The Melbourne based designer, MeiMei Xu provides a lightness to everything she touches. Her clothes bring an airiness that helps take customers to a simpler time. As the world continues to grow so has MeiMei. Whether she is working on her men collection, Stius, or reading her favorite book, she opens her mind to the world. Each piece of work is a representation of all the wonderful pieces of her personality.
Where are you based out of?
I am based in Melbourne, Australia.
How would you describe your background in fashion?
I was born in a cute but unusual Chinese family. Both of my parents are artists. I never thought I would choose fashion instead of art or music. So I will say that my background in fashion is unshaped and outside of any boxes.
Why do you include poems and quotes from other artists in the description of your clothing?
To me, the process of creating a garment is a lot more than just a trend or a popular colour palette. It is a whole thinking process, a personal way of narrating a mood, a solution, a desire and a gaze. Collaborations with artists in other industries allow the concept to be articulated in a fresher and clearer way.
Who would you consider your role model?
Lots of people are my role models; learning from others is exciting and fun. Stephanie Downey, (the designer of Dress Up) is a beautiful person, inside and out.
Would you consider yourself to be mysterious or only thought to be mysterious?
Mysterious is a very interesting word. It encourages you to keep secrets locked away in your mind and heart. I think most people don’t think I can be described by the word mysterious because I have a very easy to read face. Many of my close friends would say I’m anything but that, because I like to share my true self with them, but perhaps I am a little bit weird…
What inspires you the most?
My personal thoughts and the thoughts surrounding me. Unseen and unquestioned attitudes within modern society also really inspire me. Also people, talented people.
What was the inspiration for your last collection, Legerete?
I chose the French word ‘légèreté’ as my collection name because of its aerial pronunciation. This collection illustrates the desire for relief after a hard situation in my life. It asks the question “What is lightness?”. The entire collection experiments with subtraction to reinterpret conventional embellishment techniques. The process of cutting and folding represent the importance of forgiveness and being thankful and content with what you already have.
What has inspired your menswear's collection?
My menswear collection: Stius (reverse spelling of the word ‘suits’) was inspired by a quote from Edmund White’s novel, My Lives: “Men wore their plain lace up shoes and double breasted suits and heavy overcoats and these uniforms elevated and concealed them in ageless anonymity- from twenty to fifty, nothing more or less.”
The concept of Stius is to expose the sense of comfort which conformity gives us. To challenge the suit, a garment type that means more than a sartorial form of beauty or a symbol of hegemonic patriarchy, but also a sense of comfort, of conforming to and remaining anonymous within mainstream society.
What is your favorite piece of literature?
I do love Kevin Brophy’s Walking and Art and The Bible by Francis Schaeffer.
What do you want your customers to feel when they wear your clothes?
A sense of comfort and warmth. Physically, psychologically and visually.
How has social media affected your designs?
Social media should be your best friend for marketing. But treat it intelligently.
What is the hardest part of being an entrepreneur?
You have to be bold enough to take risks. You also need to be confident enough to trust that you can make something beautiful.
Do you have a fashion trend that love or hate that is currently in style?
I don’t love or hate any fashion trends. They are educational to me. They reflect more than just a certain colour or fabric. They are mirrors of our society and sometimes they assist us, but other times, they confuse us.
What are your goals for the future?
Keep shining the light of love in everything, everywhere and everyday. Hopefully my future customers can also feel that light in my designs.