On 8 September 2012, Parco Next Next’s third batch of designers unveiled their Autumn/Winter 2012 – 2013 collection at Marina Bay, Millenia Walk. Parco Next Next is a government backed incubator project to help local designers launch their own fashion labels.The installation showcased a wide range of local labels from Quainthood, Evenodd, 20:TWOTHREE, MASH-UP, FFAYTH, FOREWOOD and many more.

Some of the labels like Evenodd, Quainthood and MASH-UP hit the runway in the Audi Fashion Festival 2012 earlier this year. Our writer, Abigail, had the opportunity to interview the designers from these aforementioned labels as well as the designer from an upcoming label, FAYYTH. The personal beliefs and attitudes of each designer reflect in their work. We can see how Evenodd’s signature look invokes subtlety and refined minimalism in their clothes because of its designer’s personal belief that fashion is an everyday thing.

Abigail Genevieve (AG): What does fashion mean to you?

Samuel Wong, designer and founder of Evenodd (SW): Fashion is a lifestyle. There is never a rule to fashion. It is an everyday thing which we cannot live without.

Joy Ng, designer from Quainthood (JN): Fashion is like a second skin because you have to feel comfortable in it and it shows the world who you are.

Nathanael Ng, one of the designers from MASH-UP (NN): Fashion is about having fun and expressing yourself without caring about what others think about you.

Fayth Lu, designer and creative director of FFAYTH (FL): It is about dressing with confidence. There is no need to follow trends because sometimes the trends are not appropriate for certain body shapes.

AG: How did you decide that you wanted to be a designer?

SW: I graduated from Fashion Communication at Lasalle College of Arts where I learnt how to design clothes. Back then, I usually designed my clothes to wear to special events. My friends complimented my work and I was motivated to start my own label and be a designer. I started out with only six different designs which I had launched at a flea market. On the day it was launched, Daniel Boey asked me to try a line for men’s fashion. It was then that I decided to go full-scale with Evenodd even though I was still a student at Lasalle. It involved a lot of hard work to manage both school and my label but I was determined to succeed.

JN: I have always liked fashion as a child. I was mainly influenced by my mother who used to make clothes for her children. I took on a design course in Temasek Polytechnic and after graduation, I worked at a retail outlet for awhile. I took a break from fashion and worked for an airline company after my stint in the retail outlet. However, fashion called to me and I decided to quit my job at the airline company to start Quainthood.

NN: My parents were in the arts industry and so I was very much influenced by them to work in the arts industry too. I have always loved fashion and I decided that being a designer is a commercially viable job as it allows me to pursue my passion in arts and to make a living from it.

FL: When I was younger, I used to modify my clothes as I did not like to wear what everyone else wore on the streets. I wanted my clothes to be unique. However, I did not study fashion. Instead, I was in the IT industry until the dot com bubble burst in 2000. After that, I worked as a salesgirl in a retail boutique. It was during my salesgirl job that I realised how much I love fashion. Subsequently, I went to Nanyang School of Fine Arts to study fashion and design. It was then that I decided to be a designer.

We can see how a designer’s inspiration can affect the way he/she creates his/her collection. Looking at Nathanael’s inspiration of pop and youth culture, we can see how the collection at MASH-UP reflects the fun urban life of the street with their use of loud and vibrant colours putting a smile on people’s face as they look at it.

AG: Who is your inspiration?

SW: Anyone and everyone. It does not even have to be a person; it can be an object or anything that relates to clean lines.

JN: A woman who is going through a phase of her life. Quaint means attractively unusual and hood refers to a stage in a person’s life like childhood, adulthood. I took inspiration from my life’s experiences.

NN: Youth culture, ethnic culture and pop culture; both local and international culture.

FL: Things that make people happy like amusement parks, origami paper aeroplane and the story of ugly duckling. Anything that is fun and happy.

AG: What goes through your mind when you create something?

SW: Function and comfort. For instance, if I chose a thicker fabric for a top, I will make sure that it is short-sleeved so that it is easy to wear given the weather in Singapore.

JN: Aesthetic like for instance how a woman would feel when she wears that piece of clothing and to make her feel more confident. I also focus on comfort and commercial viability.

NN: We go to libraries to look at books, the people on the street or online blogs. When we see something we like, we will take a photo of it and cut it out. Then we will put in our own twists so it is like a patchwork of art.

FL: Fun things like a circus and I think of acrobats doing their stunts, elephants playing with balls and loud, bright and happy colours and it looks magical.

Well, we can certainly see how Quainthood’s clothes have commercial viability. The clothes look good on women and it gives off a touch of confidence making them feel good about themselves as they walk down the streets in Singapore. Also, the materials are of good quality which makes it comfortable to wear.

AG: How did you prepare for this season’s collection?

SW: This collection is basically an extension to what I did for Spring/Summer 2012 which was showcased at the Audi Fashion Festival. It is about structure and playing with textured materials as well as studs. But, I never go over the top with any piece of clothing. I make sure to keep it to one element at a time.

JN: This collection used more knitted materials than the previous one. I also introduced new colours like mustard and heather greys. At the same time, I keep some elements of the previous collection like the cut, fit and leather trims.

NN: This season is very inspired by sportswear such as scuba diving and basketball.

FL: Circus. I got the idea from a Chinese song about a circus. As I listened to the song, I drew out images which came to mind. I started to choose the colours that are bright but yet have a touch of fall/winter. Then, I chose the fabrics and the details. After that I just started to sketch and piece them together.

Take a look at FFAYTH’s latest collection below! It definitely brings out the inner child in every woman and it certainly does portray the idea of a circus-like fun.

AG: How has the experience of showcasing your work at the Audi Fashion Festival 2012 shaped your designs?

SW: I have already done two shows – Men’s Fashion Week and the Audi Fashion Festival 2012. I feel more committed to my customers i.e. I have to ‘submit’ my work constantly to my customers and I cannot skip a season. The clothes must remain edgy yet minimalistic and still wearable on a daily basis. Evenodd has become a business model.

JN: It boosted our confidence and motivated us to design even better clothes.

MM: Nothing changed. We still stuck to what we know and how we design clothes.

AG: Will you be joining the Audi Fashion Festival next year in 2013?

FL: I don’t know if my label will be chosen but I would definitely love to do it if given the chance.

AG: Will your designs be showcased at any other event?

SW: Evenodd’s next showcase will be in October with Future Fashion Now. It will feature the Spring/Summer 2013 collection. This is because we must keep up to date with the international market and October is the buying time for customers.

JN: We are not sure yet.

NN: We are not sure yet. We are just focusing on this event. But, we will be having a DIY workshop with Lomography Studios where we will be designing camera covers for them and teach people, who attend the workshop, how to design camera covers.

FL: We are not sure yet.

And finally, the designers have a few words to say to their loyal customers and potential customers out there!

SW: Thank you for supporting Evenodd. Do look out for Evenodd’s new designs. We have constantly been putting up new works. For my first collection, I played with simply putting pieces together. For my second collection which was showcased at Men’s Fashion Week, I played with more textures and fit. In the third collection at the Audi Fashion Festival 2012, we pushed ourselves further by manually silk screening the clothes by ourselves.

JN, NN and FL: Thank you for the support! Do drop by Parco Next Next to check out our latest collection!