New Talents: About body equality with Doyeon Yoni Yu

Doyeon Yoni Yu was born and raised in South Korea before she moved to New York. She was graduated from Parsons School of Design, Fashion Design.  After her graduation she had more internship collaborations with Universal Standard, Zac Posen, 3.1 Phillip Lim and more. An Interview with Doyeon Yoni Yu, the young designer who support body positivity

Now she launched her own label C’EST D by DOYEON YONI YU, supporting body positivity and size inclusivity. She’s bringing those into her designs and unapologetically designing fashion for all types of bodies. Her creations are to truly celebrate body equality and liberate us all from this fat phobic society.

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Her ultimate goal is to empower women to love their bodies and take a stand against size discrimination. Moreover, she provides choices that we’re missing in plus size market.

A Conversation with Doyeon Yoni Yu:

TSCOF: How did your passion for design start and how your creative process work?

I’ve been always designing and creating since very young without knowing it. When I was in elementary school, I was really into folk arts so I was painting on wooden furniture items. Then I moved onto teddy bear making, which is pretty similar to fashion since it includes pattern cutting, hand sewing and even designing teddy bear’s clothes. So I’d say I’ve been exposed to design field since young. This childhood background led me to the path. 

I’m always inspired by my personal experiences or stories. Based on those, I expand to external sources such as other people’s stories that have same experiences or finding objects that reminds me of certain experiences and etc.

TSCOF: How fashion nowadays helps and motivate you to become a fashion designer?

Fashion nowadays it really needs some changes. Especially issues relating to size diversity, for example, models’ weight problems, designers’ tendency to avoid producing certain size ranges, size discrimination when people shop, etc. Those realities really motivate me to become a better fashion designer to solve those problems. 

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TSCOF: Can you tell us a little bit about your references for the last collection?

2.1 billion people in this world, 30% of world population, are overweight. In this country itself, 67% are beyond size 14, however, our society is fat phobic and discriminates people by their size. I’m redefining the concept of ‘fat’. This Word is not an insult, it’s just an adjective that means you have more tissues in your body. However, our society attaches too much hatred and discrimination to the word ‘fat’. We need to remove the stigma of this word and accept it just as it is. To achieve that, from my perspective, I am unapologetically designing FASHION for FAT bodies, and ultimately providing ‘choices’ that we’re missing right now.

TSCOF: Are you sick of people talking about millennials? Do you see yourself as a designer for young people, a new generation?

Well, I’m even sick of people talking about new year. It’s just another day, nothing more nothing less. You just keep living, why do you put so much meaning on it? I’m a designer for new concept during new generation. As time goes by, perspectives and values change. My designs hold uprising concept I’d say.  

TSCOF: How fashion competitions can change the business industry?  Will you apply at some in the future?

Fashion competitions are good ways to discover new designers. Customers always want something new and fresh. Competitions can fulfill the need of customers eventually. I’m applying for fashion design competitions whenever something comes up, since it really helps to promote my brand too. 

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TSCOF: How do you want people to feel when they wear your clothes?

I want people to feel empowered when they wear my clothes. My collection is sending messages that you’re beautiful as you are, you don’t need other people’s or society’s norms to define your beauty. So the brand is giving various different designs including some designs that have been ‘forbidden’ in plus-size. Don’t find clothes that makes you look ‘smaller’. Find clothes that you like to wear!

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TSCOF: What do you think it’s your best-selling piece from your last collection?

I think my best-selling pieces are something include prints. Prints are all created based on silhouettes of our body movements and people really respond to unique shapes. Also, the participants for my collection research, they were thrilled to see how their body shapes interpreted into fashion. Our body is the most natural creation that ever created. So I think that is why people are curious and interested to see. 

TSCOF: What do you think about the opportunity of selling your products on online platforms, you think it might be a good showcase for your work and your future?

Online platform is good way to start selling products for whom firstly start their business. Because it’s easy to set up and has possibility to spread world-wide. It eliminates the limitation of physical distance. We’re living in a digital era. Online platform is important in every field. Thanks to easy accessibility of online platforms, it makes way easier for emerging designers to showcase their work. For me too. Of course it needs some kind of strategies too, but generally it makes easier compared to old days. 

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TSCOF: What young designers need right now from fashion industry to grow up?

Young and emerging designers lack of exposure. For us to grow, we need more opportunities to showcase our works. I think fashion industry should have more platforms, such as competitions, exhibitions, or runway show for recent graduates and young emerging designers. Which are also sponsored by well-known magazines or organizations. Even though we have some, it’s not enough to draw people’s attention and it lacks of continuity. I’ve chosen as a winner of Flying Solo competition, and it really helps me a lot. It allows my brand to get exposure to the industry because they constantly bring industry people to show designers’ works. This is the good example that fashion industry should follow. 

TSCOF: Last song played on your Spotify/iTunes playlist? Who is your favorite artist right now and would you like to see him/her dressed in C’est D by Doyeon Yoni Yu?

Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt. I listen to this song often when I want to concentrate on something. It really helps me to calm down and think straight.

I really love Melissa McCarthy. She’s an amazing actor. Her acting flows naturally that you don’t realize you’re watching someone ‘acting’. I’d love to see her in my clothes someday hopefully! Because she has really positive vibe that make others feel warm. Also, I really love perky and witty personality of Rebel Wilson. She would be perfect match for my brand’s motto!

TSCOF: List us three favorite designers / icons who inspire you.

Chromat, Rebel Wilson, Sally Hewett

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