A Japanophile, a word that describes people who especially admire and like Japan or Japanese ways. Our A-List alumnus, Jim Chuah, is a Japanophile, except he collects fashion pieces.
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Known for his love for all things fashion, especially Nippon fashion—we paid him a visit at his humble abode for this particular feature story. There, he unveiled his closet – from one clothing rack specially for Comme des Garçons pieces to another filled with items from Issey Miyake.
The 30-year-old animation and motion graphic designer is the founder of FNL PRJCT, which you may have come across through various TEDx events. Jim’s creativity isn’t only limited to his designs, but also informs his dressing.
What is something you’d like our readers to know?
I love Japanese fashion, I am obsessed with Comme des Garçons (CDG) and am a big fan of Rei Kawakubo, a Japanese designer and founder of Comme des Garçons.
So, tell us, when did it all begin?
I was 23 years old when I learned about CDG when I was travelling to Bangkok. I walked past a number of CDG stores in Gaysorn Village, I was utterly confused by their garments.
It was the Look 21 from the Comme des Garçons SS15’s collection that was on display. In my head I was like, “Who would wear that?” It struck me hard as I was just starting to explore my style, I could not fathom the idea of wearing a piece like that anywhere, nor the point of it.
That was when I started going down the rabbit hole. I made my first CDG purchase at a secondary market event in Malaysia. A lovely couple was selling their CDG collection at the market and I managed to get my hands on a women’s suit pants that had a skirt layered outside (as seen above).
I instantly fell in love with the construction and its androgynous nature. I couldn’t fit into the pants at the time but I got it anyway, I will always remember how divine it felt and it is by far, still an all-time favourite.
Your fashion collection is literally massive. Have you gone through your whole closet and counted how many clothing pieces you currently own?
Marie Kondo would be very disappointed with me because I have never once counted, the racks behind me in the main picture take up only a quarter of my wardrobe and they all spark joy.
I remember the stories in every piece I own, on what occasion I bought them, and the creative process I go through when I style them. While people write in their diaries, I store fragments of time in my wardrobe.
The fashion scene in Malaysia is growing rapidly, day by day. What are your thoughts?
As it should! We are a country with an array of colours and characters, submerged in such diverse culture growing up, we have a very unique point of view in this world that should be heard.
I always believe that one who puts thought into dressing up, is one who is very self-aware, one that does not conform to the social standard and lives in their true character through clothes, the unique thought process is what makes us who we are.
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY XERXES LEE / AWESOME IMAGE STUDIO | GROOMING BY NICOLE NG & KINGSKEY LOH