Yu Wanru, also known as Ringo Yu, is a knitwear and accessories designer from Taichung, Taiwan. She graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2011, and currently embodies the dual role of designer and maker. Ringo is the founder of YU Square, a Taiwan-based independent design brand that specializes in making a variety of knitted apparel, from socks to hats. Her creations can be characterized as vibrant and colorful, utilizing bold patterns to add a playful touch to any wardrobe.
Ringo Yu，中文名余宛儒，是位台中的針織品設計師。2011從中央聖馬丁畢業後，Ringo秉承Designer Maker即設計兼生產者概念，开始以个人品牌YU Square之名設計並製作針織作品。不管是帽子也好，襪子也罷，她作品裡大量重複的圖形、拼貼和歡快跳躍的豐富色彩讓人心生愉悅，也給著裝搭配帶來更活潑的元素。
Studying fashion design, Ringo discovered an affinity for textile and patterns early on in her studies. This realization led her to move to London where she believed she could further explore the possibilities of fashion. She continued her education in the textile design program at Saint Martins College where she was introduced to knitting, and that quickly became a newfound love. “I enjoy knitting a lot,” she says. “A single thread or different combinations of threads is able to create endless possibilities of patterns and designs. Nothing trumps the sense of achievement I feel when I knit.”
After graduation and around the time of the European financial crisis, Ringo began working in the luxury brand industry. Her job left her stressed and uninspired, but that period of dissatisfaction had one plus: it culminated in the birth of her own brand, YU Square. Initially, she only sewed after work as a method of stress relief. But after showing some of her designs online, she found praise from netizens and the orders began pouring in. Ringo decided to quit her job in order to focus on her own brand and diversify her product line. She moved back to Taiwan a year later and started mass producing socks as well as two smaller collections. All the remaining products continue to be handmade by herself.
Inspired by life, architecture, travel, color, and happiness. Ringo has released four knitwear design collections in total.
Field Trip was the first collection that was released through the YU Square line. “At the time, I was a design assistant in a stressful, fast-paced industry. So I started knitting in my free time as a way to find myself. It was like a personal field trip for me to escape the unhappiness of my daily routine,” she explains of the collection name.
When the summer comes, I want to go to Cornwall was her second collection. “Cornwall is a peninsula in the Southwest part of England,” she says. “It consists of a bunch of little towns, and not too many people live there. It was one of my favorite places to visit during my time off in the six years I spent living and working in London. After moving back to Taiwan, I thought that I would never have the chance to go there again. I went through my old travel photos with a heavy heart, and decided to make a collection in order to commemorate that charming place.”
以生活、旅行、建築為靈感，以色彩、愉悅、溫度為關鍵詞， 從《Field Trip》开始，到新進發佈的Ronda，YU Square已經擁有四個設計系列。關於它們，Ringo是這麼和我们说的:
第一個系列《Field Trip》，“這個系列是第一次以YU Square的名義發表的作品。當時身為一個高壓產業下累壞了的設計助理，我想在閒暇時間織一些有意思的衣服，把‘自己’找回來，這個系列便是我在無趣生活中給自己的一趟虛擬小旅行。”
第二個系列《When the summer comes，I want to go to Cornwall》，“Cornwall 康瓦爾郡位於英國西南方的半島，地廣人稀，由很多個各色小鎮所組成，是我在倫敦待的六年多之間，放長假時最喜歡去也最常去的地方。搬回台灣後總覺得可能再也沒機會回去了，抱著有點遺憾的心情翻著以前旅行的照片，就決定用我自己的方式做一個系列來紀念這個可愛的要命的地方。”
Her third collection was The Gherkin, and it was inspired by her love of architecture. “I saw a really beautiful image on Pinterest of the Gherkin building in London,” she recalls. “For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out which angle they took the picture from. So on a day off, I decided to actually go to the building and figure it out for myself. I’ll never forget the moment that I finally found the right angle and pressed down on the camera shutter. After that, I started to form a habit where I would collect interesting photographs of architecture from the internet or at the library. Architecture is something that I could explore for the rest of my life, and creating things based on architectural themes will never get old for me!”
Her fourth collection, Ronda, is also another collection inspired by her memories of travel. “Ronda is a city in the south of Spain that’s built on the side of a cliff,” she says. “The population is small, but the place is extraordinary. There are valleys, huge bridges, endless green plains, ancient bullrings, and winding alleyways. The celebrations for Semana Santa Holy Week also take place there. The architecture in Barcelona and Madrid is amazing, but Ronda left a much deeper impression on me.”
第三個系列《The Gherkin》，“我對建築的熱情是從大學時期開始的 – 當時在 Pinterest 上無意看見了一張非常美，被標記“the Gherkin“的照片震撼到（那棟大樓從外觀看根本沒有一個角度是長那個樣子），找了天假日就實地去晃了一圈試圖找出拍攝者的角度到底在哪裡。找到的那瞬間，按下快門的喜悅我這輩子都不會忘記。自此之後我開始習慣性上網和去圖書館收集世界各地特殊建築物的圖片，想在有生之年一一去探訪。這類建築相關的主題我可以一直做下去！”
第四個系列《Ronda》，“這也是個關於旅行記憶的系列 – Ronda 隆達位於西班牙南方，是一座建築在懸崖邊的城市，人口不多，地形很特殊，在這邊看的到山谷、巨橋、一望無際的綠色平原、古老的鬥牛場、錯綜複雜的巷弄和 Semana Santa 聖週遊行。除了高第的建築太有趣以外，巴賽隆納和馬德里我都覺得不及隆達讓人記憶深刻。”
Seeing her full collection and understanding her design inspirations paints a clear picture of Ringo’s sense of style and personality. “I rarely wear outfits with just a single color,” she grins. “I don’t even really have any clothes without patterns. Even if my outfit is simple, I’ll at least wear some colorful socks. Wearing color makes me happy, and the YU Square label is just a projection of what I love. I also like to collect toys (especially robots), metal boxes of different sizes, postcards, and postage stamps.” She surprisingly revealed that during the process of designing and knitting, she enjoys things that might seem like the polar opposites of the type of creations she makes. For example, she likes to put on crime dramas, editorial programs, metalcore, or industrial metal music.
到這裏，不難猜出Ringo本人的穿衣風格或者個性。“我很少穿單一色系的服裝，幾乎沒有無圖案的衣服，就算衣服很素也一定要配一雙彩色襪子，把顏色穿在身上讓我心情愉快。YU Square 其實就是我喜愛的風格的投射。”她說，“我也喜歡收集玩具（尤其是機器人）和各種不同大小的鐵盒、明信片和郵票。”但是一個有趣的事實是，在設計和織東西的時候，她會搭配犯罪片、社論節目，還有metalcore金屬核、Industrial metal工業金屬這類的音樂，完全與她作品給人的印象大相逕庭。
Ringo is the type of person who works alone, which is sometimes a challenge for the designer-maker. The highly seasonal nature of knitwear means that Ringo is frantically busy around fall and winter, but her love of the hands-on process of knitting keeps her motivated to continue. She says, “The feeling of handmade goods can never be completely replaced by machine manufactured stuff.” She hopes that she will still be able to handcraft all of her knitwear in the future, with the small exception of socks. Presently, she’s nearing the completion of a knitwear necklace collection. Once she has her own studio, she plans on making knitted body pillows, chair cushions, and other handmade furniture items. In the future, she hopes to turn the studio into an open studio where she can showcase her work as well as the delicate process behind the knitting process.