04/08/2023 FASHION


COPYPASTE! met Junyan Xu during the Paris Fashion Week to talk about the creative direction of Svencum and their SS24 collection inspired by Shelly Kagan’s Philosophy. Theo Lobry at IAM MODELS PARIS captured by Olga Gasnier makeup by Jeanne Schneider press by R Studio interview by Olga Gasnier.

You were raised in the artistic family in China, graduated from Istituto Marangoni Paris and since 2021 you have created several collections of the Menswear brand SVENCUM. Would you say that your childish dream came true or your artistic journey had several phases?

My dream has not yet come true. Regarding the artistic journey, I was exposed to a lot of new knowledge, the more I know, the less I feel. I think my artistic journey begins now, as it will be a long and interesting journey.

Could you describe your day when you are working on the new collection?

First, drink a cup of hand-brewed coffee, do some research, and find information on the Internet on the problem I want to explore and think over some issues then make some sketches, and some abstract drawings with ink, then design clothes based on these paintings.

It is known that Shelly Kagan’s philosophy and his online course about death is quite popular, especially among students in China. Would you agree with it and how did you discover this philosopher?

I don't think Shelly Kagan’s philosophy is that popular with students in China. When I asked friends around me, it seems that they never heard about his philosophy. When I searched for "death" on the internet, Shelly Kagan’s philosophy and his online course showed up, that’s how I got to know him and his philosophy.

What is special in his overview on this eternal topic?

He talked about the relevance of the soul as connected to the death of the body, deduced that there is no existence of souls, his way of thinking and logical reasoning gave me a new understanding of death.

Was the poem "Water and horse" inspired by him?

The poem for the SVENCUM SS24 collection was actually created by myself, it’s based on my own understanding of death.

Talking about the poem, how could you interpret the metaphors of horse and apple?

Apples represent everything women (God) give, Horses represent human beings.

How did you transfer your inspiration into the collection?

First raise questions - I have doubts about my own life, then generate thoughts, use paintings to express thoughts, and transform paintings on fabric with different techniques.

Your mesmerizing patterns echo the beauty of water, ink and calligraphy - are there any hidden meanings in each piece or is it a visual abstraction?

Rather than talking about each painting, I prefer to say that each collection of paintings (about 4-7) has its own story and meaning. In general, I will start creating something when I have an idea, it will not be one or two paintings, but a collection. Each collection will have a story behind them or something I want to express through this collection.

Your artistic voice is a bond between Asia and Europe, traditional calligraphy and Eastern literature, philosophy and fashion, could you give advice to the future designers and other creatives on how to develop this sense of inter and cross-communication of different spheres of art and humanities?

First of all, I think we should be open-minded to new cultures and knowledge. For example, when we encounter a new culture or receive new information, don’t be in a rush to judgment, but feel it, try to understand it, to enrich our world. After this process, there will be more exchanges in different fields, and then we can select what we like to combine.