Fashion designer Robert Wun created one of his first collections from his bedroom in London’s Brixton. Five years later, he transformed his eponymous label from a six-look graduate project at the London School of Fashion into a groundbreaking brand and a favorite of musicians like Lady Gaga, Lizzo and Doja Cat. Currently, the designer, born in England, raised in Hong Kong and returned to London for her studies, is the subject of an exhibition at the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion and Film in Atlanta. Title Between reality and fantasy, the show features more than 40 garments selected from Wun’s archives, catwalk presentations and celebrity commissions. Despite all the hype surrounding him, when it comes to Wun’s founding, he speaks fondly of his earliest fashion inspirations: a friend from church and the magazines strewn about the living room where his mother was. is done styling. âI remember the first name that really caught my eye was Alexander McQueen, one of his menswear collections in one of those magazines,â he says. âIt made me realize that I could remember the name of a designer. I was only 11 years old, but I still remember it very well.
Below, Wun explains what it takes to create a celebrity’s personalized fashion look in under three weeks, how to stay focused on growing your brand, and why he’s taking Adele to Schiaparelli, just like you.
Tell me about the dressing of Lizzo and Lady Gaga: how did you imagine the looks and what touches did you add to make them really personalized?
When we design for celebrities it is very easy because we know exactly what we want to do. Obviously, we study what they have already worn and work closely with their stylists. They always have a theme when it comes to their marketing, and that’s why they custom order. The timing is always tight, two or three weeks, but we make it work.
We created Lizzo’s white look when her song with Cardi B, “Rumors” was first released. Her stylist, Jason Rembert, has been a really good supporter of my work for a long time now – he always puts me on the radar and on the draw lists. He gave me this opportunity to personalize something for Lizzo; the look was inspired by the Greek goddesses. They wanted something white. We started coming up with ideas, exchanging ideas on Instagram, and building on the initial points. The look just worked for her, especially with Gaga too. These are two women who do not apologize and they own it. We did a second custom look for Lizzo, and I think she’ll be wearing it soon. It is something golden.
What is the main message you want to convey through your exhibition at SCAD?
When show director Rafael Gomes and I were talking about what the name of the show should be, all the names we came up with and put on the table were about things in between – artificial and natural, organic and inorganic. It is about finding the balance between two extremes. We found ourselves between reality and fantasy. I think one post we were obsessed with was the idea of ââbalancing the two extremes, because that’s also how I approach fashion. I don’t see fashion as just fashion. For me, it’s always about combining fashion with something unrelated to fashion. Something in nature, something about science fiction, something about art, something from another world. This is the message I want to get across: fashion can be more than just clothing. It can be something imaginative, it can be something relevant and what it means for human identity and society at this time.
Describe your personal style in three words.
When it comes to dressing, I like something that is comfortable, powerful, and quiet. I like to be muted.
What were you wearing yesterday and why did you decide to wear it?
It’s very cold in London right now, so I found an old coat and warmed up a huge black scarf my mom gave me. It’s huge, I can wrap my whole head in it. I threw it in the dryer to keep it warm when I left the house. I also wear blue jeans, because I normally wear jeans to go to work; there are so many needles and scissors and shit everywhere. I have worn my Camper boots because they are functional, comfortable and easy to put on.
What was your style as a teenager?
It was rebellious, that’s the word to use. I was very different and flamboyant at the time. I also went to a boys’ school, so people wanted to fuck me up, because I was so dressed. I would normally go second-hand shopping, because, you know, you’re broke when you’re a kid, so you use pocket money to buy really cheap shit. I would buy clothes from thrift stores and start using oil paints to draw patterns on pants, coveralls, or even my boots. I was extra.
What is the most precious asset in your wardrobe?
Right now, it’s a top that my first assistant, Loko Yu, has been making for me. Today she’s the design manager at Saloni London, but we graduated together and she helped me build my brand from the very beginning. His modeling skills are from another world. I have never met anyone who can design a pattern in her mind like she does. On my 18th birthday, she made me a black cotton twill t-shirt, but it was cut in a way that had never been done before. There are no seams, it is one piece, cut exactly like a t-shirt. She even went to a rubber store to imprint her name on a piece of rubber to hot melt it on the back. I’m hanging this top in my closet after all these years, because it’s so special to me.
Do you remember your first major fashion purchase?
It would be a Givenchy top from the time of Riccardo Tisci [at the house]. It was an embroidered top that I got from a Christmas sale in Selfridges. It was 200 pounds, originally 800 pounds. I’ve never worn it once, but I was obsessed with Tisci’s heavenly style at Givenchy, which he created for these haute couture collections. It was the first and only time that I bought a garment out of admiration for another designer.
Do you have a favorite fashion moment from pop culture?
There are so many. I think lately, though, it’s Adele’s opera look wearing Schiaparelli to “Adele: One Night Only”. I think Daniel Roseberry with Adele and Schiaparelli is timeless, classic, feminine, that’s just her. And it’s so high end because of the way Daniel cuts these dresses with all the taffeta. I think that’s iconic, in my opinion, especially with the idea of ââJupiter at the observatory. It’s a black dress, it’s what Adele always wears, but it’s so much more than a black dress.
What’s the best fashion advice you’ve found, whether in the studio or on set?
Time management can advance your career many miles. As a designer I always have very tight deadlines to work with my team because I want things to be done right. I want to see progress every week.
Looks at Robert Wun’s exhibition at SCAD FASH, âBetween reality and fantasyâ.
Do you have a bigger fashion regret?
I think my biggest fashion regret would be like any other young designer: trying to impress people you don’t even know when you’re just starting out. They will never hold anything from you in your life, but you feel like you need them to get somewhere. Then, in fact, you realize that you don’t need anyone. It’s beautiful when someone appreciates your work and decides to help you, be grateful and focus on these great people. But don’t focus on those who aren’t necessarily bad people, but just aren’t part of your journey. Don’t waste your energy on things that aren’t meant to be happening. Just work on yourself, be good at your craft, be very good at it. Go so big that they can’t ignore you.