There are cosigns, and then there are cosigns — and Ya Jun Lin earned the latter Sunday (Aug. 28) thanks to an artist you just might have heard of. During the beginning of her third performance on Sunday’s 2016 VMAs, Rihanna wore an oversized black down jacket with adjustable wool ribbon drawstrings designed by New York-based up and coming designer Ya Jun Lin.
Lin born in Nanjing, China, grew up in Vancouver and Los Angeles and recently graduated from the Fashion BFA program at The New School’s Parsons School of Design. She has already been featured on Vogue.com as one of the two winners of the 5th annual installment of the Parsons x Kering Empowering Imagination design competition this past May, which featured judges including CFDA President and CEO Steven Kolb, Altuzarra Founder and Creative Director Joseph Altuzarra, Saks Fifth Avenue’s SVP Fashion Director Roopal Patel, and Vogue Runway Director Nicole Phelps. Based on her onstage VMAs look, one of the judges — Rihanna’s long-term stylist, Mel Ottenberg — clearly liked what he saw.
Part of Lin’s prize was to have her thesis collection displayed exclusively in Saks Fifth Avenue’s iconic windows, where Ottenberg’s assistant, Malaika Crawford, spotted the jacket that wound up making its primetime debut onstage Sunday night. But Lin wasn’t sure that RiRi would actually wear the jacket, especially given the hot weather. “I had to watch [the video clip] 30 times to make sure it was my really my jacket,” Lin said in an exclusive interview with Billboard. “I was really happy she wore it in this weather!”
On how she felt to have Rihanna wear one of her garments, Lin said, “Rihanna was always my muse. I remember drawing when I was coming up with my thesis collection. I was always listening to her. She was who I pictured wearing it. It was a big honor.”