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Clay Project Swimwear by John Yuyi

The emerging Taiwanese designer makes her debut with a bizarre, dreamy line of one-pieces

by Gabriella Garcia
on 19 November 2014
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To succinctly describe John Yuyi is like trying to pin down the finite details of a colorful dream you just woke from before it vanishes from memory. This is especially true because the young Taipei-born fashion designer/art director is just beginning to emerge, and despite a lively presence on Instagram, there is very little information about her. Even the biography section of her website is filled with eerie gibberish that seems as though it was produced by a Henry Miller lorem ipsum generator. Yuyi's self-portraits shed the most light on the designer, showing a surprisingly tiny and habitually stoic girl shrouded in loud, punchy colors that contradict the often ordinary backdrops she chooses.

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Given her firm grip on aesthetic, it is no surprise then that Yuyi has been interested in design since she was a child. Though initially planning to pursue a degree in Fine Arts in college, she began to consider fashion while experimenting with her own style as a teen. "Just like any other teenager I loved to dress myself up, but I felt like I wanted to dress in a more unique and fancier way than others," Yuyi tells CH. "I also tried to sew something and play with some fabric and texture by myself." After finalizing her decision, she pursued a degree in Fashion Design at Taipei's Shih Chien University, graduating in 2013.

Yuyi recently launched a line of one-piece swimsuits that teeter on the line of playful and totally bizarre. Currently available for pre-sale via Melbourne-based RBK Shop, Yuyi's suits place abstract prints of her own clay artwork on a background of cotton candy colors, making each a nautical canvas for the designer's peculiar mind. As her first major launch in the fashion industry, Yuyi was very particular about choosing to design a swimsuit line. "The reason I wanted to do a swimwear collection is that I was trying to practice what I learned as a fashion design major, but I didn't want to just do a ordinary clothing line," Yuyi explains, "and people love to try something more creative and colorful when they are choosing the swimming suit, unlike normal clothes where people always look for something safe."

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Her aesthetic feels deeply nostalgic for the Kool-Aid colored hair and pastel denim of the '90s, firmly rooting Yuyi in the weird world of digital Dadaism as expressed by seapunk and webpunk micro-cultures. Yuyi embraces the internet with a fierce passion, to the point where she jokes that she's addicted. "I can’t stand when my phone is out of battery," she says, "I release and promote my work on the internet, so more people from different places can see it." Though she finds some inspiration from social media and news feeds, Yuyi doesn't see it reflected in her own work. "I actually don’t think there's a lot internet culture in my work, but some of my friends say there is. But I love internet culture andI think all people are changed by it now," she says.

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Yuyi hopes to stay unconventional in her own work: "I don't want to do a normal collection that you have to follow fashion industry rules for, like you have to do for A/W S/S fashion weeks," Yuyi explains. "It's too formal for me. I always think fashion is multi-faceted. It's about life and culture. It's related to self-ego."

Clay Project Swimwear are currently available for pre-sale via RBK Shop for $145 AUD, and by individual request via John Yuyi.

Images courtesy of John Yuyi and RBK

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