Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Village Press Day - AW '2015 Menswear

A few weeks ago, Sol gave me his invitation for Fashion Press Day in London. If you're not familiar with how the commercial side of fashion works (I had no idea actually), press day in a nutshell is a large exhibition in some giant studio that occurs right after the runway show. It's where editors, stylists, journos and stockists get a chance to know more about the design aesthetics, price range and the designer. Lookbooks of every collection are also available. You get guided around every collection and each piece of garment, explained in detail to you of it's construction and idea. This served as a free masterclass on menswear for me to be honest. 

It's really fascinating because if you're relatively new to fashion as an industry, you've probably only thought designers showcased their designs in runways and stores. When in truth, these exhibitions and open press days are just as crucial for any designers who want to break into the market.

All this seriousness aside, I arrived at Old Street - probably the youngest looking creature in the building and I awkwardly went to check in as "Sol" in the registration. I will admit the food lounge and free ice-cream was the first thing that had caught my attention but then I was brought through rooms of designer racks and suddenly ice-cream didn't seem to matter anymore. Deep note; there are greater joys in life than ice-cream and I found it in designs. It wasn't overwhelming like fashion shows, it was very cool and unhurried. So here is the breakdown on some menswear I knit picked from Village Press Day - Autumn/Winter 2015.

Fashion Press Day - Menswear
MAJESTIC ATHLETIC

I went to the iconic first because those collections had consistent designs, the quintessentials like varsities, bombers, materials of PU leather and nylon. This typically included SUPRA, Majestic Athletic, Brooks etc. The Autumn/Winter season for their heavyweight jackets had a twist though, patchwork patterns along the arms which really allows the jacket to have a less streamlined concept - which is how people usually associate them. Although some people prefer them empty in order to get their own personalised patches, I still think it was a fancy, symmetrical tweak to their original design.

Fashion Press Day - Menswear
LOU DALTON

Next up, were the contemporary designers - my favourite kind. A pink thunderbirds sweater from Lou Dalton says it all for me. She really knows how to carry forward male tailoring with classical cuts but modern prints. From online streaming, most of Lou's work can be seen very culture influenced, youthful but also always has that preppy finish to it's tailoring. I think, how in just a single collection, she puts together this thunderbird comic sweater with a classic black trench style- really does bring out that aspect. Thunderbirds are go?!

Fashion Press Day - Menswear
Fashion Press Day - Menswear
Fashion Press Day - Menswear
MATTHEW MILLER 

The first thing that pops into my mind, whenever I come across a Miller design is COMPLEXITY, COMPLEXITY and COMPLEXITY. I remember when I got a hold of their previous collection, Matthew Miller had sent a long, luxurious, navy vest from their Untitled Mixed Media Collection. A vest right? How much complexity can a vest actually board on? Well, you tell me because when you're presented with a slip on, v-neck, pleated, layered, two different hemlines - in one single "simple" vest, you start to question the normality of a vest. Despite simplicity being conveyed in the designs, it's really well.....complex. From afar, the rack looks like a contemporary minimal assortment. Closer look, the range of materials used (hence: mixed media) on even basic garments like a biker jacket brings out the structure that makes Matthew Miller so distinctive. On a completely different note, check out this LookBook I made a few months ago featuring some Miller Designs, modelled by Mu'izz from WearriorInstinct

Fashion Press Day - Menswear
Fashion Press Day - Menswear
Fashion Press Day - Menswear
PETER JENSEN x PEANUTS

Ever since I stumbled upon Peter Jensen's menswear, I've had the vision that if I was born a boy - I would dress myself from head to toe in Peter Jensen's designs. I'm a lover of colour and print, I think they bring out a humorous side of fashion we forget nowadays because everyone prefers streamlined content and monochromatic styles. His Peanuts collaboration emphasised on Snoopy and Charlie Brown, again nodding towards the designer's quirky comedic style.  It's clever and gives a charismatic side to the link between personality and the clothes you wear. Peter being Danish includes that in his designs but with a balance of a London subculture.

Fashion Press Day - Menswear
Fashion Press Day - Menswear
KIT NEALE

Kit Neale leans more towards an abstract approach for me, even though many label him as a contemporary designer (I do too). The use of print and a dynamic colour scheme are the foundations of his designs. It's modern, cultural and also youthful - which really strikes me because today's generation of fashion subcultures are so eager to follow through the minimalistic (again, monochromatic or all white) drift in style. Kit Neale challenges that but is still able to represent his designs with the younger crowd and appeal to them with this exciting and vibrant characteristic. 

We need more colour in this world but we're too into personalisation and having an identity in our clothes that we tend to just stick with a comfortable scheme. I will stop here and continue onto womenswear on another post before I turn too philosophical, as I often do with fashion.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Bloggers Fashion Week 2015

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I've mentioned the negative connotations on bloggers countless of times but people really do look down on you when you're at a fashion event, and your greatest response to "what do you do?" is "fashion blogging". If there was a hierarchy in the fashion world, bloggers would most probably be positioned in the lowest chain. So it is not a surprise when a blogger-based event is equally met with the same disapproval. However, none of this stopped me from attending Bloggers Fashion Week, an event hosted by Bloggers Love. Basically, Bloggers Fashion Week is a two day event that helps promote local and international brands through exposure to bloggers as well as a hub for bloggers to get to know each other. I didn't see any loss in going; it was free and it felt like a breath of fresh air to go to an invitation-less fashion event which for once - was very welcoming towards bloggers. 

And I was right. It was worth the endless google map searches and walking through a dodgy street in London asking directions towards 4th Floor Studios. Mind you, this place was dead scary and I, with my bright green coat, looked like a telytubby in the midst of a setting for Nightmare on Elm Street. That was on the outside though, one step into the place and it was quite the unexpected. Stalls of fashion brands lined up, bloggers buzzing from every angle, a mini catwalk prepared, a snack bar, DJ in full action and an adorably fat cat present too. Yes, it was like stepping into freaking Narnia guys.

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I'm wearing a Get Clobbered glitter collar with pearls.

Get Clobbered was one couture accessories brand that stood out to me the most. This literally is the perfect brand for "statement" accessories, because these pieces alone with even the most basic potato sack on you, would create conversations. White tee and just jeans on? Throw in a Get Clobbered collar and it would almost make me look like I actually know what i'm talking about when I yap on about fashion on this blog. Get Clobbered says to value craftsmanship, which I can see through their intricate patchwork and design. I guess this is why they stood out at BLFW, the idea of appreciating artistic methods of producing accessories bring out an authentic individual style. The fact that all of this was made out of recycled materials was just a bonus to their designs - hello, ethical fashion and uniqueness?

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Fruit dress designed by First Fruits. Interesting side note: this dress was also featured in London Fashion Week.
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The past few weeks, I've been eyeing all things crochet thanks to a recent asos magazine editorial. I've been contemplating on this dress to wear with a pointy collared white blouse. So stumbling across Eva Cammarata was like hitting the jackpot. The mix of textiles, notably crochet knitwear skirts and a very 70's colour scheme is so underrated. Just like the previous brand, Eva Cammarata practices an environmental friendly and sustainable manufacturing process.IMG_4658

Mink&Stone based on custom made jewellery, exhibiting a very bohemian style. Again, also very underrated.

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DJ Fabienne with her cartoon patterned two piece. 


Ending this post with a few of the free stuff I got from the beauty bar at BLFW. Benefit cosmetics, LipGlam, Umberto Giannini and Exuviance products. 

The experience really took me by surprise. Despite the space being relatively small compared to usual fashion venues, it didn't really bother me as it provided an excuse to chat up with bloggers while waiting for a turn around booths. The atmosphere of enthusiastic bloggers was so different and exhilarating at the same time and I can assure you, I'll be back for the fourth season of Bloggers Fashion Week.

Monday, 30 March 2015

KEEPERS - Singapore Designer Collective

Prior to discovering the world of vintage stores and quirky boutiques, I only went about purchasing clothes from the usual high street retail stores. Even after I found them, I still continued buying clothes from my usual comfort zone. I get all my pants and knitwear from Zara because from previous experience that’s where I can get the best-cut pants and warmest knitwear. I’ll keep buying fleece-lined tights from Primark because they’re cheap and Zoella has high regards for them. Love American Apparel tennis skirts! Turtlenecks from Uniqlo? H&M leggings? Clearly, the contents of my wardrobe can be satisfied from just visiting these retail stores.

But in all honesty, looking from a fashion enthusiasts’ perspective – I do feel the need to regard local designers or any new designer that has just started out. Strong statement ahead.... I for one believe that they are the true backbone of the fashion industry. Mature brands and renown global retailers may generate the cash flow but all the new and wacky ideas come from fashion college graduates or up and coming designers who are all about being innovative and creative (think Jay’s final collection from Project Runway, season 1 guys). What I love about most fashion graduates or new designers are that they seem to abolish all limitations of being abstract and they tend to let their creative designs run wild. The best part is that most of them seem to commit to an all-ethical clothing discipline. 

Back in September last year, I managed to do a quick interview with the Singapore Designer Collective for my journalism portfolio. Now before this visit in 2014, my knowledge of fashion was as basic as an Asian girl who knew only large scaled/ above mediocre designer labels, high street stores and once in a while the usual online/in store local boutique that I waved off most of the time because the prices blew me off. At that time, I thought: "why spend $70 on someone I barely or nobody knows?". It took a lot of passion, some active involvement in the fashion sector - doing whatever I could in Singapore and an entire summer of watching Project Runway reruns for me to realise how I had this mindset without even knowing it. Don’t ask me how any of those activities related to this realisation, I don’t know either.

At KEEPERS Singapore Designer Collective, I learned a lot about local designers and their true value. Needless to say after that, I found myself going to more local-based designer talks and show rooms. I've grown a lot of respect for them and also a deeper understanding of their stance in the industry. The Singapore Designer Collective is basically an entire area for Singapore Designers to showcase and sell their designs. Just imagine the usual Fashion Press Day but no invitation needed and you're without someone showing you through each rack providing details on the designs. This helps promote local talent as well as provide accessibility for costumers. A lot of times, I have tried to tap into the local designers market but I had no idea where or how to find them. In fact, it took me a month to discover Haji Lane when I first moved to Singapore and I find it mandatory to pay a visit every time i'm back home.


These local designers have much more to offer than what we can find in typical retail stores. Not shoving a huge anti-high street retail protest here because realistically, I love Zara too okay? However, let’s give an appreciative moment to local designers who work hard through ethical clothing and strive for independent designs. Most of the time, showing a fresh and unique style. This blog post is for youuuuuu guys. I'll even throw in some raw Q&As with the media officer of KEEPERS SG and photos I took from my article. 


singapore designer collective
So how did it all start?

"It started from one of the jewellery brands, Carrie K. She had a side projects called Keepers, it started from a quarterly showcase in her office at Bukit Timah. It was maybe 3-4 designers and about 100 people would come by. She started this two years ago and managed to get the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFF), to co-partner to do this project along with the support of STB (Singapore Tourism Board) and SPRING. So they had this idea of building an entire place for only Singapore designers because a lot of times, people don't know that certain brands are actually by Singaporean designers."

singapore designer collective

singapore designer collective
singapore designer collective

What does this project aim to achieve by putting all the designers in one place?

"First and foremost, would be awareness. And also accessibility, a lot of times even if people do know Singapore designers, they have to go to very far places just to find these. But at this place you can have all the Singapore designers in one place, it's a very convenient location - right in the middle of Orchard Road."

singapore designer collective
singapore designer collective

How would you describe Singapore's creative industry's current status?

"It's very different because we've got a range of designer industries, over here we've got not only fashion but furniture, perfume, lifestyle products, bags so we want to show a wide range of creativity in Singapore. Singapore is a very young country so a lot of our designers are very innovative in their own ways and it's good to just be aware that these people are doing these things in Singapore."

singapore designer collective
singapore designer collective
singapore designer collective
singapore designer collective
singapore designer collective

The future of local designers?

"The future is really bright! Just look at this place, a lot of these designers are doing very good, producing quality products. A lot of these brands have actually been to Paris Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week. So a lot of them are featured in global events as they reach international standards. So we think we're going through a good pace and I guess we'll see where we will grow in the future."

singapore designer collective

Anyone interested in KEEPERS SG x Singapore Designer Collective, can visit www. keepers.com.sg or their store at Orchard Green (Junction of Cairnhill Road & Orchard Road).