Chinese fashion investor Wendy Yu’s take on London Fashion Week AW18

March 22, 2019 0 By HearthstoneYarns

London – It has been one month since buyers, influencers and members of
the press flocked to London for the Autumn/Winter 2018-2019 edition of
bi-annual fashion week – which proved to be a standout event. It was a
fashion week of many firsts and lasts, with presenting his final
collection for heritage fashion house Burberry, Lulu Guinness hosted her
first on-schedule presentation, and her Majesty herself attended emerging
designer catwalk show, awarding him with
the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. Following the
event, FashionUnited took a moment to speak to Wendy Yu, a leading fashion
investor and founder of Yu Holdings to hear her thoughts on London Fashion
Week AW 18. Which designers caught the Chinese heiress eye? What does she
look for when searching for a new potential candidate to invest in? And
which London designers does she foresee succeeding in

FashionUnited: What do you look for in a designer or
fashion label before deciding to invest in them?

Wendy Yu:
“I seek brands that are a little different and stand out within
the market, those with a strong brand DNA that are able to evolve season
after season. For me, the designer is as important as the brand, I look for
people that I can relate to. I need a designer to be dedicated, original,
ambitious and willing to take creative risks. A designer also needs to show
lasting power for Yu Holdings to invest, We focus on the long-term
strategic mission rather than short-term goals. “

“I take my time
when investing and don’t make any decision lightly, with , I think this is a much better and more
progressive way of doing business.”

What are your thoughts on
the BFC’s NEWGEN that showed at London Fashion Week this season – any
favorites and why?

“I’ve been following Molly Goddard for the last
few seasons, who has just graduated from the NEWGEN program. I think it is
a wonderful initiative that has helped find and foster incredible talent
within the industry. Sadly I wasn’t in town to see any of the NEWGEN shows
this season, however out of the current NEWGEN brands I am excited by what
Michael Halpern has been delivering, I can see him doing very well in the
future. I have always enjoyed how much London Fashion Week and the BFC
celebrates emerging talent, giving them a platform to present to the rest
of the world.”

Who in your opinion is an emerging designer from
London Fashion Week to watch? Why?

“Huishan Zhang is a close
friend, therefore I have watched his brand grow and grow since the
beginning. Whilst his certainly not a newcomer, I think his creativity is
inspiring and predict that his brand will only continue to rise, making him
the one to watch. Huishan Zhang effortlessly conveys Chinese heritage to a
Western audience in such an effective way. As China takes on a bigger role
in the fashion marketplace I think we will see more and more brands from
the region begin to gain traction with European and American

Which new designer brands that showed at London
Fashion Week do you foresee having the most potential to succeed in the UK?

“At Yu Holdings, we are looking at brands with a proven track
record and few years business under their belt. In late 2017, Yu Holdings
invested in Mary Katrantzou as we truly believe she could be the next
superbrand. Mary’s brand as the potential to cover many product categories
and her DNA exceeds borders – we anticipate her expansion into a global
lifestyle brand. Another brand I love is Erdem, who once again managed to
deliver a brilliantly clever collection of coveted looks, I believe the
brand is only beginning to scratch the surface of its success. Erdem is a
great example of a brand that has an instantly recognizable DNA that
re-invents itself with every collection without alienating its core

Which British fashion brands, which have yet to build
a strong presence in China, do you foresee doing well in the market over
the next coming years?

“Emilia Wickstead is a brand that I have
been admiring for a while. I think that the elegance and simplicity of her
designs could do very well in the Chinese market. As the Chinese market’s
interest in fashion grows they are more open to new brands and are starting
to move away from shopping solely within the major fashion houses. I think
the gap that this is creating is perfect for brands like Mary Katrantzou,
Erdem, Charlotte Olympia, Olympia Le Tan and Emilia Wickstead to

What advice would you give to a new fashion brand seeking
to establish a presence in China?

“For a brand looking to expand
into the Chinese market, understanding the customer is of the utmost
importance. Take Mary Katrantzou as an example, when she showed her first
collection to the Chinese market the reception was very different to the
European market. Instead of the embellished pieces and 3D prints, it was
the simpler and more paired-back pieces that captured the hearts of Chinese

What was your overall impression of London Fashion
Week Autumn/Winter 2018?

“Due to commitments overseas, I was unable
to see as much as I would have liked this season, however, what I did see
only re-affirmed my opinion that London is still a hotbed of creativity
within the industry. The Mary Katrantzou and Huishan Zhang shows in
particular were a highlight for me, made all the better due to my close
friendship with both designers. I think that the calibre of new talent has
continued to grow every season at LFW and I hope that the BFC continue to
invest in these young designers, supporting their expansion.”

Courtesy of Wendy Yu