A Feel For Fashion: Wendy Yu

Interviews, Inspirations

Wendy Yu's passion for fashion turned her into a bridge builder from East to West. Heiress, investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, she is a worldwide respected figure of the Chinese fashion panorama and she put herself and the Yu Holdings, she founded in 2017, at support of Chinese designers helping them to spread their creativity worldwide. In 2020, in association with the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode and the Shanghai Fashion Week and supported by OTB Group, Raffles, Harrods and Xiaohongshu, she launched the Yu Prize, the annual award and incubator program to support the new Chinese creativity.

What creates an emotional response for you in fashion today?

I get really emotional seeing Chinese designers succeed in the West and seeing them succeed on the biggest fashion stages. The young designers from the East have so much talent and unique aesthetics that deserve recognition from the world.


What are you most curious to know about how designers work, how a collection comes together?

I would love to get insight into the conceptual work behind a collection in the initial stages. I’d love to be in the studio seeing how a concept materialises into actual pieces through moodboards, muses, fabric swatches, etc. The storytelling behind collections is always so interesting to me.


In what ways are you seeing progress in fashion mirroring progress in the wider world?

I think the main areas I’m seeing progress between the fashion industry and the wider world revolve around inclusion and bridging the gap between the East and the West. I’m seeing more and more Asian designers showing in the West during fashion weeks which is very exciting. I’m also seeing more diversity sitting front row at shows and spearheading brand campaigns. There is still an immense amount of work to be done in this area, but I do think there has been great improvement.


If you could change one aspect of how we experience fashion today, what would it be?

I’d like to see a resurgence of pure design. I think some brands get too caught up in trying to do something shocking and revolutionary that the collection doesn’t translate to its audiences. My favourite collections are those in which you can feel the passion and love behind them.


What stands out as the most potentially disruptive influence on fashion in the near future?

I think that AI will be incredibly disruptive in the fashion space. These young designers are already harnessing in a variety of ways which is really exciting. I don’t think AI is something to be afraid of and I don’t think it will erase personal creativity, but it can help in making processes more sustainable.