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Little Women AW15: an interview with Renli Su

The London College of Fashion trained designer talks us through her current collection, using beautiful ethical fabrics.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Renli Su by Bonaramis
Renli Su AW15 by Bonaramis.

Chinese born designer Renli Su first caught my eye when her collection appeared on the catwalk as one of the Fashion Scout Ones to Watch crew in 2013. The designer explores the idea of Time and Memory, with each season expanding and developing on this theme. For SS15 and AW15 she has been inspired by the tale of Little Women, resulting in two ‘strong yet feminine’ collections that reflect the typical dress sense of elegant and charming girls living in the mid-late 19th century.

Renli Su AW15
Renli Su AW15
Where did you train in fashion design and what was your biggest design inspiration growing up?
I began studying painting and then completed BA Fashion Design at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Being surrounded by artists I found an appreciation for fabric as a material for my work, which is where my fashion education began. After my BA, I came to London to study MA Fashion Design and Technology Women’s wear at London College of Fashion, and I’ve been based in London ever since.

Renli Su AW15
Renli Su AW15
How did you first start researching the Little Women collections?
The most part of my research came from my travels. The materials used were Chinese Summer Fabric, Indian hand-woven cotton, Indian black print cotton and Irish innovative cotton linen, so this meant I spent time in all of these countries, finding the fabrics and exploring the traditional techniques used to create them.

Renli Su AW15
I source fabrics from all over the world. For AW15, again I used the four materials that made up the SS15 collection, but I also added Tibetan Yak Wool and Chinese Silk. I am passionate about sourcing and reviving traditional techniques from different parts of the world as each of the materials are made in a different way and I meet interesting people who have dedicated their lives to creating these fabrics, it’s something I want to explore further.

Renli Su AW15
Renli Su AW15
What have been the biggest hurdles in terms of getting the collections together?
There is a lot of research involved in the early stages and then in the later stages it requires a lot of dedication to create a collection that will stand the test of time in elegance, cut and quality.

Renli Su AW15
Renli Su AW15
Where can your garments be bought?
Young British Designers in the UK, Dongliang in Shanghai, China, Dongliang in Beijing, China and Berween in Changsha, China. And of course online from


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