A COVENTRY University fashion student has been named Young Designer of the Year at the Clothes Show Live.
Final-year fashion student Ren Wong triumphed at the annual Clothes Show Live awards on Monday with his cultural take on women’s rights.
Ren’s fusion of ancient Chinese traditions and powerful women to tackle modern ideas of fashion answered the competition’s call for designs centred on royalty, modern women and culture.
The 22-year-old beat hundreds of hopefuls to the top spot with a 21st century fashion twist on the life of Empress Wu Zetian, who ruled three Chinese dynasties from the year 690AD.
The empress and mother was recognised as a queen and later a king during her reign – something Ren said he wanted to celebrate and show off with his garment which merged royal and gender-specific colours with traditional feminine pattern.
As well as scooping the prestigious Clothes Show 2016 title and chance to see his winning collection modelled on the Clothes Show catwalk, the student designer was awarded £1,000 prize money and a £500 fund for the university.
Speaking after his win, Ren said: “I was so happy to be nominated, I can’t believe I was one of the finalists let alone the winner.
“It is a fantastic feeling and a great beginning for my career which will motivate me to do better and better.
“I took inspiration from the queen Wu Zetian.
“She was inspirational for me because she was not only a queen, she became a king as well and may have been the first woman to protect the rights of women and prove that everyone is equal.”
Ren explained his email was to inspire people to look at fashion differently.
“Nowadays, people think of fashion, trend and design all based on the Western culture,” he said.
“But I believe every culture has its own beauty which is why I decided to combine Chinese style in my garments.”
Ren’s success adds to a list of Clothes Show Live award winners from Coventry University’s fashion school, which provided four of this year’s finalists.
His winning collection will also now feature in the upcoming Bright Young Things 2017 campaign.