But I have been absorbing the neverending stream of fashion-related information over the years, and after a short-but-sweet experience of attending proper European fashion shows, I could say that I am a convert. After hours and hours reading and/or perusing fashion magazines, blogs (numbers of blogs that I read are dwindling down but new ones like Julia Tasha gives an articulate Malaysian perspective on fashion) and that occasional fashion-related books, suffice to say that I have learned a thing or two about the deeper meaning of fashion. Now I believe clothes are so much more than a tool to cover one's body, to beautify or even for a mere OOTD shot - clothes potentially evoke emotions, memory and reactions. Therefore fashion, in a whole, is a subject worthy of discourse and discussion.
The struggle to ensure that I am in the boundary of mainstream-ness in terms of dressing has been too long an obstacle that I'm facing. It is undeniably easy to see why: I am indeed not in the arts and designs field, where kids liberally dress and express as they please. Definitely not taking the risk to appear that eccentric in a well-known conservative culture of Malaysian civil service either. I was obviously striving for some sort of acceptance in my social circle.
But as I grow older, the more I realise that there is nothing that I should be worried about. No clothes have killed a man. And really, anything that is in the realms of private life should be respected - including the way one dresses up, within an accepted boundary of course. I'm peeling off the feeling of insecurity layer by layer by challenging myself to wear things that is not really conventional in terms of design and wearability. Plus it's been quite a while since I really really wanted to purchase on-season pieces (well, not that I have that much cash anyway)...
Craig Green has been a new name for churning collections that are moving and emotional. Green graduated from Central Saint Martins under the tutelage of Louise Wilson in the same year that LC:M began and has ridden the new wave of menswear since - he has managed to woo fashion editors with his collections that are considered significantly outstanding. That's the beauty of fashion - one could never expect when is the next big name designer, who will be the golden child of the industry.
His Spring/Summer 2015 collection is a "silent protest" where barefooted men walk with banners on their backs. Marrying minimal garments with dramatically sculptural body-pieces, these outfits formed the foundations of the label.
"Fashion, as of late, has been spoon-fed to its audience, overwhelmed by obvious references, easy minimalism and satiable motifs that rack up the likes on Instagram. Green's show was a welcome counterbalance to that, proving that there is still beauty in honesty and a complexity in purity." Isabella Burley. Editor, Dazed and Confused
Of course, with any other reputable collections Green's show has received mixed reviews: the front rowers applauded and cried at what they feel a "tear-jerker collection", while some lament the melancholy factor was largely attributed to the coinciding passing of Louise Wilson, who was Green and a lot of other creatives' mentor at CSM, and the collection was an obvious reference of other designers. Such is the effect of a collection by a young designer can provoke, and that is how I like to view fashion. What I'm trying to say is, beside all the perceived superficiality and frivolousness of modern day fashion, there is still a smidgen of hope to see it being presented in a emotion-provoking, intellectual manner.
The vibes that I'm getting: martial arts + religious costumes + workwear + poetry in motion. It's easy to see why I'm sold - the over-sized silhouette, the intricate fringes, and the versatility of the pieces: they can be worn with or without a layer of undergarment, the fringes can be tied up or let loose. And it's a damn good piece to dance and jump around in!
Even to this day I'm not that kind of person that can brush off negative criticism easily but I'm learning to take everything with a pinch of salt lately. LOVE the myriad of reactions from people close to me when I show them this piece - Mama thinks it looks like kain kapan (a fabric to wrap a muslim dead body), while father cursed at the horror of hefty price tag + custom duty. Zamir, Yat and Faiz are just entertained at my wacky poses (after picking up their jaws from the floor after they learned about the prices, of course).
I'm taking the opportunity to be extra playful with this extra versatile white shirt and loose layered cotton pants from Craig Green SS15. Case in point: it's the perfect outfit to be moody/silly/religious/insert any mood that you're in, as proven by the 'serious' backstage photos and my frisky effeminate flailing movements...
The swishy swashy quality of the fabric is the perfect platform for making head-turning billowing effect
Not really failing miserably at the swag attempt here...
Words by Hafidzudin Zainal
Photos by Hidayatil Alimi
Backstage photography by Philip Trengove for Dazed and Confused