly approach at each and every step of the design process. For example, I regenerated all of the offcuts, while ensuring a minimum of waste from pattern cutting. In addition, all the synthetic-fibre fabrics (such as lining) in this collection are sourced from recycled fibre factories, with which I have a high level of cooperation.

Can you introduce us to your latest collection called STADTMITTE?

This collection was inspired by a fire accident in China where the telecom building in Changsha city burned to the ground in a matter of minutes. Skyscrapers were once considered a symbol of a city’s flourishing. Growing up in Shanghai, the most prosperous metropolis in China, where the city is dotted with skyscrapers of varying styles, used to make me believe that skyscrapers were a synthesis of the wisdom and aesthetics of our modern human civilisation. But it caused a great shake in my heart for the security of modern civilisation when such a magnificent architecture was destroyed before my eyes, which made me start imagining what it would be like to return to the Earth thousands of years from now when humankind has already migrated away from it a long time ago.

Let’s talk a bit about fabric in your project. Rothko’s colour palette evokes intense emotions; his work inspired your colour choice. Can you tell us what fascinates you about his work and how you transfer that to your unique textile techniques?

It led me to brutalism, a modern architectural aesthetic that had its heyday in the 50s-60s. It’s a style full of functionalism, minimal geometric lines, and raw materiality, without any superfluous ornamentation, just the pure expression of the strength and resilience of the lines. It took me from UIRICH MUTHER’s “The lifeguard hut” to Peter Chamberline’s utopian complex “Barbican Centre” and many more. A simple geometric composition creates the strongest sense of architectural grandeur. These elements give me a lot of inspiration for the silhouette of the garment, for example, the bullet silhouette, the oval silhouette, and the new La Tulipe silhouette.

What was the most challenging part of making a collection?

The extreme use of concrete and the raw texture of brutalist architecture inspired me to create a lot of textiles. As already mentioned, I was also inspired by the colour-blocked paintings of Rothko, a style of color expression that fits well with the minimalist silhouette of brutalism architecture. So I mixed different colours of wool by using the wet felting process to make the textile look like colour blotches on a concrete wall.

What area of the fashion industry are you most interested in pursuing as a career?

The biggest challenge for me presently is how to achieve a higher standard of completion for sustainable design, and how to invest this technology in industrial production processes at a lower cost. As a student, I can only achieve a very preliminary prototype, so I hope to find a more professional team to jointly develop this technology, so that my sustainable concept can be more widely spread.

Last question: what would a utopian society look like for you if you had the power to create it?

I hope that a thousand years from now, humankind won’t have to leave our mother planet and that the Earth will still be vibrant.

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Kong Yue is an artist originally from Shanghai, China. After graduating from the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, he relocated to Antwerp where he finished his BA and MA at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and where he still lives and creates. Between 2019 and 2020, Yue was the Creative Director of Shanghai Luli Fashion and also participated in the costume design for the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.


Designer: Kong Yue

Interview: Kateřina Hynková

Master collection:

Photographer: @antonfayle

Light: @mawbau

Model: @laurencevdperre @alice.de.broqueville

3rd year BA graduate collection 

Model: @alice.de.broqueville

Photographer: @michael_smits

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