“I feel like I was born with a passion for art and fashion!”
Hong Kong born fashion designer Shine Lai, who graduated from IFA Paris with a Bachelor in Fashion Design and Technology, founded the magnificent silk brand Le Rêve de Ballet in 2017.
Michel Temman: Before creating your brand, how did you get involved in fashion and what is your academic and professional background?
Shine Lai: I’m from Hong Kong and since I can remember, I always had been passionate about fashion! I started to draw before I even knew how to walk or speak. I held my first fashion show at the age of 18, before studying fashion design at IFA Paris. In the past, I also worked on many public relations related projects and I finally created my own brand and collection in 2017, Le Rêve de Ballet. I’m the artist behind it, in charge of all of its' creative aspects. More than anything else, using my own strength, unlimited passions and hard work, I feel like being an artist. I do everything by myself - communication, the creations, sample production, fashion shows, etc.
M.T.: Why did you choose this French name and visual identity for your brand, Le Rêve de Ballet?
Shine Lai: Its inspiration came during my time at IFA Paris, while I was busy on some homework! I was inspired by the identity of the cities where IFA Paris is established, Paris and Shanghai! Its basic pattern came from the Chinese blue and French white porcelain. I added infinite numbers of ballerinas and combined modern and historical elements from the Chinese and Western cultures. The upper ballerina reveals the expression of beauty of sadness and hope drawn by the artist – it describes the realistic of the up and down in our life – while the middle-level ballerina brings a sense of order and hierarchy. The background is also made up of thousands of tiny ballerinas. There is no logo on my products, which focuses on people who truly appreciate art and design. I want people, customers to recognize my artwork from its design instead of from its logo.
M.T.: How challenging was the development of your DNA and brand identity?
Shine Lai: Taking my unrestrained and wild ideas, then applying rigor and discipline to them, was one of the most challenging but necessary journies to transition ideas into real products.
M.T.: When was the click? At the very beginning, did you feel like you were inspired by Chinese or foreign creators and artists?
Shine Lai: I feel like I was born with my passion for art and fashion, and also event planning. As early as kindergarten, I was involved in competitions and my art was winning! I have always been deeply touched by Audrey Hepburn. She is for me the gold standard by which to compare all others.
M.T.: Scarfs, pocket squares, cushions, acrylic glass wall art, fashion accessories. It seems that the creative dimension of your design has no limit?
Shine Lai: I feel that myself has no limits, even not the sky! From the beginning, I intended to apply my works on art walls and for scarfs and pocket squares. Then I realized the need of eye messages in all details. My mood is better when I see something beautiful, so I create plates, cushions, carpets... I set the bar very high when it comes to the scarf’s quality. I carefully select the best silk, finished by handcraft rolled stitches « à la française. » As well as a personalized and tailored « add me-to-order » system, as I believe everyone deserves a product that is unique.
M.T.: Why did you choose to join IFA Paris? Can you tell more about your studies there and how valuable it was?
Shine Lai: I was looking for a fashion school that has less rules and tolerate more fun than other academies and I found IFA Paris, a very open-minded school! Students there seem to have so much fun. The fact is that IFA’s students are quickly involved and immersed into the fashion industry. In 2016, I graduated from IFA Paris with a Bachelor in Fashion Design and Technology degree. One year later, I was creating my brand.
M.T.: What did you learn at IFA Paris that was determinant to conceptualize and develop Le Rêve de Ballet?
Shine Lai: Actually, I am very grateful as the Le Rêve de Ballet collection was created during my time at IFA Paris! To me, the collection became the perfect blend of two iconic cultures. The encounter of French and historical Chinese art.
M.T.: Also, you have featured in international movie festivals. How? And what about your next projects, like the swimwear collection?
Shine Lai: I could join film festivals thanks to Sasha Waseem, producer and director for Fashion TV, who believed in me many years ago already and who offered me opportunities as a freelance public relations agent in Hong Kong. We even became business partners and we still collaborate during red carpet events! Regarding my next projects, I hope to collaborate with more talented people from different industries to create amazing collections together such as, resort collections, swimwear, cosmetics or interior designs!