Cover Chinese designer Sun Yun tells Tatler all about his menswear label, Cornerstone (Photo: Courtesy of Sun Yun)

Hangzhou-based Sun Yun only started his menswear label, Cornerstone in 2019, but the brand has already become a reoccurring presence at fashion shows

Sun Yun is by no means a struggling young designer. While he only started his menswear label in 2019, based in Hangzhou, China, Sun had carved a name for himself as a celebrated contemporary architect for ten years prior, designing corporate headquarters for Yahoo, Google and Alibaba in China. He also happens to be a priest. Sun funnelled these varied influences into Cornerstone, which boasts brutalist silhouettes and subtle, geometric details, all inspired by thought-provoking philosophy. The label now has a reccurring presence at Men’s Fashion Week in Paris and can be found at I.T, Lane Crawford and Ssense.

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How did you first realise you wanted to work in fashion?

I actually studied stage design at university and ended up starting my career in architecture. It was when I discovered the Antwerp Six (the influential group of avant-garde designers hailing from Belgium in the Eighties, including Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester) that I had the impulse to enter into fashion.

What was the first roadblock you had to overcome?

My first obstacle was having to learn the technique behind designing a dress, because I’d only ever designed spaces or buildings up until that point.

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What was your first job?

My first job was designing the space and interiors of a small bar I opened.

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When did you first realise your brand was getting a lot of buzz?

Two years ago, I was really wondering whether my work was being accepted by the public, but then we began having some of my favourite buyers around the world place orders for my pieces, and their recognition and validation really encouraged me to keep going.

Who’s the celebrity you most want to dress?

I don’t pay a lot of attention to celebrities, but if Zhou Xun wears my menswear, I would be incredibly happy.

Where is the first place you look for inspiration?

The first places I would say are architectural materials and the forest, but my work includes references to the Second World War era, science (the Big Bang), mathematics (the number pi), religion (Joseph’s coat) and cultural issues in China.

What is your next goal?

I’d love for young artists to identify with my clothes, and maybe to design my own retail space in London.

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