A stroll down the streets of Singapore, what change you notice besides the renewing skyline? Evidently obvious is how much more adventurous the fashion enthusiasts are in their style choices. Layering are embraced and silhouettes are experimented. From the sleek to the draped, from the minimalist to the flamboyant, a whole week with these stylish strangers is anything but boring! Label Cloak & Dagger caters to the stylish gentlemen of our city. Read more on how designer JR Chan illustrates her idea of “collapse of stereotypes”, her design aesthetics, and all things you need to know for the debut collection of Cloak & Dagger in our exclusive interview! By Luth Seah Zhiqiang
TSG: Where does the label’s name come from?
Cloak&Dagger takes the image off its sister label, Hide&Seek.
TSG: Cloak&Dagger hints at mystery or espionage, while Hide&Seek suggest good things well-hidden and tucked away in places that are really difficult to find.
A play on the words of the co-relation of the sister labels.
TSG: Can you tell us your starting point and inspirations for your debut collection?
My debut collection pays homage to traditional men’s wear. It is a collection that questions fixed notions of masculinity, giving rise to the idea of a “slip” that adds new possibilities to clothing for men, and provides an alternative line for women. I played with silhouettes that can be worn multiple ways, making it more experimental for women as well.
TSG: Cloak&Dagger’s unchanging theme is the “collapse of stereotypes.” We want to offer something different, something that incoporates Asian designs. Who are you making fashion for?
For the cosmopolitan career woman who wears both international and local designers when they travel.
TSG: How would you describe your style to someone who doesn’t know your work?
I like structured and smart tailoring embodied with unconventional and unexpected details.
The label is also known for its Asian cut for men.
TSG: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I place priority on the balance of body proportions and the color scheme.. I simplify as much as possible, and explore the different placements of the details. I aim for a playful yet balanced aesthetic.
TSG: Let us talk about silhouettes. You work with a lot of non-Western styles, like voluminous silhouette, cowl-neck shirts and harem pants, which are notoriously difficult to get men into. What’s the thinking behind that?
I am inspired by the streets of Daikanyama in Japan where people put in effort in what they wear and are all distinctively different from one another in their dressing style. I also love the way people dress in Berlin! They don’t overdress but manage to look very smart and chic. The collection’s silhouettes is a fusion of the east and the west. I want to take daily items from a men’s wardrobe and break down their traditional look, meanwhile making sure that they can still be put together in a different way. It is about providing an alternative to individual style.
TSG: What inspires you and influences your work?
People. Someone once said that “Fashion is all about lifestyle”. I feel that it is true. The weather, technology, lust, moods, the way we spend time and what the world is dressing for.
TSG: What do you most like and dislike about the age we live in?
I like the fact that we are more experimental with fashion, but I have issues with global warming since the weather has gone mad.
TSG: Your designs won you a sort of local celebrity fanbase that includes Andi Chen Bang Jun, Christopher Lee, Dawn Yeoh, Jun, Jeanette Aw, Joi Chua, JJ Lin Jun Jie, Lawrence Wong, and Nat Ho, how do you feel about it?
I am thankful for their support. They are amazingly nice and humble people. It motivates me to work harder when a celebrity choses to wear a local label over an international label for events.
TSG: Besides platforms like Singapore Fashion Festival to create awareness,what kind of support do you feel home grown labels need?
Support from a good mentor who is a veteran in this industry. We need to be humble all the time and learn, not only from our seniors but also from our juniors. When we stop listening, we stop growing.
TSG: What are your coming plans for Cloak&Dagger?
Cloak&Dagger is ready to expand. We intend to bring the label to more conceptual and retail spaces.
I want to establish the business in Singapore in the coming year before moving overseas.
Blackmarket 19 Jalan Pisang, Singapore 199084 Tel: +65 6296 8512
Hide&Seek 176 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068264 Tel: +65 6222 2825