Kevin Tallon is a British and Swiss designer, who published books on fashion and trends.
He works in Beijing and he is regularly invited to seminars, workshops and fashion weeks. Kevin is a Consulting Director at BACA (Beijing Academy of Creative Arts). Since 2011 BACA provide courses for students, professional instructors and international certificates.
by Dominique Musorrafiti
China_underground: When and why did you get in the design world?
Kevin Tallon: Very young age, at 15, I was into surfing and skateboarding and just wanted to make my own shorts inspired by American surf brands. So I just took my mothers old sewing machine and started to try to make some surf shorts. The result was pretty sketchy but I kept learning and technical by myself how to make them better.
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K T: I think it’s about making something that you don’t see out there and thinking: hey how about making that, I want it but I can’t find it. And keep at it because only by trying and experimenting with many versions you can learn from mistakes and progress to come out with a good design that matches your original idea
“My grandfather taught me how to draw when I was a small child. That’s how I got interested in art.” Sino-us.com
C_U: What about your first work experience?
K T: My own company doing skateboard wear. And actually working with Italian factories to make the production was my first real work experience with professionals.
C_U: Why did you decide to move to China?
K T: From London I was consulting many companies and one of them happened to be based in Beijing. What started as a one off project became a solid work relation to end up in them hiring me full time..
C_U: How Chinese design appeared to you when you first get in touch with
it? What cultural differences did you find when you started to work in
K T: At first ( 10 years ago) there was not much happening, a few local brands like beijing monkey where doing okay stuff and then over the years the confidence grew and designers started to come out with good stuff such as zuc zuc and JNBY.
K T: It’s been formed as we speak, it’s definitively looking for an identity. Gaining confidence and identity is what it’s all about now.
C_U: What are the winning points for a designer in China?
K T: Think fast and move fast, the market is changing on a daily basis!!
K T: Really interesting to work with young Chinese creatives and over the years to see each generation gaining more self confidence and style
C_U: What do you think will be the future of Chinese design market? Do you
think Chinese style can be recognized worldwide? What about quality and
K T: Yes of course, I think China in design terms needs to leap frog other nations it’s no use to follow what say the Japanese have done in the 1980’s by coming to Paris on the catwalk. It has to set a new paradigm based on 21st values
C_U: How had e-commerce platform like Taobao influenced the evolution of
design in China?
KT: It was a good first stepping stone for young designers to sell their wares online. The market is maturing now and online is becoming very competitive. The focus is now moving onto direct self promotion on other platforms
Photos: courtesy of Kevin Tallon
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CHINA-UNDERGROUND. Ciao! My name is Dominique. I’m Italian and I’m proud to be a mix. My father was an Italian chemical engineer and high school teacher, with Greek and Polish heritage. My mother is Haitian, she was high school language teacher, with Dominican, Spanish, French, Portuguese, African and Native American heritage. Being a mix makes me appreciate to want to understand different cultures and lifestyles. I grew up in Italy, lived few years in Haiti, travel around main European capitals, lived seven years in China, six in Spain and UK. Traveling makes me feel that we can learn something from every situation in every part of the world.