I first visited Paris as a young boy. I was so enthralled by the city that I told myself I would live there someday. I returned to Paris after my fashion studies in London, New York and Milan to take my first job with French designer Emanuel Ungaro, and I’ve stayed on because I believe the city remains the fashion capital of the world. Here, I can find the talent, resources and savoir-faire to produce my collections with the degree of refinement I’ve always yearned for.
I’ve never designed with a specific geographical market in mind, but for any woman who loves beauty and refinement. This is why my fashion house has an international clientele, attracting celebrities and their stylists from around the globe.
I don’t feel that I’m perceived as an Asian designer, but more as a Singapore-born creative who chose to establish himself in the West. The creative worlds of the East and West have become increasingly intertwined – each can see what’s going on in the other by merely tapping on their smartphones.
“The interconnectedness of fashion and show-business has altered the industry as well, with celebrities becoming promotional vehicles for clothes – and even turning into designers themselves.”
That being said, Asian lifestyles and aesthetics are becoming less ruled by Western culture. Each Asian country is coming up with its own art, music, movies and fashion as the new generation wants their lifestyle and cultural environment created for them, by them. There are more Asian designers coming up, and I think this will continue because of the size and strength of the Asian markets.
When I was starting out, fast fashion wasn’t the mass phenomenon it is now. With their frequent collections and higher turnover of designs, fast-fashion labels have led to a change of pace in the industry, but this has probably also led to market saturation and customer fatigue.
Another significant change has been the ever-increasing role of social media, spreading looks and trends around the globe like wildfire. The interconnectedness of fashion and show-business has altered the industry as well, with celebrities becoming promotional vehicles for clothes – and even turning into designers themselves.
Sometimes, it seems that younger designers today take inspiration from the immediate and obvious. When streetwear and sportswear get so ubiquitous and overwhelming, it becomes harder to differentiate designers and brands. However, it also pushes true designers to fight to establish their own identities.
This article was originally published in the September 2018 issue of SilverKris magazine