leo lin fashion designer

Leo Lin: “Working 6 months for a fashion show of 8 minutes fascinates me endlessly”

Over the past years, Leo Lin has become a household name within the fashion industry. Lin’s collections are feminine, with a solid nod to his Chinese background. Lin’s career path didn’t start with fashion, though. Growing up in China, it felt like a logical step to work in the restaurant business of his parents. “I followed a traditional path of business and commerce before I realized that creativity and design were the areas of life I felt inspired by.”

In conversation with Leo Lin

“I changed course and moved heavily into pursuing fashion after being inspired by runway shows,” designer Leo Lin starts the conversation. “The idea of working for six months in deep creativity for an eight-minute show terrifies some but fascinated me, and I knew I had to be a part of the industry.” To Lin, creation has always been a central part of life. “Looking at how couture is created, hundreds of hours are spent on the smallest details, just on buttons, for example. This ethos had a huge impact on me.”

His mother was an important source of inspiration, too. “She always inspired me, as a woman of total style and class, who would take me shopping to high-end labels. I became consumed by the craft of fashion and what made these garments so much more elite than the rest.” He knew he had to be a part of it. “After leaving business school, I worked under ateliers, working with pattern makers, seamstresses, and designers to hone my craft in design.”

leo lin

Design and emotion

Design and emotion are mutually exclusive, states Lin, as opposed to trends. “It’s impossible to overstate my Chinese heritage’s impact on my life. I find I design into emotion. If it doesn’t make me smile to look at, I don’t want it. My Chinese culture represents the epitome of joyous luxury, and I am so proud to be able to draw upon both Chinese and Australian influences in my craft. We have created collections using ancient traditional Chinese watercolor techniques to craft the floral prints, where silhouettes are homages to shapes my mother wore, and where color’s representation has deep significance.”

Past and present

All collections evoke a sense of “modern nostalgia”: an aesthetic that defines LEO LIN’s seasonal sartorial offering, stemming from the cultural perspective he consistently incorporates in his designs. “I feel we must look back to look forward. Each of my collections is a nod to the importance of the past from a cultural perspective – where we come from, what shapes us in our formative years, and, in particular, the richness and significance of culture. But feeling modern, innovative, and even futuristic is how we stay current and fresh. Everyone loves the duality of old and new, strong and soft, bright and moody. These juxtapositions keep me excited and the brand fresh. Fashion is a way for people to evoke and experience joy. I design so that women feel good, look and feel happy.”

The LEO LIN Woman is a powerhouse – strong, feminine, and bold. She’s romantic but rebellious, hard and soft. “The constant push-pull dynamic is a huge passion of mine in design. Joy and quality being the cornerstones of our brand, we find the LEO LIN woman isn’t a trend follower; she dresses with her heart and wears us to feel her absolute best. She’s wearing us to her most important events. I’m honored that women wear our brand to key moments in their lives. We’ve had many LEO LIN brides. Knowing that we’re personally intertwined with our customers’ lives is special to me.”

He confides about the future: Lin’s mood board is bold. “There are extravagant colors, expressive silhouettes, jewel tones, playing with light and dark. Textures like lace and denim have become cornerstones of our brand, but reinventing these alongside print in a signature LEO LIN way. I can’t wait to show us what 2024 has in store.”

Also, read: Birkenstock 1774 x TEKLA comes right in time for cuffing season

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