Play of opposites
Seeking inspiration in your own roots can turn into a challenging process for a designer. For it is there that you meet yourself, your own identity and origin. Renli Su, creative director of her label of the same name, which she founded in 2014 and currently runs from London, has had the courage to do it and, for the creative act of her latest collection, dared to encounter her roots. She went on an inner journey to her place of birth, a small town on the coast of the Chinese province of Fujian. She met a panoply of forms, colours and structures, and a pandemonium of alienation, homesickness and cultural differences.
Renli Su would not be Renli Su if she were to allow herself to be hurt or disillusioned by these feelings. The inspired transformation process which her inner search triggered, and which flowed finally into her designer label’s latest collection – a label distributed very selectively throughout the world – must have been a very enlightening one: elegant, romantic, independent, metaphorical, strong, modern and yet firmly rooted in the past – such is the effect which the silhouettes of her timeless, weightless womenswear collection has on the observer.
Renli Su displays this unique character not only in her truly sculptural contours; invisible to the eye, it has a continued effect in the interior of each part of her collection. For Renli Su uses the beauty and clarity of the natural world surrounding her to combat her inner alienation. Using good – in other words sustainable – materials is for Renli Su more than just an end in itself or a way of playing with the choice of her materials; it is a protective shield, and at the same time her individual, consciously chosen form of expression; it is her way of bridging homesickness and alienation and of prevailing in her own eyes as a Chinese designer in the Western world.