For Kit Woo, each new garment opens a new realm of possibilities; every creation is an opportunity to do the unexpected. He quips, “Why would I want to make something that has been made time and time again?” A statement that essentially represent the philosophy behind his namesake brand Kit Woo. A graduate of New York’s Pratt Institute and whose credentials include working with American fashion brand Public School NYC, returned to Malaysia in 2016 and has since continued to intrigue the fashion world as each new collection surpasses the former. At his recent KLFW outing, Kit presented a collection that showcased not just his superior technical ability but also his determination to go beyond the norm.
What did you want to accomplish when you started Kit Woo?
The reason I started my brand is because I felt that there was a void I could fill. I feel that I can bring something different to the market here and kind of break the mould of menswear because I don’t design according to labels. That translated well into the market. The trend was also growing and people were open to absorbing the whole cross-pollination between categories of menswear and womenswear.
Every one your pieces has a unique element. How do you push the boundaries of each piece?
That’s our design philosophy. We have seen so many suits, shirts, trousers. I just don’t want to repeat what’s already in the market. When we go through the design process, we see the 3-D first. Our process is not to sketch but to sew something, cut it and pin it, create a prototype and start adding things to it. It is our habit to ask, “what else can we do?” or “what more can we add?”. It is quite fun because we experiment, and we see the outcome. If something is not working, we take a break and we go back to it. One of the suits presented at KLFW took us six months to make, not because we were working on it for six months but because we were re-looking. We developed five prototypes so it’s kind of a constant thing.
A lot of the feedback about your brand revolves around the fact that you are incredibly industrious as seen by the techniques used which are incredibly hard. Why do you persevere with those techniques?
It’s about the design ethos. If it is about creating the same shirt with production and manufacturing considerations, then I would rather not do it because I feel I don’t have a voice in it. It is a challenge because the designer can do really crazy stuff but there will be issues with production. But I have a good team which is as committed as I am. When it comes to pushing boundaries, they will go for it. If we are able to achieve certain kinds of techniques. We definitely push boundaries in terms of sewing, finishings. Looking back, there were some designs that were just so difficult to do.
With that philosophy, would you be happy remaining as a niche brand?
I will keep pushing and see how far I can push the idea of unconventional fashion into the mainstream. We have seen brands out there that are doing some crazy things and they are selling. If they can do it, we can, too.
Kit Woo is dressed in his own design and Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges “Earth to Sky” Edition in titanium, courtesy of The Hour Glass