Fashion, Women
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Interview – Ming Pin Tien

Ming Pin Tien is a Taiwanese-born and London-based designer who founded his womenswear label MING in 2012.

Focused on designing  clothes with clean lines and unexpected details, MINGs’ creations result in strong aesthetics, sometimes becoming  almost experimental.
His capacity to grasp the next trends each season makes of the label one to follow.

Moderneast had the chance to interview the designer about his designs and his vision of Asian fashion.

ME: As a Taiwanese-born designer, can you tell us how hard is it in Taiwan to get in the industry? Were your family supportive?

MPT: I didn’t start my business in Taiwan so it is hard to have a certain answer for the question. From my knowing, we don’t have any support scheme or organisation, such as Fashion Scout, Newgen, Fashion East supporting emerging talents. I feel the fashion environment in Taiwan is changing towards to a better condition. With a wider awareness from local customers and the government, there are more and more Taiwanese graduates who are starting their own brand supported by their families. Yet we still have a long way to go.

ME: Why have you decided to move in London for your studies? How do you consider fashion studies in Taiwan?

MPT: I came to London because I really enjoy the feeling of the openness of the city. It gives me something fresh and stimulating everyday.

The education I had in Taiwan was very much skill oriented. We spent a lot of time in learning and practicing garment construction but not equally much in designing. The design process we know now, such as researching, developing, experimenting, was a new concept for me when I first came to London. In short, I learnt skills when I was in Taiwan and learnt how to develop a collection from scratch in London.

ME: You have both lived and worked in London and Taiwan. Would you say the vision people have of fashion differs between these 2 different parts of the world, namely Europe and East Asia?

MPT: I would say the fashion industry in Taiwan is quite different from the UK/Europe market. Even though the majority of manufactures have relocated to either China or South East Asia, we still have pretty strong manufacturing power with affordable prices in Taiwan. It does help designers to start their businesses based on mass production business model yet it also has restricted designers to visualise their visions, as the market wants them to be commercial and less creative. Also, the fast fashion from all over the world, especially Korea has changed Taiwanese consumers’ appetite, which also leaves not much room for creativity and originality.

On the other side of the world, Europe is such a great place to be if you are looking for individuality. Designers here are encouraged and supported to be different. Yet the living cost here is tripled from Taiwan, which is making this industry an industry that is relatively easy to get in but hard to stay in.

ME: What do you think about the representation of Asian fashion here in Europe? According to you, is there particular a lack of information?

MPT: I feel there’s a new wave of Asian fashion in Europe at the moment, which is minimalistic, functional and having a subtle yet strong statement.

ME: Each season, your collections result in minimalistic and clean shapes. Where does this inspiration come from? Comparatively, how would you describe fashion in Taiwan?

MPT: I think it just comes naturally without any marketing strategy behind it. It is more a personal preference, which comes out from my personality.

I think the fashion in Taiwan at the moment is fairly commercial and relatively trend oriented.

ME: Later on, would you like to relocate your label in Asia? Is there any reason in particular why you have not launched your label in Taiwan at first?

MPT: I launched and manage my business based in London because I feel Europe is the pond I want to be in based on my design aesthetic and direction. My design is concept focused and certainly directional, which I feel I need time to build up the brand identity through press, and London is the right place for me to be at this stage.

ME: Finally, is there any advice you would like to give to emerging Asian fashion designers?

MPT: I think it is so important that Asian designers should understand, embrace and furthermore, utilise our background. We have different cultures from the Westerners and that’s what makes us different in terms of how we analyse and view things. It would be a waste if we change ourselves only trying to fit in western prospective.

Moderneast would like to thank again Ming for these interesting thoughts and his time.

Credits :
SS15 : Photographer _ Iringó Demeter / Make-up & Hair Artist _ Minkyung Kim / Model _ Sabina from Milk Model
AW14: Photographer _ Iringó Demeter / Make-up & Hair Artist _ Minkyung Kim / Model _ Lisa H from First Model
SS14: Photographer _ Iringó Demeter / Make-up & Hair Artist _ Minkyung Kim / Model _ Felicity Taylor

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