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Interview with Singapore fashion designer Ashburn Eng (young&restless)

April 8th, 2011 Comments off

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The Team

Photography / Soon Tong
Designer & Creative Direction / Ashburn Eng
Graphic Artist / Yong Yi ( www.yongyidesign.com )
Make-up and Hair / Chris Ruth (MUSE b’ART)
Model  / Anastasia Kolganova ( Upfront Models )


 

For young&restless’ Spring/Summer 2011 collection, Ashburn Eng’s inspiration came about as he looked through the eyes of a Flying Squirrel moving through the route of constant escapism and gliding through the air of the cityscape. Follow his vision of the small creature with our exclusive Test Shoot Gallery interview!
By Luth Seah Zhiqiang

 

 

 

 

 

TSG: What does escapism mean to you?

To own a pair of wings which takes you wherever you want to go.


 

TSG: How do you describe your aesthetics that you apply to your designs?

I have always been intrigued by the amount of discomfort dedicated followers of fashion are willing to put up with. From tight corset dresses to painfully heighted heels, suffering in style remains in fashion. I go through a lot of thought processes and strongly believe in applying my core strengths to my designs and at the same time, I feel that the wearer should also play a vital role of putting the looks together.


 

TSG: Any individual/celebrity/socialite in your mind that will suit “The Flying Squirrel” collection perfectly?

Locally, it will have to be Zhou Ying and Rebecca Lim. Internationally, I would think of Angela Zhang, Li Bing Bing and Zhou Xun. 


 

TSG: Despite the construction (based on basic shapes) of the pieces in the collection, you were able to visualise the draping results when worn on the body even during the initial stage of the production. Is “visualizing the result” a recurring skill that you equip yourself with every time you style/design/creative direct in your works?  How well Did it help you?

It definitely makes the production process (e.g. drafting pattern and sewing up the samples) much easier if you clearly understand the subject you are working on dimensionally. It also helps to avoid unnecessary wastage of materials, money and time. 


 

TSG:  Does freedom always mean happiness?

Yes and No. Being chained and bonded can mean pleasure to some people as well.


 

TSG: Does timeless always mean banality?

Something so beautiful, important, so revolutionary, so life changing, so inspirational, so true, so meaningful that it transcends the confinement of time.


 

TSG: Does trendy always mean unoriginality?

There is always a chance that seasonal musing can become timeless in the future.


 

TSG: Does fashion-forward always mean excitement?

Fashion-forward is more like guilty pleasure.


 

TSG: Has empowering the wearer of your works an all-time goal for you? Why?

Power dressing is not always necessary. I like the idea of the wearer being able to fantasise themselves on escapism, like a non-earth bound creature with a desire to escape from reality.


 

TSG: If not in fashion, where will you most probably be now?

I would have been an innovater. Like fashion, it provides an outlet for this endless pursuit of unconventionality.


 


 

Stockists  

Blackmarket  No.2  –  Orchard Central, #02-10, Singapore 238896  Tel:  +65 6296 8512
EGG3  –  The Cathay, #01-04, Singapore 229233 Tel: +65 6733 0889
Hide&Seek   –  176 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068264 Tel: +65 6222 2825
M CULTURE  –  The Heeren, #04-40, Singapore 238855 Tel: +65 6887 3365

Season’s Greetings from Test Shoot Gallery

December 22nd, 2010 Comments off

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It might be a year full of dismal news on environmental issues, political unrest and worldwide misfortunes. It is time to finish it off with a well-deserved Christmas break and anticipate only the very best for the coming year. Test Shoot Gallery would like to wish all our readers and supporters a joyous Christmas and a fabulous New Year!

The Team

Photography / Soon Tong
Fashion Direction / Ashburn Eng
Hair & Make-up / Mav Chang
Model / Nastya S (Upfront Models
Text / Luth Seah Zhiqiang
Outfits By / Mae Pang

Perhaps we all knew, maybe we just playing mute.
Don’t look at me awaiting for any ideas on what to do.
My rays of sparkles set to confuse,
To light up with fun so I can share with you.
Because we are letting ourselves go this festive period,
Set free, carefree and nothing to lose.

young&restless “RITUAL” Autumn Winter 2010 Campaign by Test Shoot Gallery

August 26th, 2010 Comments off

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The Team
Photography / May Lin Le Goff
Designer & Creative Direction / Ashburn Eng
Graphic Artist / Yong Yi ( www.yongyidesign.com )
Make-up and Hair / Larry Yeo using Cle De Peau Beaute and Redken
Model  / Egzona Lulaj ( Upfront Models )
Styling Assistance / Shanna Matthew  

 
 
 
 
 
 
The Interview 

TSG is excited and very proud to announce the launch of the new label young&restless, a line designed by our TSG founder, Ashburn Eng, in collaboration with Singaporean label max.tan. Hear it from the man himself about the setting up of the label, crossing over to design and the inspiration behind the first collection titled “Ritual” in our exclusive TSG interview. By Luth Seah Zhiqiang

 

 

 
TSG: Can you tell us how you created your Young&Restless label?  

After a successful ad campaign collaboration, Ashburn Eng and Max Tan formed a friendship that lead both the fashion stylist and fashion designer respectively to more creative partnerships. Often, the pair would find themselves nodding their heads in agreement with each other’s opinions and comments on most topics; fashion related or not. Hence, with no surprises, aesthetically, the pair are very much in-sync. Therefore, “Young&Restless” is launched.

 

 

TSG: Where does the label’s name originate from? 

Not to be taken literally to refer to hyperactive youth, “Young&Restless” simply caters to women who view themselves as carefree, and not bounded by the “reservations” that comes with age. It is for the free-spirited, for the confident, and for the unpretentious. They are not bothered about the numbers of age, they are forever young. They will not be tied down; they are always on the move.

 

 

TSG: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I like things to be instinctive, random and pure. I like the idea of  juxtaposing masculine tailoring with the softness that I put in the fabric so there is a duality between sensuality and strength. I am not particularly frilly and I like to avoid things that are too embellished. Definitely appreciate a certain hardness and drama.  A firm believer in non-traditional pattern-making and I avoid superfluous seaming and construction in my apparels; seams should follow a woman’s body and thereby accentuate it. Not merely using the amount of fabric and cut it the easiest and most cost effective way like in a mass market factory.

 

 

TSG: What kind of person wears your designs?

A modern woman who is sophisticated yet bold enough to be day tripper and desires to be different.

 

 

TSG: What made you decide to get into fashion design? Have you always been interested in it?

I always have great interest in design, photography and fashion. The accumulative years of styling and consultation experiences working with magazine, commercial clients, design graduates and fashion designers have shaped the way I understand how publications, fashion and retail businesses work. Therefore I feel it is a natural progression for me to craft something on my own.

 

 

TSG: Your debut collection has a somewhat occult theme behind it. What’s the inspiration?

I wanted to work with the popular subject of the occult. A past exhibition that I came across entitled “Worship the light, Worship the dark”, instigate an explicit relationship between spiritual forces and something potentially sinister. The idea of worshipping the light has been perverted into something more evil. Certain more hedonistic experiences occur in the dark as well. It is a free space to experiment with little conscious morale restraint. For me, it is not the gothic that intrigues but the darker side of imagination, rather the culture of fear and self limitation that exists in some urban contexts today.

 

 

TSG: Have you ever experienced the supernatural?

I had a very scary experience once, that even till today I am still confused about what actually happened. My friend and I were walking in around in Chinatown early one morning after a late supper. In the corner of my eye, I saw this old man with slivery hair and shabby torned clothes. I first thought he was a hobo, but then I realised that his eyes were hollowed out.

I did not feel that something was amiss as I presumed the dim lighting was playing tricks on my eyes. But I turned to my friend and asked if he saw the same thing. He nodded in agreement. We both turn back for a second look of the old man but he had disappeared. At that point, we walked as fast as our legs could carry us.

 

 

TSG: What is the quality that brings your clothing line to life?

I create my clothes as an expression of my daydreams and use the clothes to evoke emotions from my clients. Sometimes, I would describe my job as selling a dream to my clients. I also enjoy bringing in the influence of the occult, fetishes and fantasies into my clothes, to deliver a different state of mind. I hope to impart this to the young&restless’s wearer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stockist

MAX.TAN at Parco Marina Bay - 9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk, Parco next NEXT section, Level 2

Links

www.young-and-restless.com (coming your way) 

 

young&restless “RITUAL” Autumn/Winter 2010 campaign & interview by TSG coming your way..

August 23rd, 2010 Comments off

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The Team

Photography / May Lin Le Goff
Designer & Creative Direction / Ashburn Eng
Graphic Artist / Yong Yi ( www.yongyidesign.com )
Make-up and Hair / Larry Yeo
Model  / Egzona Lulaj ( Upfront Models )
Styling Assistance / Shanna Matthew

Max.Tan “AGAINST” Autumn Winter 2010 Campaign by Test Shoot Gallery

July 19th, 2010 Comments off








 
 
 
The Team
Photography / May Lin Le Goff
Creative & Fashion Direction / Ashburn Eng
Fashion Designer / Max.Tan by Max Tan
Make-up / Mav Chang
Hair / Annie Tay
Model & Text / Luth Seah Zhiqiang
Styling Assistance / Shanna Matthew

 

 

The Interview

Max Tan has returned in new collaboration with Test Shoot Gallery for his Autumn/Winter 2010 collection titled “Against”. This collection follows the success of the first ad campaign for his Spring/Summer S2010 “Pressed” collection, also with Test Shoot Gallery.  Featuring a darker colour palette and a looser draping silhouette, the emerging designer challenges us with the question of what’s right (or wrong) in fashion. Hear about the designer’s opinion on conventional society, the “austere” emotion in his pieces, as well as all the must-knows about the designer behind this ever-growing eponymous label in our second exclusive Test Shoot Gallery interview. By Luth Seah Zhiqiang

 

 

 

 

 

TSG: The most of the world we live in has nothing to do with fashion nor finds interest in it. Whom do you work for and target? What does your work reflect?

I work purely for my own vision and by asking rhetorical questions. Through this rhetoric, I challenge how I can answer with my collection in a different manner. In that way, I hope to change the stereotypical image that the mainstream relates to the fashion industry, and I hope through that, it engages people to relate more to fashion, that there is more than what is presented to them on a commercial platform.

 

 

TSG: Can you tell us a bit about the starting point of the A/W collection? Technically, what are the differences between this season compared to your past collection?

The starting point of each max.tan collection is always either a question, or a challenge. It challenges the way we perceive objects, subjects or sometimes just purely a notion. S/S 2010 Pressed challenged the different ways I could re-imagine a white shirt. A/W 2010-11 challenges the right and wrong ways of traditional drafting. What is deemed right or wrong? Can the wrong be made to look right? If so, is the end result still regarded as a mistake?

 

 

TSG: In provoking the notion of “traditional methods of pattern making”, did you come across any interesting or unexpected interpretations of your collection by different people?

It is definitely an interesting collection to work on. Some have looked at my garments and have had difficulties in identifying the conflicting  elements used. For instance a particular piece from the collection is a jumpsuit which can be worn as a dress- it seems right when worn as a jumpsuit, what they do not realise is that the dress can be created off the jumpsuit from a different perspective. Worn as a dress, the jumpsuit hangs off it when looked at straight on.  Which is right then? Ultimately, this collection serves to send a message that we no longer have to care about what is right or wrong. Would you rather be right, or free?
 

 

TSG: Your collection seems to lean strongly towards the austere? Why do you think austerity is often dark and surreal with the suggestion of tragedy and death?

In death, everything that one acquires during his lifetime is proven to be transient. Everything is once again, blank. Austerity is simple, blank and stripped of details. That is also the reason why the collection vaguely alludes to funeral clothing.
 

 

TSG: What materials have you worked with in this collection to create such textural and protective shapes?

I worked with a crepe for this particular collection. It was a popular fabric for power suits during the ’80s. Camouflaged by the sharp lines of the suits, we have truly neglected how beautiful it is when the fabric is allowed to fall freely.

 

 

TSG: You mostly use dark and monochrome colours – is that why you don’t believe in seasons? What was the inspiration behind the colours?

A main area of interest in my creations are silhouettes. I believe monochromatic colours do not distract one’s eye from how differently or interesting my silhouettes are.

 

 

TSG: What are your opinions about life in conventional society?

At times, I do feel quite alone. It is hard to find someone whom I can relate to, even harder to have someone give constructive comments because there is hardly anyone I know that can understand what I am doing.  Then again, I am thankful for the few who understand and constantly critique my works so that I can improve.

 

 

TSG: Can you tell us a bit about your environment while growing up?

I grew up in a typically Singaporean environment. As a boy, I was not expected to do fashion despite the influence of my seamstress mother. Everyone seemed too caught up in the pursuit of the correct path that I was to
take on. It came to a point that I realised I needed to start living my own life and make my own choices. My teenage years were confusing with regards to my sexual orientation and career. I was considered unorthodox in the grownups’ eyes. It wasn’t a particularly enjoyable growing up experience, but it has contributed to who I have become.

 

 

TSG: If not for fashion, what would you be doing now and why?

I would have been a musician. Like fashion, it provides an escape from this endless pursuit of normality.

 

 

TSG: What is the worst question you have ever been asked?

Why I make clothes that do not fit. I see my creations as a cocoon, a safe armor that shields one from the stereotypical world. I disagree that my clothes are oversized, but in certain areas, it is made to fit and sit well on the wearer. I think creating this space between the wearer’s body and the garment is far more challenging than making clothes that just pieces together like a flat jigsaw puzzle. I prefer it to look at clothes in a 3D way, like a sculpture, rather than a painting.

 

 

TSG: How do you pick your materials, and what goes into your decisions when putting them together?

With an idea of the silhouette that I have in mind for the collection, I proceed to choosing the right fabrics which will in turn give me the desired results. It does take some experimentation with sample yardages for certain complex designs. I have do have a preference towards either fabrics in which are easy to sculpt, or fabrics with enough weight to fall nicely. The wearer’s comfort is also another important deciding factor. Although I
like the relation between fashion and art, fashion is however not entirely art.

 

 

TSG: How did fashion appeal to you to become a designer?

Garments allow one to take on an identity; changing our identities when we put on a different outfit. I think I am particularly drawn to fashion because, to a certain extent, I am an escapist. Clothes serve as an escape from who I need to become or who I am.

 

 

TSG: What does the term ‘beauty’ mean to you?

Beauty to me is fragile and transient but a non-stop chase to the end of the rainbow.

 

 

TSG: Can you tell us about your design process?

I start each collection with a challenge. I start draping and sketching at the same time. As I work with readily available monochromatic colours, I source only when I have finalised my designs. However during the design process, the properties of the ideal fabric are taken into consideration when developing the collection.

 

 

TSG: Best compliment ever?

It would have to be ranked together with the big players (Prada, Alexander Mcqueen, Valentino etc) in the summary of Spring/Summer 2010 women’s wear campaigns on the trend forecasting and reporting website, Stylesight.com. It was an extremely captivating campaign envisioned by Test Shoot Gallery and it proved so successful that it caught the eyes of the analysts behind a trend forecasting service.

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