Style

Two For The Road: Yan Yan Chan and Nathan Jolliffe on denim

Above: Yan Yan wears pocket t-shirt and zip cuff denim jacket. Nathan wears pullover hooded knit.

Meet Yan Yan Chan, the Chinese-Australian digital creative with an enviable sense of style who has a knack for reimagining fashion’s classics, often with art as inspiration. Here, with her partner, model Nathan Jolliffe, Yan Yan shares her his-and-hers take on denim.

Photography by Yan Yan Chan and Nathan Jolliffe. Interview by Natasha Inchley.


Yan Yan, we love your chic way of dressing. Tell us about your style, and how you make a look your own:

“I’m trying really hard this season for the “less is more” approach, investing in good quality pieces and wearing those on rotation, styled differently for different occasions. Quality over quantity – it’s easy to accumulate stuff. So cull, and keep the pieces you know you’ll wear, always. I also think when you have less to work with, the more creative you become. I dress for comfort and anything that makes me feel confident. I don’t like buying for trends, I like dressing for my body shape — once you work out what works best for your silhouette, you can incorporate this into every season and every occasion. I have skinny legs, so my go-to silhouette is a high waist pant, wider leg at the bottom, or a cropped flare. I love sneakers, but I love a good above-the-ankle boot, styled with an A-line skirt — that’s my hustle-in-the-day and disco-by-night look.”

Above: Yan Yan wears pocket t-shirt, zip cuff denim jacket and zip hem jegging. Nathan wears longline t-shirt and standard rich raw jean.

What ignited your love of fashion and design?

“I was never good at studying, so I was always looking for another outlet. From the moment I started high school, I was constantly very visually stimulated. I went to art school every Thursday afternoon, and every other afternoon I was dancing. I picked up photography and film as an elective in Year 10, and ever since then I was obsessed with the arts, film and fashion worlds. I think it was something that felt so unattainable back then, and so far away, maybe that was my initial attraction to the creative world: it felt very dreamlike and unreal. I was also shaped by the films I watched and all the artists we learned about in school, so fashion and design just kind of entered my life naturally, and I was very hungry and very fascinated by it all.”

Above top left to bottom right: Yan Yan wears pocket t-shirt, zip cuff denim jacket and zip hem jegging. Yan Yan wears pocket t-shirt, zip cuff denim jacket and zip hem jegging, Nathan wears longline t-shirt and standard rich raw jean. Nathan wears longline t-shirt and standard rich raw jean. Yan Yan wears woolmark blend silk roll neck knit and authentic step hem jean.

Do you consider fashion to be art?

“The fashion and art world co-exist together. I also think with the current digital shift of everything, that fashion relies a little more on art — people are wanting to find expression outside of what just looks good, and what will make money, it’s more about the substance, and what things actually stand for. It’s definitely a form of art in the way it shapes and influences pop culture, music, film and even the way we think.”

Above: Nathan wears puffer bomber jacket, longline t-shirt and standard rich raw jean.

You share a wonderful creative partnership with Nathan – there’s a chic balance between your styles. Can you describe the similarities in your aesthetics and do you ever borrow from Nathan's wardrobe?

“Nathan and I have always been drawn to similar things, and we both fuel each other personally and creatively. There’s been so many funny moments where I’ll meet him out for dinner, and we’re both rocking the blazer, all black look or khaki and white. He grew up on the Gold Coast, so he has that more relaxed influence from the coast, whereas growing up in Sydney I was always about dressing on the masculine and tailored side. So as weird as it sounds, he’s actually influenced me to be more feminine and youthful, and I’m definitely enjoying it. He’s got an epic collection of men’s shirts, that I am constantly rummaging through — and I have a pretty big collection of eyewear that is slowly becoming ‘ours’.”

Above: Yan Yan wears woolmark blend silk roll neck knit and authentic step hem jean.

Please share a styling tip from the denim Country Road pieces that you selected:

“Denim for me is comfort, dressed up or down. I’m all about being able to wear an outfit to work, and without going home, being able to wear it out to dinner or a vino. I never leave the house without perfume and a neck scarf.”

What is your greatest passion, what inspires you right now?

“Travelling! I’m heading to Europe with a big group of my friends for the summer and I’m on a high right now just planning and researching all the cities we’re heading to. I get easily excited and inspired by visuals, so a big thing for me is to constantly find new visuals to vibe off – and a good conversation.”

Above: Yan Yan wears pocket t-shirt, zip cuff denim jacket and zip hem jegging. Nathan wears longline t-shirt and standard rich raw jean.