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 provides courses for students, professional instructors, and international certificates.
by Dominique Musorrafiti
China_underground: When and why did you get into 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 mother’s 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.
C_U: What are you the main points for a designer? What makes a
creation, something really good?
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 China?
K T: At first ( 10 years ago) there was not much happening, a few local brands like Beijing monkey were 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.
C_U: How is Chinese design now? There are some design elements that still
marks a cultural difference?
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!!
C_U: How is your experience at the Beijing Academy of Creative Arts?
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 the Chinese design market? Do you think the Chinese style can be recognized worldwide? What about quality and reputation?
K T: Yes, of course, I think China in design terms needs to leapfrog other nations it’s no use to follow what say the Japanese have done in the 1980s by coming to Paris on the catwalk. It has to set a new paradigm based on 21st values
C_U: How had an 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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