Xiao Li’s experimental, over-sized knitwear and humorous, brightly coloured designs have won the admiration of important industry figures such as designer Azzedine Alaïa and Carla Sozzani , creator of 10 Corso Como in Milan.
Studying first at the London College of Fashion , and then the Royal College of Art , where she graduated with an MA in womenswear knitwear in 2013, Li began attracting attention back in 2012, when her structured, bubble gum knitted garments won the Pitti Filatti ‘Feel the Yarn’ competition, an award for innovative knitwear. The following year, Li won both the Loro Piana award for best knitwear collection and the Diesel International Talent Support prize – an accolade that led to a seven piece capsule collection in collaboration with the brand and sold exclusively at Corso Como.
Inspired by modern architectural structures, and the belief that knitwear doesn’t have to be shapeless, Li combined classical techniques with moulded rubber reliefs to create dip-dyed pastel knitwear pieces, decoratively edged with silicone that British Vogue described as “marshmallow chic”.
Originally born in the small Chinese seaside town Qingdao, Li moved to London for her education and in the space of a few short years has firmly established herself as one of China’s most promising talents. In 2014, the year she graduated from RCA, Li was chosen for Fashion Scout’s Merit Award, which provides new designers with business support and £25,000. In 2015, having produced just three collections, Li was also shortlisted for the prestigious LVMH prize.