Graduate Profile, Fashion Design – Frankie Yung

What do you get when you merge pencil shavings with flamingos, hedgehogs and chickens…?

With her cool and quirky design style it’s no wonder that graduate fashion designer Frankie Yung was snapped up by super cool creative brand Ground-Zero, to work as the company’s Assistant Designer. You may have already seen Frankie’s winning designs for River Island Graduate Fashion Week 2010, used on T-shirts and bags and in River Island’s visual displays. In our latest Graduate Profile Frankie talks about her style and influences and the fashion industry in Hong Kong, the city where she works and lives.

River Island T-shirt collection


Ground-Zero SS2012 - Pictures: Jimmy Ming shum


Hello Frankie! First of all, what and where did you study?
I studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design at Nottingham Trent University. I chose this course because I wanted to challenge myself and develop further in design, learning all aspects of technical and pattern cutting skills.

What would you say was the most interesting or enjoyable aspect of your course?
It’s always the process of designing that is most fascinating, the development of an initial idea into a final outcome through different influences or even mistakes along the way.

What was your most memorable experience during your course?
Winning the national T-shirt and Bag Design Competition for Graduate Fashion Week 2010 sponsored by River Island, seeing the designs in shops and during GFW was incredible.

Which piece out of all your work best represents you as a designer?
The concept of my graduate collection (“How clothes package the body, meaning we are the product.”) speaks my thoughts on design, whereas the T-shirt and Bag competition designs, express my personality and approach, how we must enjoy the process of design and anticipate the results.

Frankie added close-up photographs of pencil shavings to prints of a hedgehog, koala, chicken, flamingo, lion and moose.


"Frankie's design reflects what fashion is all about; being quirky, fun and on-trend. Her bag and t-shirt were well-executed and made us smile." David Porter, interior director for River Island (


The designs were used in River Island shop displays during Graduate Fashion Week 2012


Who or what is your biggest design influence?
Inspiration can come from anywhere, from what I see in my everyday life, my surroundings and my encounters. Also my mother, I treasure and wear what she wore back in the day.

How would you describe your design style?
I see, capture, play, create.

What are you up to now?
I am currently working in Hong Kong as Assistant Designer for Ground-Zero (see, a creative UK brand predominantly known for their unique graphic prints, where I get to draw, pattern cut and create.

Did your course prepare you for working in the fashion industry – is it how you expected?
Personally, university was a creative path where I learnt essential skills to become a designer and realize which route I’d desire.  Also internships or work placements gives you a little preview of how it works.

In reality, fashion is a hard working world, where it can take over your life. It is never as easy as it looks.

Are you inspired by the city you live in? Do you have any favourite fashion haunts?
As I’m living in Hong Kong right now, the mix of culture is astounding. I’m inspired every day, everywhere I walk, things change so fast.

The requests of fashion here are very different, there’s quite an obvious class division. I love vintage clothes (grandma style), and it is such a popular trend in UK, but the majority of HK sees vintage as trash.

What kind of advice would you offer to someone interested in working in the fashion industry?
See and learn as much as possible. Any experience is good experience.

Be honest and ask yourself what you live for.  Have ambition and don’t give up.

What are your hopes for your future career?
I’d like to travel, see and learn more within design in different cultures and environments, meet new people and be inspired. I hope to explore the world of creative pattern cutting and of course, eventually I’d love my own label, but for now I’m grateful to be working and learning in the industry where I am now.

Graduate collection drawings
Final graduate collection


To kick-start your career in fashion design, check out our Basics Fashion Design series and Fashion Design: The Complete Guide on the AVA website.