Ones to Watch: Phyllis Chan and Suzzie Chung of YanYan

Can sustainable fashion be both polished and quirky? Hong Kong-based designers and childhood best friends Phyllis Chan and Suzzie Chung are banking on it with their premium knitwear brand YanYan, which utilizes deadstock and leftover yarns from mills and knitwear factories. The two are aiming to create a youth factor around sustainability, blending grandma elegance with a playful spirit in their designs, and simultaneously touching on hot-button issues facing the fashion industry — including low-waste production, experimental retail strategy, reacting to the pace and competitiveness of fast fashion, and putting out product with more long-term, less trend-driven, potential. “We thought about what’s a good and interesting way to create product,” Chan said on a call with Chung from Hong Kong, adding: “We didn’t want to put stuff out there that doesn’t contribute anything new. We wanted to make sweaters that were special. We wanted to challenge ourselves and make sweaters that aren’t traditional. The knitwear market is starting to grow. It’s a space for people to have fun and experiment.” Knitwear was a natural venture for Chan, too, who moved back to Hong Kong after spending nearly a decade at Rag & Bone in New York, most recently as the director of knitwear until

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