Interview and photograph by Karmen Hsu

In a rainy afternoon, fashionwithus had a nice interview with Bing-hao Lin(林秉豪), designer of Taiwan’s first professional brand of leotards, KeithLink. Having been studying clothes designing as an apprentice from Jin-ruh Lin(林璟如), experienced costume designer of many renowned theatres, he learned everything from the basic, including sketching. In April, he launched KeithLink, and soon gained popularity and fame.

“There is not a single rule for designing but keep trying, whether you fail or not.” He said.

A. As a dancer
1. What made you decide to drop off dancing? How did you feel then?
I was really tired of the strenuous training of the troupes, and I couldn’t afford it anymore. Actually I didn’t start learning dancing when I was a child. It wasn’t until I took performance arts in senior high school did I have a better knowledge of it; however, when in college, it dawned on me that I wasn’t the type. I am not good at performing, but rather, I prefer the backstage job. Besides, there is still pressure of joining the troupes.

I didn’t have any particular feelings. I simply think that I am fortunate enough to be in the part of designing, because I loved to draw when little, having the background of arts; in addition, I’d been a dancer; I know what dancers need. I entered a clothing company before I graduated from college, learning everything professional from the basic—the fabric, the materials, the dye, etc.. (Would you regret not learning those in college? For example, Fu Jen Catholic University Department of Textile and Clothing) No, I wouldn’t. One will enter the industry someday, face the practice. I just took an earlier step.

2. How did your parents act when they learned your drop-off, and your decision to learn design?
They have been quite open-minded. They merely told me, “just stay on the right track!” (laugh)

3. When you were a child, were you sure about being a dancer then?
I wasn’t sure then, but indeed it was predictable. I didn’t play with the dolls, but Bu-Dai Xi! I would re-paint the heads with Acrylic. My mother is a tailor, and I would ask her to sew some pieces of clothes, and then I’d design the patterns and the decorations on them, etc..

B. As a designer
1. Talk about your trip to Europe recently—how was it?
Sometimes I’d seat in the café besides the streets, “watching people”; watching how they dressed, their facial expressions, and got to know this entire grand city’s taste and lifestyle. Take Paris for example, it really gives me the feel of romance. I saw a lot of men wearing long scarfs, but that would be a bit impractical if wearing so in London—I think London style pretty cool—(Like coats? The kind that Burberry launched this early fall?) Kind of. In Italy, it was about flowers! Men wore shorts and colorful shirts, with their limbs and laps seen. Though European countries border on one and another; nevertheless, each area features differently. When I design, I often take of the elements and mix them up.

2. How do you capture inspiration? Is there a certain source for you?
Everything. Loads of tiny things add up to become of a great idea. I don’t like designing be way to exaggerating. The simplest the best, putting up some pipings or some kind of strong colour to highlight would be wonderful.

Some leotards would be made way too complicated, with frills and crisscrossed straps, but I won’t design clothes like that. I’d often muse over the simplest curve quite a time.

I don’t have a particular source of inspiration. I’m always trying new concepts, whether it is successful or not. If it’s not widely accepted, it’s fine, still, just take it as experience. There is not a single rule for designing but keep trying, whether you fail or not.

3. You’re now designing leotards for dancers, but you’ve designed costumes for renowned Cloud Gate Theatre and other performances. What are the similarities and differences between these two kinds of clothes?
These two types need to let the performers “be comfortable” so that they need not worry about trivial like clothes torn apart because of lack of elasticity while performing. Also, what matters when running a brand is the spirit, of how to sustain, and keep the masses looking forward to the next time new goods.

The reason why I launch leotards is that I hope to provide them another choice; they don’t need to wear single-style leotards. So that they can dress beautifully and confidently even when practicing.

4. How does a leotard need to be like? What are your priorities when designing?
Comfortableness, the cutting, and the sewing. In KeithLink, there is one more concept: simple.

5. What are your future expectations and goals?
To stick to the original goal, and keep everyone expecting.

Posted and made by Fashionwithus

Special Thanks for Karmen Hsu