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Posts Tagged ‘Singapore Fashion Designer’

Interview with Singapore fashion designer Teo Ying Hui (Demisemiquaver)

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With five collections under her label “Demisemiquaver” since spring/summer 2007, Teo Ying Hui continues to leave local fashion enthusiasts intrigued with the transcendental yet conceptual design inspirations from her latest “Black Hole” collection. Find out how the label was formulated, the process behind the development of each collection, and let yourself fall into the “Black Hole” in our exclusive interview with the designer herself. By Luth Seah Zhiqiang

   

 

 

TSG: How would you describe your style to someone who doesn’t know your work?

There is always a tone of subtlety and quietness in all my works. The style is feminine and under-stated, with a dash of playfulness.

 
 
TSG: What is the philosophy behind the “Black Hole” collection?
 

 

A black hole is an entity in space which allows nothing to escape beyond its surface. Thus this collection is not about seeking the new; it is about discarding what we can see on the surface and peeling away the layers. I want to express a sense of thoughtfulness through this collection. The shapes and silhouettes are understated, but they are accompanied by little details and layers that will be discovered when you wear the garments. I would imagine it is like a small conversation between the designer and the wearer.

 
 
TSG: From stripes for your initial collection, to plaid fabrics, and now dots in this collection, why did you choose to use them and how did you find them?
 

 

Material sourcing for me is always an on-going process. I’ll buy fabrics as and when they catch my eye. Therefore a lot of times, these fabrics become a point of reference for me when I start on a new collection. In all of my works so far, the fabrics were bought before I conceptualize each collection. As the collection develops, I introduce and add on more fabrics to complement the existing ones, so as to complete the story.

 
 
TSG: What do you most like about the age we live in?
 

 

That we have such easy access to the rest of the world.

 
 
TSG: Are you influenced or inspired by any other photographers or artists?
 

 

Recently I have been interested in Chinese propaganda posters of the Cultural Revolution found in the 1960s and 1970s. They are always accompanied by political slogans which reflect the political doctrines of that period. I am particularly drawn to the rich colours and the style of illustration in those posters. It is extremely ironic to see artwork depicting so much positivity and hope during a period when millions of people were suffering under the communist ruling.

 
 
TSG: Who do you have in mind when designing your clothes? Is there a specific girl or archetype you keep in mind?
 

 

She is someone who has her own definitive style. A free-spirited individual who is unwilling to settle for trends, and always on the search for a new alternative.

 
 
TSG: What are the difficulties faced by a designer today?
 

 

For me, the biggest challenge is trying to keep production costs down and prices reasonable for my customers.

 
 
TSG: What do you think of fashion designers collaborating with and having their work mass-produced for stores like H&M? Do you think that in the long run, it will affect the artistic integrity of the fashion industry as a whole?
 

 

I feel it is like making art affordable to the masses. And being affordable does not necessarily equate to a compromise in value or integrity. I see it as a win-win situation for both consumers and designers.

 
 
TSG: What is the precondition for the Singapore fashion design scene to grow?
 

 

More national pride and genuine interest in our local brands.

 
 
TSG: Besides platforms like Singapore Fashion Festival to create awareness, what kind of support do you feel home grown labels need?
 

 

I think we need a lot more direct funding for us to develop and market our labels. Unlike the local art groups, which have partnerships programmes, scholarships & yearly awards put in place by the National
Arts Council, the fashion design industry seems to be lacking in this aspect. For independent and young fashion designers who are starting out on their own, it would be great if the government could extend help by offering defunct buildings as work spaces at affordable rates. These spaces could also function as show and exhibition venues on a long term basis, or even encompass a retail section for designers to peddle their creations.

 
 
TSG: What’s next on your agenda?
 

 

A good holiday.

 
 
 
Stockist

Front Row – Raffles Hotel Arcade, #02-09 Tel: +65 6221 5501

 

Interview with Singapore veteran fashion designer Frederick Lee

January 30th, 2011 Test Shoot Gallery No comments

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The Team

 

Photography / Soon Tong
Fashion Direction / Ashburn Eng
Make-up / Mav Chang
Hair /  Annie Tay
Model / Nastya Kolganova & Vilma P (Upfront Models
Text / Luth Seah Zhiqiang
Milliner / Frederick Lee
 

 
Local veteran couturier Frederick Lee established himself as a household name by creating costume pieces for countless of notable local events; from the National Day Parade to the recent Youth Olympics Games. In addition being an extraordinary bridal and evening gown designer, not many know that he is an outstanding milliner as well! Test Shoot Gallery is honoured to present a series of one-of-a-kind millinery works that Frederick Lee produced specially for our shoot! Along with this amazing opportunity to admire Frederick’s work, we bring you an exclusive interview with the man as well. By Luth Seah Zhiqiang 

 

 

 

 

TSG: Give us a glimpse into your background and how did you get your start in the industry? Have you always been interested in it since childhood?

I believe that fashion design flows in my blood. As a kid, I made paper clothing for my paper dolls while my peers were playing outdoors. That also fed my love for fantasy and weaving stories with elements plucked from legends, myths and magic. But I truly began my design career in my early 20s as a self taught designer by creating and making garments for friends.  From then on, my confidence in designing grew along with my flair for the unusual. I also enjoy and am intrigued by the elegance which inspired me to look for perfection and glamour in old-hollywood. Think Dietrich and Crawford in Balenciaga, Schiaparelli to Garbo and Davis in Vionnet or Dior, their positivity exuberant art-decor flamboyance.

Personally, I find it beautiful when mundane materials maneuvered with the proficient and perfect skills of haute couture to become unequivocally beautiful garments. Even from a young age, I knew I wanted to be a couturier. 

 

 

TSG: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Rather than to worry about finding the next best-selling commercial designs, I prefer to create clothes that reflect different moments or dreams. I believe in individuality and diversity. I create and ignore the conventional, avoiding the rituals of seasonal demands. Wearing a Frederick Lee’s couture piece will bring together extravagance, glamour, wit and originality. I make clothes for the feminine, confident, and seductive woman who is enchanted by bold new ideas; A women who never has a dull moment in her life.

 

 

 

TSG: What, or who inspires you and influences your work the most? (e.g, the revolutionary cuts that highlights the femininity of the body in your work?)

There are many great fashion designers that have inspired and influenced my work. Top of my list is Spanish-born french couture designer, the late Cristobal Balenciaga, who was credited as the one who changed the silhouette of womenswear. Balenciaga was revered as a couturier of couturier who created astonishment with his collections and the mastery of his cuts. I respect that kind of integrity and his creative ideals.

 

 

 

TSG: What do you like most about the age we live in?

In the age we are living now, everything is possible. We’re constantly exposed to stories about people who become stars over night. So there’s a high possibility that everyone will be famous at least for 15 minutes in your lifetime.  However, because of that, many people lost their sense of reality. They lack personality and imagination in living their lives.

 

 

 

TSG:  What is the quality that makes your hats come to life?

The traditional characteristics of a good hat are wit and style. They are hard to achieve as wit can easily be reduced to vulgarity and attempts at style frequently result in meaningless extravagance. I realise that only by breaking the rules can highly imaginative, stylish hats be created. What gives my hats indefinable but immediately recognized spirit is “control”. 

No element is allow to overrun the others in the overall design. Shapes, trim, and lines are all given equal consideration in order to produce millinery that is deceptively unique and memorable.

 

 

 

TSG: Would you identify yourself as a conceptual or romantic designer?

The definition of conceptual design is subjective. I believe that conceptual designing comprises the creation of an idea, the exploration of the intentions of that idea, and the representation of it. Thus, I guess I’m a conceptual designer!

 

 

 

TSG: Besides designing for your own evening wear and bridal lines, you work as the director of costumier for large-scale events such as the Singapore National Day, Youth Olympic Games & many other theatre productions as well. How do you manage your working process to fit the time-line? Would you consider yourself as a workaholic?

We have all experienced that appalling sense of having far too much work to do but too little time to do it in.  We can choose to ignore this, and continue to work unreasonably long hours to stay on top of our workload. The alternative is to work more intelligently by focusing on the things that are more important. While this may seem obvious, in the hurly-burly of a new, fast-moving, high-pressure role, there’s often times where something can be overlooked easily. 

Prioritizing helps me to get the greatest return from the work I do, and keep my workload under control. Although the term “workaholic” usually has a negative connotation, it is sometimes used by people who wish to express their devotion to one’s career in positive terms an I’m one of them.

 

 

 

TSG: What are the difficulties faced being a designer today?

To become a fashion designer one must be willing to work hard and handle rejection. Rejections are unavoidable in this industry; it’s perseverance despite the rejection that is more crucial.Though the fashion industry can be exciting and alluring to some, it might be a different story behind the scenes. I like how TV shows like Project Runway gives a realistic depiction of the type of criticism you can expect. The main problems most designers have are  missing connection to their potential customer base ; missing exposure and a downward spiral of low volumes. If you don’t have enough customers, you won’t be able to sell and
produce enough pieces. Industry manufacturers will then be less interested in working with you and you might end up working with far more expensive tailorshops. High production costs lead to horrible selling prices and low customer conversion. As a result you receive more rejections from boutiques to stock your products.

 

 

 

TSG: What does the term beauty mean to you?

Beauty to me is feeling good about yourself, as well as enjoying the pleasure and joy that life gives you; A smile, a nice twinkle of ones eyes, a fragrant body, a nice clean outfit. Beauty is when you know you can go anywhere in life having the right clothes, or even the wrong clothes worn in the right way.

 

 

 

TSG: How important is it for a celebrity to wear one of your dresses, from a business point of view?

Although fashion designers can achieve celebrity status on their own, the designers often seek assistance from celebrities in other industries to help launch their labels.

As a fashion designer, the goal is to have the celebrity wear your pieces when they are captured on film and on the red carpet. Keep in mind that the images taken will often end up in a magazine, newspaper, or on television. Either way, this will help publicize the designers brand. In addition to having movie stars and pro athletes wear designer fashion on a daily basis, it is equally or more important to have glamorous celebrities appear in your designs at fashion week events. To be a successful designer, you can not simply put on a fabulous cat walk display of beautiful models and stylish accessories. It is very important to have the room full of photographers, fashion editors and celebrities.

 

 

 

TSG: What has been your best career or fashion moment so far?

One of my fashion moments will have to be able to create the costumes for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games Singapore 2010. I was challenged and inspired to create new costumes for the international event that inspires global unity and national pride; an event that celebrates youth in sports, as well as marking a new chapter in Olympic sporting history.

I’m still waiting for that fashion moment because everyday is still a learning experience. In fact, I believe my best work will be when im 60!

 

 

 

TSG: Do you think haute couture will keep on existing in future?

Today, the haute couture is neither haughty nor supernatuated, it is an aesthetic essay in which cherished and extraordinary skills are practiced. It remains a discipline of ultimate imagination, unaccountable to cost, with the paradox of being the fashion most cognizant of its ideal clients. It is a dream for quality in an era of industry and its succession.

I still strongly feels that Couture persists in providing us with a paragon of the most beautiful clothing that can be envisioned and made in any time.

 

 

 

TSG: What is your idea of elegance in a woman? 

A seductive, confident, glamourous and feminine women. Fashionable, yet not trendy. She understands what kinds of clothes suits her body.

 

 

TSG: Besides platforms like Singapore Fashion Festival to create awareness, what kind of support do you feel home grown labels need?

In the words of Vivienne Westwood, “Fashion is very important, It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well”.

Indeed, the undercurrents of Westwood’s  philosophy holds true for Singapore as well. The Singapore Fashion Scene has not just arrived ; it has arrived unbelievably well in the past few  years. The Singapore Fashion Week (SFW) and Singapore Fashion Festival (SFF) not only have launched many young and budding designers, they are also the most supportive and friendly platform that enable designers to have complete exposure to the media, domestic and international buyers.

Both SFW and SFF – with active  participation from fashion designers, fashion houses, jeweler, models and sponsors – have generated a lot of interest and optimism in the local fashion industry. With the platform getting bigger and better, no one’s complaining.

  

  

Frederick Lee  is located at No.2 Jalan Klapa, Singapore 193314 Tel: +65 6323 4372

No more Miss Nice…

September 22nd, 2010 Test Shoot Gallery 5 comments

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I am tired of saving the day.
This earth worth fixing for?
More expectations comes with his honour,
How much more do I carry with humanity’s self centredness?
No more cheers, no more loving,
As I allow myself to crash and burn.
Shaking with excitement,
numbed and speechless.
I let myself go,
no more control, no more help.
I am done saving the day,
I am done being your super hero.

The Team

Photography / May Lin Le Goff
Fashion Direction / Ashburn Eng
Hair & Make-up / Mav Chang
Model / Egzona Lulaj and  Maria Z (Upfront Models
Text / Luth Seah Zhiqiang
Styling Assistance / Shanna Matthew
Designers / Angelyn Yii, Benjamin Tsu Zhong Hong, Li Sang, Lucia Jacky, Nelly Liu, Stephanie Ng Yue Fen, Vicole Lang.

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

August 26th, 2010 Test Shoot Gallery 1 comment

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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 Test Shoot Gallery No comments

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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

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