Looks: Allina Liu

Allina Liu launched her eponymous womenswear line shortly after graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013.  Aiming to operate outside the industry of trend-based design and fast fashion, Allina’s design philosophy addresses the balance between perennial concepts of commercial and indie, innocence and sexuality, and style and wearability.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I’m a womenswear designer based in Manhattan, NYC. I started my label last year and I’m currently working on my third season.

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? The new SS’16 collection is focused on the specific theme of “relationships in hindsight”. I’m using text for the first time and it’s my most personal collection to date. However, a consistent influence on my work has always been the push and pull between innocence and sexuality. I like exploring the idea coming into your own as you grow older.

What’s your absolute favorite place in the world to be? Prettyboy Reservoir in Maryland.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I’m putting together my first presentation for NYFW this September that I’m really excited about. It’ll be great to show people the clothing in person so they can see the detail and workmanship up close instead of just trying to interpret it through a look book.

Where do you plan to travel next? Japan or California.

Describe your current studio or workspace. My studio is always kind of a mess… it’s just a place where I put everything together. There are sketches everywhere during development season. There’s a rack for the samples I have on hand and my main mood board. I try to only keep what I need in my work space and not hoard fabric swatches but I usually can’t bring myself to throw them out.

How long have you lived in New York and what brought you there? I’ve lived in NYC for the past two years. I used to live in the suburbs of New York but moved to the city permanently after I graduated. I think NYC has always been a pretty clear choice because it definitely is the most convenient location to pursue fashion in the U.S. at the moment.

What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? I want the viewer to understand that clothing is personal to both the wearer and the designer. There is always a story for my collections and I try to make it come across not only in the clothing, but the supplementary materials as well, such as the lookbook and website. I’d like people to recognize that garments are means of self expression and some designers do put a lot of who they are into them, just like any other art form.

What were you like in high school? I was definitely an outcast. I don’t have many fond memories during that time of my life. However, I did learn how to be very independent so it was worth it.

Favorite place to shop? American Apparel. I just like to wear basics.

Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? In college I was called commercial because I attended an art school where everyone was very conceptual. That was great for me though because now I appreciate their criticism a lot. I’ve learned to push myself to think about my stories and how to translate them into wearable pieces.