In 25 words or less describe who you are, where you’re located and what you make.
My name is Ringo Yu, originally from Taiwan, I started designing and making knitwear and accessories for my label YU Square in London, UK.
What made you want to be a maker?
I’ve always loved making objects since I was little, but did not take it seriously until I had the chance of moving to London to study when I was 20. Spent a few years in the university training in textile design and later specialising in knitted textiles. I found an entirely new world, often possessed by the knitting machines working from 10am until 9pm, till the college’s close time and would get kicked out by college guards.
I’m the happiest when I’m knitting, it’s just fascinating that I’m able to turn a single thread of yarn to create piles of fabrics with colourful patterns, and there are always new techniques and patterns that can be explored and discovered. It wasn’t easy to find my ideal job in London (which is knitted textile designer), after graduation I struggled doing some jobs which I didn’t really enjoy, even so I still did a lot of knitting using the rest of time after work until the point that I realized that I should take my interest seriously as a potential career, this is how YU Square started, in the beginning of 2013.
I did not set up a business goal for myself, however I have been very lucky to have a lot of positive feedback from the public and compliments from customers, the label has grown a lot faster then I expected, and I’m really really grateful for all the support and opportunities I’ve been blessed with, they are like nutrients that encourage me to work even harder.
Why should people support your business/products?
I try not to convince people why they should support me, but instead I try to teach each individual about the process and hard work that I have gone through to produce each of my works, explaining why it takes 3 days to complete a jumper and 4 days for a cardigan or a dress, and where the materials were sourced (which are all from established British manufacturers).
Every handmade product contains thoughtful ideas, a lot of labour work and possibly numerous unsuccessful trials/sampling behind it. The value of a handmade product is not only the uniqueness that cannot be found elsewhere, but also a story, a thought, and a heart with the maker’s touch. A good maker would not compromise on the works, so the quality and durability are guaranteed, it’s more like a hidden promise to link buyers and makers emotionally. This is why I like buying handmade items, and why I’m proud of being a maker.
Favorite product that you make?
I have recently made three skirts adding to the line to match the jumpers and this blue A-line skirt is my most favourite one.
List five of your favorite tools.
1. Cath Kidston knitting needles set - I do machine knitting most of the time, but I do enjoy some granny time and do some hand-knit whilst watching dramas with my glasses on.
2. Sketchbook by Bjorn Rune Lie - A nice gift from my friend, I use it for doodling, recording ideas and technical notes, as well as some random useful information to promote my works.
3. Vintage giant leather tape measure - Found this beauty in a small charity shop, the surface is embossed with leaf pattern and ‘Whale Brand’ in both Chinese and English, mysterious, and I like things with a story behind them.
4. Homemade mini latch tool - Very handy to pick up tiny stitches and a super tool to save dropped stitches(!!!)
5. Fabric scissors - I have many pairs of scissors for different purposes and this pair is my most favourite one. I have been using it for 8 years.
(photographs from Tiffany Lin Photography and Ringo Yu)