Leanne Kim portrait

Leanne Kim

Kingston University

I am  very keen to learn more about the unique traditions and culture in Shanghai.


Asia is a continent that I am keen to explore further, Shanghai in particular as it has become one of the leading cities for design especially through technological advances. It not only plays a large role in the rapid turnover and production in the fashion market, but also in the progression in all areas, as the city continuously expands and evolves. The prospect of gaining an insight into this vast growth and accompanying lifestyle fascinates me and will enhance my overall understanding of the direction design is advancing and adapting to beyond Europe. Exploring and pushing myself beyond my usual surroundings is a learning experience I embrace, which will be an exciting trip to embark on alongside the other young designers.

I am currently studying fashion design womenswear, but as a keen photographer I take inspiration from all other areas of design as well, such as architecture, fine art and sculpture. I am therefore very keen to learn more about the unique traditions and culture in Shanghai. This invaluable opportunity and immersion into a new environment is an exciting prospect and I look forward to building new connections, opening up my perspective and broadening my horizon to possibly lead to myself working in Asia sometime after I graduate.


Firstly, looking back now the month honestly flew by in no time and it is incredible how much we managed to see and experience through working and exploring during our spare time. Starting with the internship throughout the weekdays, at All Comes From Nothing, I found this experience very helpful especially in furthering my skills and practice using the software adobe illustrator to produce technical flats. I have also learnt a lot about how an up and coming brand is run behind the scenes and how the research and design processes from university translate into a real business structure. I feel a month of integrating into the everyday life of commuting has also given me a clearer understanding of the style and importance especially young women place on fashion here in China. Most apparent being the normality of fake high-end goods, which appear to have become an essential to an everyday outfit, mostly through shoes and bags. Even though it is difficult to pin point, there is a visible difference in fashion style to that in London, which was fascinating to analyze and collate some new design ideas from. The one to one interview with Eva Xu, ACFN’s brand owner, allowed Paulina and I to get a really up-close insight into her pathway to where she is now, her advice to young designers and also her opinion on the fashion here in comparison to New York or London. It was so valuable to gather some advice about how to start ones own brand and tips about what she would maybe have done differently or felt had really worked in her favour, as she has now had a long term experience between the western and eastern culture.

For me another highlight of the trip were the fabric markets and learning about AFCN’s processes with the production factories. It was incredible to see for myself the vast selection of materials, finishing’s and techniques which factories in China are able to do. This has encouraged me to further look into potentially studying in Asia at some point in the future.

Taking the time to explore and venture out of central Shanghai with the group at the weekends has given me a very all rounded view on life in the city and suburbs. Over this last month I have also collected so much personal research in preparation for my final year collection through photography and experience that I cannot wait to translate into projects and outcomes.

Lastly, I would really like to thank TTI and everyone involved for creating this opportunity and organizing such a thoroughly educational and enjoyable trip. It was so nice to also go in a large group of 8, as we explored the city together and everyone felt like an extended family throughout the month. I would really highly recommend this trip to any future design students, and especially for those in fashion, as Asia plays such a key role in production, it is hard to imagine the scale until one has experienced it first hand. Through this amazing opportunity I have been able to broaden my horizon and also push my comfort zone out further as I now definitely see myself considering Asia as a continent to work in at some point in the future. This trip has so generously facilitated so many further possibilities I can only thank and encourage others to also venture out and enjoy it as much as I have done!

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