Having established a distinct voice that is all his own, Central Saint Martins graduate Steven Tai has all the makings of a serious fashion star. Incorporating both modern and quirky aesthetics into his work, the young designer has created a covetable line that feels sporty and new in its ingenuity. What the Vancouver native recognizes, though, is that the road to independent success as a break through talent is long and arduous. While the designer has caught the attention of big players in the fashion game (he has worked at Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolf, and was selected by Yohji Yamamoto as the winner of the Chloé award at the Hyères Festival in 2012), Tai is well aware of the fact that public support for his is eponymous label is critical.
Understanding this need to connect with fashion lovers, Tai teamed up with the online platform Wowcracy. The site provides a space for designers to reach out to style enthusiasts who are encouraged to pledge support for emerging fashion talents looking to kickstart new design efforts and creative initiatives. When you pre-order garments and thank you gifts, the money will only be transferred once the designer has met their funding goals, meaning the production of the pieces is financially sustainable and set to become successful. Above all, Wowcracy projects like Tai’s are about giving recognition and support to emerging designers who deserve it.
Looking at Tai’s Fall 2013 collection, you can see the designer isn’t afraid to be experimental and different: unusually layering graphic silicone shapes across voluminous separates and jersey pieces to create clothing that simultaneously feels artistic and athletic.
Through Wowcracy you can offer assistance to the designer of varying increments and receive thank you gifts in return, from lookbooks and postcards to limited edition graphic t-shirts. There is even an opportunity to visit Tai’s studio in London and make your own silicone waistband for one of his beautiful colour-block tops, or advance purchase one of his unrevealed upcoming bags. (Believing in an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to design, Tai is working with Royal College of Art accessories designers Lily Kamper and Louise van Hauen to create something truly special.) We can’t wait to see what’s next for the up-and-comer, one who deserves the recognition he’s striving for. We visit Tai’s London studio in the August issue of FLARE, on newsstands July 15.