It is surprising for some to learn that I have always harbored a deep fascination with fashion design and the entire process that goes into creating even a single garment. I think it comes from my dual interest in the arts and sciences as design in itself creates a perfect compliment or blend of the two. Luckily, as a fashion photographer and creative director I am able to indulge in these personal interests on a daily basis as I not only put a fair amount of thought into how the shapes, textures and designs of the clothing being used in my shots are applied to the image creation, but I am also very blessed to work with some incredibly talented fashion designers.
One of my favorite designers in Asia is Uma Wang. If you have not heard of her before I will just say from the start she is not Vera’s sister or Alexander’s relative either. She is another Wang altogether as seen in her very distinctive style.
You may say that I am a little biased in my love for Uma’s work as I have been shooting for her since her brand launch back in 2005 but the respect I have for her as an artist and a designer is one based on the creations that I have witnessed flowing from her mind to the sketch pad and ultimately cut and sewn into a garment featured on the runways of world and the shops where her latest designs are eagerly awaited by fans of her work.
I first met Uma when I took her portrait for Elle magazine. She had just returned from a stay in London and was in the process of putting together her first season. Uma, like many successful people, had already worked hard for years as a freelance designer following her studies at China Textile University and had gone on to study at Central St Martins. We hit it off on the shoot being so like-minded in our interests in art, design and even music.
Uma invited me over to her studio to see some of her clothing and I immediately fell in love with what she was doing. Especially at that time she was quite ahead of where generally fashion design was in China. It was the start of a wonderful working relationship – Uma often jokes that I gave her pressure on that inaugural collection of hers because I left my first visit to her studio telling her to create some incredible clothes for me to shoot! That relationship has lasted and continues to grow as we have great appreciation for what each other does and as a photographer the freedom she gives me in capturing images that reflect how I see her clothes has been both refreshing and freeing and arguably our collaboration some of my best work.
Design is at the heart of everything I do on a daily basis and Uma Wang’s vision is one of those design influences that leave me excited about fashion and vitalized in my own creative endeavors.
Todd Anthony Tyler is one of MEGASTYLE.PH’s resident bloggers. He is regarded by fashion insiders as a pre-eminent photographer and art director. Tyler is the resident photographer and judge on ‘Asia’s Next Top Model’. Follow Todd on Instagram and Twitter @ToddATyler.
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