Singapore may not necessarily be considered a fashion capital, but we sure do have an abundance of aspiring fashion designers who might put us on the list next.
Earlier this month, I attended the graduation showcase by Raffles College of Higher Education, and I must say, phenomenal is an understatement of their work. Despite the disruption to face-to-face learning, thanks to (not really) the pandemic, the graduating cohort perpetuated through the global catastrophe, producing stellar work for their final project – with 34% of these students graduating with a first-class honours degree.
Being a fan of their stupendous collections and impressed by their tenacity, it would be criminal to not share them with the public and spotlight these establishing artists. And who knows? We might see one of these fashion designers on the fashion calendar soon.
Wu, Pui Shan Gemma
Gemma: My collection takes inspiration from the notion of perception. As people, we are innately predisposed to only listening and seeing what makes us feel good. However, what presented isn’t always the truth – just like the saying goes, “there are two sides to every story.” With no conclusion, beginning or end, uncovering what lies behind the superficial seems like an endless cycle.
Therefore, I incorporated the idea of infinity into my designs, taking inspiration from the Mobius loop structure found in architecture and optical illusions in paintings.
Thus, the collection focuses on shapes, translating that onto the silhouettes of my garments. With fabrications in contrasting colours, my looks create an optical illusion – allowing the audiences to form their own perception.
Tsio, Lok Lam Natasha
Natasha: My collection is a reaction to consumerism, melding it with the idea of fashion as art. Fast fashion fuels consumerism. With affordable prices and up-to-date fashion readily available in stores, it is no surprise that most would view clothes as dispensable – and essentially influencing their purchasing habits. However, I believe that fashion should be an artistic expression of our personality and, our decision-making when shopping should not be based solely on trends.
Theochara: Titled, “Chapter 1: Down the Rabbit Hole”, my collection takes inspiration from the idea of the coming of age. The struggles and problems faced during the transition to adulthood are translated into my garments. Various silhouettes: a loose baby doll construction to a fitted coat dress can be seen throughout the collection, signifying the transition. I have also enlisted handmade abstract floral embellishments to represent the idea of growth and maturity.
As a synopsis, the collection portrays the loss of childhood innocence and the bittersweet phase that all of us will experience as we blossom into a grown-up.
Novia: Dreaming is a universal experience whereby a series of images, events and emotions come to mind in your sleep. I believe that all dreams are unique and intimate to every individual. Therefore I aim to connect with my audiences through a visual representation of my dreams – my collection.
Through augmented oversized silhouettes and transformable constructions, alongside loosely attached embellishments, the collection depicts the vividness and vagueness of my dreams.
Nguyen, Nu Nhu Quynh Bella
Bella: Dubbed “Muse”, my collection pays homage to Madam Nhu, the First Lady of South Vietnam, from 1955 to 1963. Being a trendsetter during her tenure, she has had several iconic fashion moments that have inspired and influenced many Vietnamese women.
Her elegance and strong-willed character also propelled me to creating this haute couture collection. Like Madame Nhu, I would like to challenge the traditions while celebrating femininity and confidence through my pieces.
Le, Nguyen Huong Giang Jenny
Jenny: The overarching theme of my collection is Maximalism – the philosophy of “more is more.” Not only is it over-the-top and visually exciting, but Maximalism also exudes a sense of individuality. It allows you to express yourself through fashion and be the centre of attention.
For my collection, I employed bold adornments intrinsic to the Baroque era and 80s: ruffles and puff sleeves, complemented with statement-making colourful and varied textured fabrications.
Nguyen Lam Anh
Lam Anh: The idea of my final collection came from my observation of the fashion industry, where we have seen a surge of genderless looks in recent times. While fashion has evolved immensely over the years, many are still not as receptive to the idea of fusing feminine elements into menswear.
On the contrary, the notion of it seems to be more well-received in the 70s – with David Bowie and Elton John pioneering androgynous fashion then. As a tribute to these artists and the Glam Rock era, the collection screams the extravagance of a rock star while blurring the gender divide.
Ma, Bao Yi
Bao Yi: My concept for this Fashion Major Project is based on Biophilic Design, an interior and architectural design concept that brings nature closer to humans.
To replicate the idea of Biophilic Design, I explored the possibilities of stimulating senses through my jewellery collection. Besides experimenting with different techniques such as anodising aluminium to resemble colours of nature, I have also infused fragrances symbolic of our environment into my designs.
Kwang Kar Kar
Kar Kar: Inspired by my personal experience of darkness and depression, my collection is a study of how mental illnesses can affect one’s well-being and possibly be the key to unlocking the creative mind. Take the American abstract painter Mark Rothko for example. He does not see yellow, orange and red as cheerful colours. To him, these colours represent an inferno. I believe that people who suffer from mental health conditions are innately more emotional and sensitive. They perceive things differently and uniquely. The silver lining is that these people can offer a fresher perspective on things.
Two key colours permeate my collection: black and red are employed to evoke melancholy, with the latter symbolising the blood that runs through our veins and minds.
Jialin: I took inspiration from the fictional character Harlequin for this collection.
The looks see influences of the outfits worn by the supervillain, melded with a hard edge punk style – essentially a reflection of my rebellious and unique personality.
To achieve the iconic looks, I tapped on her signature colours: black, white and pink on a mix of heavy materials like leather, juxtaposed with flowy fabrics like silk and organza.
As for detailings, I reimagined the patchwork design that characterised some of Harlequin’s outfits. Metal chains, studs and safety pins decorate the pieces, elevating and finishing the looks with an edgy appeal.