Yeha Leung Is An Influencer's Dream
If you search ‘creepyyeha’ on Instagram, you will find glossy, risqué photographs of models staring seductively into the camera. With over half a million followers, under each picture are hundreds of comments in awe of the featured creations. In some cases, photos featuring the likes of singer FKA Twigs or Drag Race competitor Naomi Smalls bring in even more views to a growing Instagram page boasting intricately designed and beautifully worn clothes. An influencer’s dream, Creepyyeha is just the brainchild of Yeha Leung, or YEHA for short. For the past six years, she has built a brand, inspired by the beauty of the world around her. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, YEHA is 27 years old and from all angles, just getting started. YEHA sat down with SVGE to discuss her creative process, heritage, and her reaction to well-known models and celebrities wearing her clothes.
You have a very unique and distinct brand, do you feel like you will expand on the type of products you design/sell?
Yes, my brand is very personal, it evolves and grows with time and experience. I look forward to share some cut & sew items in a very near future. I often introduce new products at random, whenever I feel that the design matches my standard of quality.
Has fashion been your dream from day one? Do you see yourself getting into any other fields of creativity?
I would say creating for a living feels like a dream and fashion is one of my expressions.
As of late, I have been really enjoying photography and set developing. My work has been recently featured at Playboy (@playboy) for Viktoria Modesta (@viktoriamodesta) and a recent hardcover story of the Sateen (@sateenmusic) for Cause and Effect (@causeandeffectmagazine)
If there was ONE person in the entire world you could design pieces for, who would it be? Why?
This is a difficult question for me to answer as I am influenced by many. Could it be a fictional character? A superhero or supervillain perhaps? This way I am in control of the character’s style transition throughout the years but also keep it very cohesive.
How were the beginning stages of your brand? What are some obstacles you had to push through to become as successful as you are now?
I started off by creating pieces for myself and sharing them online. After gaining some following and noticing a growing demand, I decided to make my work available to the public. I found the perfect niche. Everything happened organically. At first I was limited to pre-manufactured supplies that I sourced locally and now I am able to have my hardware custom made, which gives me more freedom in general. Due to no experience with the business side of fashion, I had to figure it all out along the way. I wasn’t sure what to prepare for so I just pushed through whatever I had to to get things done. I also have never had financial sponsors so everything is very much out of pocket. Everything about what I am doing and how I am doing it isn’t traditionally followed in fashion. I just want to create on my own terms and plan to do so for as long as I can without interference of others. Naturally there have been many obstacles in the way but you have to see them as learning experiences. I could go on forever on missteps, but you really have to be resilient and push forward.
Where does the inspiration for your line come from?
The inspiration for my line comes from multiple sources. Film, art, music and more than anything, women. I am attracted to the energy that confident women put out. Also fantasy, there is a lot of room for fantasy in my work.
You feature a lot of Asian models, and generally women of colors, on your Instagram. How does your own culture influence your designs?
In the past I was ashamed of my Chinese background. I was bullied heavily in grade school and this really affected the way I would think of my ethnicity. It was not until I gained confidence in myself that I started to admire and respect the undoubtable beauty of Chinese culture. After visiting China in my adult years, I’ve grown more appreciation and love for my heritage. With whatever control I have, I try my best to feature Asian people as often as I can. I like to keep things organic and just collaborate with people I am inspired by or people I respect and trust.
Models and influencers like Leomie Anderson, FKA Twigs, and Amanda Lepore have worn your designs. Did you ever imagine this kind of acclaim? Do you feel successful when well known people where your line? What does success look like for you?
For the longest time, I have always been too shy to reach out to others because I never felt confident being social. It wasn’t until a year or 2 into my brand that I decided to open myself up to others and finally collaborate. Success to me have never been about the validation from the rich and famous but it is a bonus. To have someone who is in the spotlight wearing my work, it is a major shock to me still. It is always an honor to be able to connect with other artists and work with them. The mere fact of being considered is an accomplishment. Most of these artists get so many request of others designers, I’m just happy and grateful to have a seat at the table. Ultimately, success for me is being able to maintain a healthy and happy life for myself and the people in my life doing what I love, which is to create on my own pace and also eat amazing food along the way.
Talk through your designing process. Are you inspired by other creative avenues? How else do you express your creativity?
The design process often but not always, starts with material. I am always looking or open to see novelty materials and juxtaposing them to create new ideas. For example, a chandelier in a background of a picture can inspire a whole crystal look. Everything around us has beauty, it is up to us to translate that into our lives by means of creativity or self reflection.