Frank Fu, fashion designer and then some…
“We Don’t Coast” is an attitude. A nod to the fact that we’re all given 24-hours each day – and we choose to make them most of them. Frank Fu embodies We Don’t Coast.
“My philosophy is – if I find that I like it, I will always find time for it.”
Frank is an artist, freelance graphic designer, jewelry-making entrepreneur, and instructor at Do Space, our innovation playground. He is also an architecture aficionado and a budding fashion designer who’ll be making his debut at Omaha Fashion Week (OFW) in August.
“I’ve always been aware of European fashion – and how most of the time, it’s forward thinking,” he says. “I’ve been thinking about trying this new type of expression. Working with the body is completely different. It’s more organic and free-flowing whereas with a building you’re set within a boundary of rules.”
Spoken like a true… 16-year-old.
Amidst everything else, Frank is an architectural design technology student at Metropolitan Community College – and an incoming senior at Brownell Talbot High School. A teenager operating on a whole ‘nother level.
“I’ve always loved making things,” he says.
Every year, since the age of 12, Frank’s put together a project portfolio, each with an individual focus. The first four years, his portfolio was architecture-themed, touching on everything from city planning to how buildings connect with human emotion. This year, his portfolio is fashion-focused with an architectural twist. His theme, which he’ll bring to OFW, is a design interpretation of concrete. He’s created six dresses for the show (August 22-27) under his FU brand.
“They’re all avant garde. They all have metal in them. Metal is pretty prevalent with the grid-lines you need to make when pouring concrete. So, there is the dress form with the fabric on it, but there are also the metal pieces that are like a skeleton. It’s almost like showing the different layers of how the dresses are made – starting from the top when it’s complete, going to the bottom where it’s bare metal.”
Frank’s experience with fashion vaulted forward when he began going to Do Space to complete school projects.
“I met this wonderful hat designer, Margie Trembley, and we helped each other grow in our strengths. I helped her with technology, and she got me connections to be in the fashion community in Omaha.”
Frank’s affiliation with Do Space – and its laser cutter – have also given rise to an acrylic jewelry design and engraving business and a foray into teaching.
“I love helping people make their designs come to life, that is why I also teach classes at Do Space. I have taught laser cutting crash course and Adobe Illustrator.”
With plenty to focus on in the present, Frank is also looking to his future. His true passion, right now, is architecture. After graduating high school and backed by his associate’s degree, he sees himself pursing a four-year degree – maybe at Washington University in St. Louis or Princeton – and starting his own architectural firm someday. (Oh yeah… he also works, right now, at Steven Ginn Architects where he creates models of homes the firm will build.)
No coasting and clearly operating on a whole ‘nother level – 16-year-old Frank is down to earth about it all.
“I think everyone has their own thing,” he says. “My thing is I really love learning about things that I love. I don’t like learning about things that I don’t like.”
Photo credit: Bill Sitzmann