Interview with Fu Zhih-Chi

Winner of Fashion Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Fu Zhih-Chi shares insights


Interview with Fu Zhih-Chi at Thursday 3rd of May 2018:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
CF : As the founder and the Chief designer of GearCell and Pawfurst, another brand for designing premium pet related products, I have been nominated by 2013 IF Concept Award and 2017 Taiwan Fashion Design Award. Graduated from Shih Chien University, the Department of Fashion Design, my design concept is hugely affected by my biology background which I had studied for 3 years before I started my fashion study.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
CF : It started by the idea of I wanted to escape from my biology study. I discovered that although I enjoyed doing all the research on the biology field however, I don’t know what I should do in the future with it. Along the path discovering my interests, I found out that I like to create things and I would like to transcend the positive vibes through my design to my audience. I hope that when people see my design, they could feel happy, excited and interested. Since then, I started to consider how to do something positive and meaningful by design.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
CF : There are numerous frustrations and difficulties on the way to become a designer, you need to either fight against or compromise with your own ideas, you need to force yourself to leave your comfort zone and keep learning. You will struggle from lacking ideas and inspirations, at the same time the pressure from the society will force you to face the reality. The situation is even more serious especially in Taiwan where the society isn’t showing much respect to the designers. However, I still consider becoming a designer as one of the best choices I’ve ever made in my life.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
CF : My design focuses mainly on clothes, however I won’t constraint myself only as a fashion designer or any field. I’m a huge fan of industrial revolution era and I’m found of the concept that designers weren’t limited to one category of field, instead, designers were focusing on providing a total solution for the public.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
CF : Design legend is a bit too much for me, however, I believe we should always see ourselves as a young designer or a beginner and embrace diverse ideas, be creative and keep learning. When I mention learning, it's not only about the design, but to be consumer centric, it means the comprehensive concepts of the product. Only when you understand the purpose of the design, the market and the needs of the consumers, you can design a good product that fits the customer.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
CF : A good designer will fulfill the clients’ requirements, while a great designer will think a step further and think about how to refine the current situation and discover potential needs.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
CF : A good design is that is does not only provide what you want, but also discover your potential needs that you desire.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
CF : The highest value of a good design is that it could refine our daily life. Some products could bring the convenience of life, others provide the mentally freshness and satisfaction. What really matters is the innovative design offers the public a better life and solve the problems in the society.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
CF : I would like to design something that can truly help out those people who needed it or design for the cultural heritages that needed to be protected. For me, design is not only for people who are financially sufficient like us, instead, I would like to help more people with my design if I’ve got opportunities. Recently I’m deeply impressed by “Parsons” by Angela Luna, which was a collection designed for refugees, very touching.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
CF : To be honest, I don’t have anything particular in my mind now, I guess this is because I’m interested in almost everything therefore, I would like to try anything! However, recently I’m thinking of designing a more eco-friendly clothes with multi-functional accessories.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
CF : Watch lots of movies, listen to different types of music, exercise (I enjoy martial arts!) and go outdoors, adopt a dog, feel every piece of detail in your life and stay struggled.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
CF : Yohji Yamamoto/ Andou Tadao/Zaha Hadid/Yung-Chen Nieh/Darth Vadar

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
CF : “The tent jacket” by Angela Luna, full of innovation, great design and high level of sophistication. More importantly, the story behind the jacket is to care about the refugees and the homeless population.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
CF : The award-winning “Code: Prototype”, it is a collection that originated from when I’m still a fashion student. In addition, it’s also the collection that urged me to start my own studio. This collection is full of the spirit of experiments and adventurous, for me which is also what I felt when I finally decided to establish my own studio.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
CF : Always stay curious without any limitations. Try the best to learn as much as you can and to search for the resources that could help you achieve your goal.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
CF : I’m a dog lover, if I hadn’t become a designer I think I would become a dog trainer.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
CF : Design is a way to provide solutions.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
CF : My family.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
CF : Curiosity.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
CF : Connections, resources, and financial support, the most importantly, the determination to become a designer. I’m still facing all these obstacles every day.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
CF : A designer should present his/her design professionally in every possible way, the most crucial part is to comprehensively present the concept of the design.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
CF : Combine the concept of “eco-friendly” and “modular clothes”. I would like to extend my passion of design to things that are more meaningful.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
CF : Be innovative and keep designing.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
CF : How new designs could help the society and the environment. Since I consider the core value of design is to search for the right problem to solve and to be innovative.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
CF : To create a better society, the most important factor is about the design quality instead of the quantity.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
CF : I’m extremely excited about the brainstorming stage and the time when I receive my prototype, however, most of the time I felt struggled during the design process.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
CF : Everything, design is already a part of my life.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
CF : Thanks to the evolving technology, the technical requirements for designers will be lowered in the future. In such environment, designers should stay hungry and absorb the innovative knowledge. After all, in the end the key to success is the quality of your design and creativity.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
CF : To focus on solving environmental issues.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
CF : It depends, design is all about the a-ha moment when you suddenly come up with some great ideas. However, I will usually set a deadline for myself since in reality, designers are always facing the pressure due to the time scope. To me, there’s no the best solution for design, only a better solution.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
CF : First, collect lots of information, then analyze it and figure out the direction of the design.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
CF : Be strong and be determined.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
CF : It’s interactive to me.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
CF : I consider technology as a tool when I’m designing.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
CF : Illustrator & Photoshop

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
CF : The materials that can present the concept, the product and the function.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
CF : The concept and the story behind the products.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
CF : How they think of the idea, how can I learn from them, are there other possibilities to do so?

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
CF : My ideal design partner will contain two to three partners from different design fields, plus some partners from the business sector. People from different backgrounds will have different perspectives when brainstorming, which is beneficial to be innovative, and you will be surprised to see how unexpected ideas could be generated. In the contrary, if your team are homogenous, it is difficult to consider reality factors which include the users’ need, the marketability of the product, and the cost. In addition, team members from non-design field could sometimes be more consumer centric and discover the potential needs of the users. Therefore, I consider partnering with people from non-design related background is also crucial.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
CF : My professor for The Introduction of Design, she’s the one who encouraged me when I felt frustrated and she helped me to build up my confidence along the way.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
CF : I enjoy reading books from different fields of design, I’m also a great fan of illustrator; every book I read and every information I received could gradually create impact on my design.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
CF : Do not constraint myself to try new things, think with different perspectives.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
CF : Hide, a Japanese rock star who has passed away. His song helped me through the time when I was down, suffered and struggled.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
CF : I consider the award as a recognition of my efforts so far. However, a designer should always look forward. Whether a designer could be famous it really depends on the opportunities and luck.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
CF : Black、my home、chocolate、winter、sci-fi movie、super hero comic、martial art、rock music

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
CF : When I’m still a fashion student, I was facing a rush deadline and when I was producing my sample, I accidently sewed the samples on my pants… I didn’t realize that until I finished the sample. It’s one of the best moments during my fashion study I would think of till now.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
CF : Exercise and read comic books. One of the best part as a designer is that you can always make a reason for any entertainments (It’s for inspirations, of course).

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
CF : Not at all, I don’t think I could imagine I would become a designer someday when I was little.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
CF : I like to focus more about now and current moments instead of the future.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
CF : I hope my fans could try their best to understand the design ideas of each products, the stories behind, and the concept it represents.