Doyeon Yoni Yu was born and raised in South Korea before she moved to New York. She was graduated from Parsons School of Design, Fashion Design. After her graduation she had more internship collaborations withUniversal Standard,Zac Posen, 3.1Phillip Lim and more.An Interview with Doyeon Yoni Yu, the young designer who support body positivity
Now she launched her own label CEST D by DOYEON YONI YU, supporting body positivity and size inclusivity. Shes bringing those into her designs and unapologetically designing fashion for all types of bodies. Her creations are to truly celebrate body equality and liberate us all from this fat phobic society.
Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
I was studying completely different field before I came to New York. I was majoring in China Studies in Korea. Spending 3 years studying it, then I started to question myself: Am I happy? Is this really what I want? At that moment, I realized that I needed big change. Ive been always creating things in my whole life. I paint, I sew, and I make. And I really wanted to continue doing those my entire life! This is when I first realized that I wanted to become a fashion designer.
What drives your passion for plus-size women in fashion design?
2.1 billion people in this world, 30% of world population, are overweight. In this country itself, 67% are beyond size 14, however, our society is fat phobic and discriminates people by their size. I, myself, am considered as plus size. When I was younger, my classmates always made fun of my weights and my body. When I was grown up, people constantly forced me to lose weights even my parents. I couldnt shop anywhere else because nowhere carries my size. Until recent, I didnt even think about how unfair this is. Ive accepted the fact that my size and my body is wrong for this world. However, since I started my brand, I totally changed my mind. No matter what body/size we have, we have every right to shop wherever we want and appreciate good designs. This is why I decided to be a size inclusive fashion designer.
What is the biggest challenge for you as a designer who promotes body positivity?
As a size inclusive designer, finding a perfect fit is the biggest challenge. What makes good designs is good fit. Since there are so many different body shapes, finding the right fit to each body is really important for consumers. This is why I started my career as Technical Designer right after graduation because I know how hard it is and how long it takes to make the fit perfect. Also, aesthetic-wise, Im usually challenged to convince my brands motto to our society and fashion industry. These days, it seems like a lot of people are rooting for body positivity and size inclusivity. However, the reality is that fashion industry is not that welcoming of these concepts. Fashion industry still thinks that bigger sizes dont look good in high-end or luxury fashion, and always push the idea that consumers would buy clothes that make them look skinnier. Those are prejudice that we really should break. Often times, I have hard times to even present my aesthetic which break all of those prejudices.
How sustainability can change fashion industry? Do you think we can see, in the next future, a positive change regarding sustainable design?
Yes! I have really positive perspective on sustainable designs in the future since Ive been many of my friends are trying hard to achieve it. Even when I was in freshmen, there was almost zero interest in sustainable fashion at school. We students all think it was lame and think its inevitable for fashion to be not eco-friendly. However, when I was in senior year, a lot of students were doing their thesis collection regarding zero waste and sustainability. There were some classes which highly focused on creating sustainable fashion. So I expect bright future of sustainable fashion!
In your experience, what are some of the other negative points regarding fashion design schools?
I think sometimes schools force students to think too much. When I was in school, mentors always asked us reasons and meanings. Why did you design like this? What does this silhouette mean? Why did you choose this material? I mean, its good to have intentions but sometimes its better to let go. Schools sometimes take designs too seriously. Yes, I agree that designs should be considered deeply and seriously but sometimes when we let go of all the pressures, intentions, and reasons, there is another beauty in it. When we let our creativity flows without any thoughts, it can lead much more flourishing results.
How the Cest D brands mission evolved starting with your first collection?
The brand mission is Body Positivity and Inclusivity. I started off my first collection about our bodies. Mainly our body insecurities. I used fashion as a medium to overcome insecurities and empower ourselves. I interpreted our body insecurities into fashion, such as silhouettes, surface designs, textiles, etc. If we see our insecurities transform into something meaningful, its empowerment. I want to show that you dont have to be ashamed of your insecurities. Its our history, memories, and ourselves.
What should a customer expect when buying Cest D by Doyeon Yoni Yu?
Cest D offers diverse styles in wider range of sizes. So when you shop, Id like you to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Dont stop yourself thinking like oh that one would make me look chubbier. Just TRY! You might like it and unexpectedly find your new style. Shopping experiences have been really restricted for certain size ranges. I want my customers to break free of that restriction.
What we should expect next from Cest D by Doyeon Yoni Yu?
Cest D will keep exploring how to change societys absurd norms, limitations, prejudice, and fat stigma through its collection. I will keep creating, designing, and showing my collection which spreads our motto: Empowerment. We will not stop our journey to change the world and empower ourselves in this ridiculously close-minded society. I hope that my brand would help people to step out and become brave to challenge this world.