From his insouciant black T-shirt to his artfully distressed jeans, 30-year-old design prodigy, Brandon Sun, doesn't look a day over 19. Ironic only in the fact that his Autumn 2012 ready-to-wear/fur collection, which debuted at New York Fashion Week, is nothing short of sophisticated brilliance. Not objectively speaking, but Sun, who began his fashion career just six years ago, is without a doubt New York’s next purveyor of ‘Cool’.
After graduating from Parsons in 2006, where he was honored with the coveted “Designer of the Year” title and fancy Gold Thimble award, Sun went on to work within some of the highest echelons of fashion, including J.Mendel, Jeffrey Chow, Calvin Klein, and the celebrated American design force that is Oscar de la Renta.
During his two year tenure as Design Director for Oscar de la Renta, Sun revamped the brand’s entire fur division, which was met with both critical and commercial acclaim. One year later, the rising star (established now as brandonsun) was tapped to design a series of custom mink garments for Janet Jackson (yes, that Janet Jackson) to be used in the re-launch of Blackglama’s legendary ad campaign, “What Becomes a Legend Most?”
With his namesake label now in full throttle, Sun made his NYFW debut this season with a killer Fall 2012 collection aptly entitled “Silent Assassins”. Drawing inspiration from the sword wielding heroines of classic kung-fu films, Sun combined his signature luxury furs with a modern palette of mixed textures. Plush minks and cashmere stoles were layered effortlessly over gauze maxi dresses, Tibetan lamb vests, shearling sweaters with reptilian-skin trim, and 'ozone-dyed' raccoon scarfs in hues of blush, brown and black; while a litany of silver embellishments pushed the collection over the veritable Edge of Glory. Deadly, yet delicate. Ferocious, yet feminine. Brandon Sun's girl was an all-too-knowing sartorial snake; quiet creatures of lethal intent.
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In a whirlwind of photographers, editors, fashionistas, and his parents; I sat down with the young designer to talk personal inspirations, guilty temptations and, of course, the always nasty, Ms. Janet Jackson.
The Fashion Spot: First of all, congratulations on your first NY Fashion Week presentation! Are you in shock? Awe? Do you want to slip into a small coma?
Brandon Sun: The feeling is explosive. A flood of emotions are going through my mind and body right now. I'm excited and proud of what I've shown today. My parents are here… somewhere. It's surreal!
tFS: I’m obsessed with the Femme Fatales of Film Noir past, and am a huge fan of Tarentino ‘killer’ films. How did you come up with the theme ‘Silent Assassins’?
BS: I’m all about the female warrior! I grew up watching epic kung-fu films…the beautiful sort where artists float gracefully over water, and elegantly slay the bad guys with their swords. It’s like a peaceful violence…a bizarre contrast…but something that I’ve always found alluring. These days, I love a good Ang Lee or Zhang Yimou film…shot in a way that draws you in to torture you emotionally…feeling dramatic
tFS: What kind of girl do you design for?
BS: A lot of my girl friends are successful career women who are truly building their lives and living their dreams. They are fashion forward and conscientious but they do not have the time to really revel in their clothes. Nonetheless, they love luxury and thoughtful design. They simply reach into their closet and pull together whatever they grab effortlessly. Brandon Sun is for that girl…the woman who always looks perfect without having to think about it.
tFS: Where do you currently live? Does your neighborhood’s culture ever inspire you?
BS: I live near Wall Street. I love it because it feels like another city inside of NYC…and I find some peace there…not so much culture down there except perhaps a perfectly cut suit! But then again, I’m always at the studio!
tFS: You’re of Chinese descent, correct? The Versace siblings have always integrated bold Italian colors and patterns into their pieces. Conversely, Tokyo-based designer, Yohji Yamamoto tends to bring inspiration from Japan’s architecturally-clean design sensibility. Does your heritage ever inspire your designs?
BS: Yes, I’m Chinese. Of course my heritage plays a role…aside from the Silent Assassins theme…I’m drawn to the ideas of Tao and Qi….and so I allow things to just be…to flow…and to be free. But you’ll NEVER see me do mandarin collars and anything with dragons in battle with the phoenix! Although recently, I rewatched In the Mood for Love and was completely inspired!
tFS: What fashion blogs do you have bookmarked?
BS: I honestly haven’t been good about following my blogs! It’s awful, but lately I’ve been in hermit mode. Whenever I’m relaxing, my nose goes straight into a book! Still, there is a couple that I will hit whenever I have moment of procrastination at my desk! Those tend to come off my newsfeed from Facebook or Twitter…The Fashion Law, Fashion Your Seat Belt, Jak & Jil, and of course, theSartorialist!
tFS: You worked directly with the legendary, Ms. Janet Jackson…? Spill.
BS: Hahaha, yes, I was very fortunate to have been brought on board the Blackglama “What Makes a Legend Most” campaign. Two seasons ago, I had the amazing chance to meet Janet and design a collection of mink coats for her. Then last season, she and I collaborated on the second run which is now on billboards and in glossies worldwide! She’s amazing, knows what she loves, and has a strong point-of-view. I'm thoroughly humbled each time I meet her because she exudes an enormous amount of positive and welcoming energy.
tFS: What is your biggest vice?
BS: ICE CREAM. HAAGEN DAZS PINEAPPLE COCONUT AND COOKIES N CREAM MIXED WITH CAPTAIN CRUNCH AND MOCHI…and deep, smoky, dry, spicy, leathery, complex, lingering red wine…sometimes together. Ok fine, that’s two.
tFS: What advice do you have for young aspiring designers who are struggling with the dichotomy of wanting to create luxury fashion within a recession-based market?
BS: I would actually prefer someone giving ME some advice at the moment since I am the aspiring designer introducing new luxury!
tFS: What’s next on the horizon for BrandonSun?
BS: I would love to be able to take a two week vacation and just stop everything. I am dreaming about somewhere far away and remote…both exotic and inspiring! But realistically, first sales…then production…then spring!!!