Meet the Up-and-Coming Designer Worn by Rihanna at the 2016 VMAs

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RiRi is known for supporting rising design stars, and she continued to do so at Sunday's awards show.

There are co-signs, and then there are co-signs — and Ya Jun Lin earned the latter on Sunday, thanks to an artist you just might have heard of. During the beginning of her third performance at the 2016 MTV 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 B.F.A. program at Parsons School of Design. She already has been featured on as one of the two winners of the fifth 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 senior vp and fashion director Roopal Patel and Vogue Runway director Nicole Phelps. Based on the singer's onstage VMAs look, one of the other judges — Rihanna’s long-term stylist, Mel Ottenberg — clearly liked what he saw.


A photo posted by Lin Ya Jun Melody (@lyj_____) on

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 really my jacket," Lin said in an exclusive interview with Billboard. "I was really happy she wore it in this weather!"

On how it 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."


A photo posted by Lin Ya Jun Melody (@lyj_____) on

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